The Hollowing-Out of the California Dream

The Hollowing-Out of the California Dream, by Joel Kotkin.

Progressives praise California as the harbinger of the political future, the home of a new, enlightened, multicultural America. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill has identified California Senator Kamala Harris as the party leader on issues of immigration and race. Harris wants a moratorium on construction of new immigration-detention facilities in favor of the old “catch and release” policy for illegal aliens, and has urged a shutdown of the government rather than compromise on mass amnesty.

Its political leaders and a credulous national media present California as the “woke” state, creating an economically just, post-racial reality.

Kamala Harris, Democrat leader on race and immigration

Yet in terms of opportunity, California is evolving into something more like apartheid South Africa or the pre-civil rights South. California simply does not measure up in delivering educational attainment, income growth, homeownership, and social mobility for traditionally disadvantaged minorities

White flight:

All this bodes ill for a state already three-fifths non-white and trending further in that direction in the years ahead. In the past decade, the state has added 1.8 million Latinos, who will account by 2060 for almost half the state’s population. The black population has plateaued, while the number of white Californians is down some 700,000 over the past decade.

The future of the USA:

California, suggests gubernatorial candidate and environmental activist Michael Shellenberger, is not “the most progressive state” but “the most racist” one. Chapman University reports that 28 percent of California’s blacks are impoverished, compared with 22 percent nationally. Fully one-third of California Latinos — now the state’s largest ethnic group — live in poverty, compared with 21 percent outside the state. …

Relatively few blacks or Latinos participate at the upper reaches of the tech economy — and a recent study suggests that their percentages in that sector are declining — and generally lack the family resources to compete in the real estate market. Instead, many are stuck with rents they can’t afford.

Even as incomes soared in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco after 2010, wages for African-Americans and Latinos in the Bay Area declined. The shift of employment from industrial to software industries, as well as the extraordinary presence — as much as 40 percent — of noncitizens in the tech industry, has meant fewer opportunities for assemblers and other blue-collar workers. Many nonwhite Americans labor in the service sector as security guards or janitors, making about $25,000 annually, working for contractors who offer no job security and only limited benefits. In high-priced Silicon Valley, these are essentially poverty wages. Some workers live in their cars, converted garages, or even on the streets, largely ignored by California’s famously enlightened oligarchs. …

California’s white homeownership rate remains above 62 percent, but just 42 percent of all Latino households, and only 33 percent of all black households, own their own homes. In contrast, African-Americans do far better, in terms of income and homeownership, in places like Dallas-Fort Worth or greater Houston than in socially enlightened locales such as Los Angeles or San Francisco. Houston and Dallas boast black homeownership rates of 40 to 50 percent; in deep blue but much costlier Los Angeles and New York, the rate is about 10 percentage points lower. …

The performance of schools in heavily minority, working-class areas is scandalously poor. The state’s powerful teachers’ union and the Democratic legislature have added $31.2 billion since 2013 in new school funding, but California’s poor students ranked 49th on National Assessment of Education Progress tests. In Silicon Valley, half of local public school students, and barely one in five blacks or Latinos, are proficient in basic math. …

High-poverty schools are so poorly run that disruptions from students and administrative interruptions, according to a UCLA study, account for 30 minutes a day of class time. Teachers in these schools often promote “progressive values,” spending much of their time, according to one writer, “discussing community problems and societal inequities.” Other priorities include transgender and other gender-related education, from which parents, in some school districts, cannot opt out. …

The latest BEA numbers suggest that California — which created barely 800 jobs last month — is now experiencing far lower income growth than the national average, and scarcely half that of Texas, Colorado, Michigan, Arizona, Missouri, or Florida. Out-migration of skilled and younger workers, reacting to long commutes and high prices, seems to be accelerating, both in Southern California and the Bay Area.

Will lefty “progress” render all of the USA like California? If so, look forward to a wave of US immigrants heading to Australia.