Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness
For months, I’ve been driving on different routes through the vast San Joaquin Valley back and forth from the California coast—and through the usually economically depressed small towns on and near the Highway 99 corridor through the Central Valley. The poverty rate in many valley counties is higher than in West Virginia. It is a world away from Hollywood, Silicon Valley, the Stanford or Caltech campus, Malibu, and Pacific Heights.
In an overregulated, overtaxed state of open borders and sanctuary cities, with the nation’s near highest electricity and gasoline prices, and facing a looming state and local pension unfunded liability of well over $300 billion, one might not expect much of an uptick from the supposed Trump economic revival. California’s calcified strategy, after all, is that global lucre pouring into coastal high-tech and finance will more than balance out the economic damage wrought by state government. Sacramento is a sort of court jester to Menlo Park.
Throughout California’s coastal and mountain forests there are waves of dead trees unharvested after a devastating drought. There are large fields of recoverable gas and oil in lots of places that are not being drilled, as well as valuable ores and metals not being mined, and unmatched farmland deprived of its long ago contracted water rights. The idea of a renaissance in the vast rich interior of the state seems implausible—especially when state government is more interested in banning plastic straws and mandating gender-neutral restrooms than in building dams or roads.