by the Left Coast Rebel
This morning I am working on a rough draft of a piece that parallels the decay of California and the city of Detroit. I'm not sure if I will submit it or where it will end up but here's what it's shaping up as, so far:
California and Detroit Highlight the Unintended Consequences of Progressive GovernmentVictor Davis Hanson writes at Pajamas Media today of the cradle-to-grave welfare state disaster that is now the Once-Golden state of California. In specific, he writes of California's underground economy and massive unemployment in the San Joaquin Valley. Like me, Hanson's roots go back decades here. Year by year, decade by decade, concerned onlookers like us have traced the predictable path that laissez faire progressive policy, unfettered illegal immigration coupled with generous entitlement handouts and one-party Democratic rule has led the state.
The California blight of big-government consequences can be seen in numbers and charts: high and persistent unemployment, lack of upward mobility and opportunity and the wholesale quashing of the entrepreneurial spirit and profit motive and the resulting lost vision of a unique 19th Century, Gold-Rush inspired version American Dream that so captivated the world -- the California Dream.
Nevertheless, economics alone belie the worst result of progressive government: spiritual atrophy. As socialism, the quiet racism of low expectations and entitlement mentality run amok rots the human soul it also takes with it the dignity and drive for a purpose that centers healthy, fulfilled, individual lives.
Anything but compassionate, food stamps, handouts, subsidies for every need (and want) enslave those that they purport to "help", often creating a cycle of soulless dependency that generations, for the most part, never escape. The ultimate in governmental unintended consequences, socialist welfare state policies actually exacerbate and multiply on a compound basis the precise problems that they aim to alleviate or eliminate. A recent example of this truism came out of Sacramento. Legislators green-lighted a measure that now allows California welfare recipients to purchase once-forbidden items for those on the Golden State dole: cigarettes and alcohol.
Incestuous union/government alliances are the same: turn-of-the-century intentions to protect worker safety and promote fair pay have morphed the Golden State (and national union movement) into a bureaucratic beast that increases unemployment and job scarcity, forces companies overseas, and destroys our domestic and international edge in education. Ever wonder why reform is impossible in education? Lay the blame at the steps of the largest and most powerful union in the United States: the NEA.
For an even more drastic case of government mismanagement than California -- or perhaps California in 10 or 20 years -- one needs to look no further than the city of Detroit. In addition to displaying every progressive policy ever cooked up by collectivist bean counters, Detroit now boasts of another mind-numbing accomplishment.
50% illiteracy among adults.
It wasn't always so. Even in recent history, Detroit was one of America's finest examples of national pride and work ethic and the country's ability to outdo the rest of the world in a key sector of the international economy: automobile production.
Now, Detroit is a crime-and-narcotic-ridden, illiterate, sprawling welfare hub that serves as the starkest warning of the end result of where our the federal government is taking the entire nation. The slide happened willingly by government edict, handout and rubber-stamped bureaucratic approval. And as what will willingly be the predictable outcome of the state of the state of California: the people of Detroit -- at least at one point -- had a choice.
The unintended consequences of Detroit's 100-year experiment in progressive policy stands as the starkest example of where our nation should not go, fifty-percent illiteracy is just the icing on the cake of decline.
However, if we continue to ignore history, the laws of economics and of man; is Motor City's disastrous decline the future of America? Will California's incredible decline be the canary in the coalmine for the rest of America? Or will both examples be just a forgotten chapter in the history of socialism?
She -- America -- as well as future generations, deserve so much better.
Any suggestions or directions I could take this? Thoughts, anyone?