Monday, April 23, 2012

California has Become a State for Only the Very Rich and the Poor

Government has made it impossible for nearly anyone to secure land along the coastline of California and many are leaving the land of beautiful weather but ugly government regulations and taxes.

WSJ Allysia Finley explains:
'California is God's best moment," says Joel Kotkin. "It's the best place in the world to live." Or at least it used to be.

Mr. Kotkin, one of the nation's premier demographers, left his native New York City in 1971 to enroll at the University of California, Berkeley. The state was a far-out paradise for hipsters who had grown up listening to the Mamas & the Papas' iconic "California Dreamin'" and the Beach Boys' "California Girls." But it also attracted young, ambitious people "who had a lot of dreams, wanted to build big companies." Think Intel, Apple and Hewlett-Packard.

Now, however, the Golden State's fastest-growing entity is government and its biggest product is red tape. The first thing that comes to many American minds when you mention California isn't Hollywood or tanned girls on a beach, but Greece. Many progressives in California take that as a compliment since Greeks are ostensibly happier. But as Mr. Kotkin notes, Californians are increasingly pursuing happiness elsewhere.

Nearly four million more people have left the Golden State in the last two decades than have come from other states. This is a sharp reversal from the 1980s, when 100,000 more Americans were settling in California each year than were leaving....Part of California's dysfunction...stems from state and local government restrictions on development. These policies have artificially limited housing supply and put a premium on real estate in coastal regions.

"Basically, if you don't own a piece of Facebook or Google and you haven't robbed a bank and don't have rich parents, then your chances of being able to buy a house or raise a family in the Bay Area or in most of coastal California is pretty weak," says Mr. Kotkin.

While many middle-class families have moved inland, those regions don't have the same allure or amenities as the coast. People might as well move to Nevada or Texas, where housing and everything else is cheaper and there's no income tax.

Read the rest here. 


  1. I have acquaintances who live and have built on the coast. My understanding from them is that if you want to build or remodel on the California coast you will likely need 24-36 months of prep time to deal with the city's permit process, the California Coastal Commission and any neighborhood "preservation" societies. I think having a good lawyer on retainer is also advisable.

  2. >People might as well move to Nevada or Texas, where housing and everything else is cheaper and there's no income tax.

    Unfortunately they are moving to Texas, and cities like Austin are seeing massive traffic and congestion issues. And the Californians bring the policies that ruined their state, like banning plastic and paper bags in the City of Austin. Texas is becoming Californiaized, blurbs like this will just bring more, and the property taxes and even housing is going up.