by Victor Davis Hanson
Angry Reader #2 writes:
Typical crank piece by the professor, full of crap that people who don’t know California (but loathe it anyway) will eat up.
Fact: “Liberals” did not let illegal aliens flood California. The federal government did, by not policing the border. Rich agribusiness types loved this; one presumes most of them are not liberals.
Fact: California gets $1 in federal dollars back for every $1.20 or so that it sends to Washington. This is a pretty typical for blue states. The difference is sent to red states to try to remediate endemic child poverty and general backas*wardness.
If California sank into the ocean, as many PJ types seem to fervently hope, the US economy would drop 20%, and you’d lose military and technological infrastructure that would take a generation to replace. A better solution would be for the South to become its own country, institutionalizing its third-world labor standards and letting the rest of the country govern itself pragmatically in an adult fashion instead of being driven by juvenile Randian fantasies.
I admire the commentator’s sophistry of listing suppositions as “Fact,” replete with scare quotes. Apparently the reader does not grasp that liberals are not antithetical to “the federal government”, but in the modern bureaucratic state usually one and the same. Note how the writer argues that “Rich agribusiness types loved this; one presumes most of them are not liberals”, as if I did not make just that point. Can you read? Aside from the fact that I have met some very rich and very liberal agribusiness types, in fact I wrote “… liberals (and their hand-in-glove employer supporters who wished for cheap labor)…” While lots of red states receive more federal money than their populations pay in taxes, lots of blue states do too, with places like Washington DC, Maryland, and New Mexico right at the top. And the imbalance between what a state sends in and gets back has a lot to do with the number of its wealthy, and as we know the bluest counties are often the wealthiest, suggesting that those who pay the most often live in the blue regions like New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, and California.
PJ readers don’t want California to drop into the ocean but prefer to save the state, given that a liberal legislature and mostly Democratic governors, along with a liberal Republican, have achieved the surreal: nearly the worst schools and infrastructure, and the 3rd highest sales and income taxes in the nation, where 1/3 of all welfare recipients live, and 8 out of the last 11 million new Californians went on Medicaid. Finally, look at the electoral college between, say, 1924 and 1976, and the South was the source of Democratic political strength. Indeed, the angry reader should study carefully the red/blue map of 1976 and note that it was Carter, not Ford, who swept the South. It was a common trope to call the South ‘third world’, but compare infrastructure, school test scores, welfare numbers, incarceration rates between hyper-blue California and southern states like Virginia and North Carolina, and it is the former that is Third World, albeit perhaps not along the tony coastal strip where the state’s 1% lives in a largely California lala-land. In short, this is not commentary as much as a recycled juvenile Michael Moore rant.
©2012 Victor Davis Hanson