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Yet even as California remains mired in the economic doldrums, it remains wedded to progressive notions regarding illegal immigration. Notions which, for all intents and purposes, amount to de facto amnesty. Again, one might think the insanity of tolerating millions of illegals reached its zenith late year when the state approved taxpayer-funded college scholarships for illegal aliens, which dovetails quite nicely with the sanctuary city policy at work in several of that state’s largest municipalities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. Yet again, one would be wrong: Democrat State Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes has proposed an initiative that would bar deportation of illegals from California. Both policies are in clear violation of federal law, but the same U.S. Justice Department currently suing four states for such violations when they work against the interests of illegals, continues to turn a blind eye toward progressive-inspired violations that give illegals free reign.
As one might suspect, progressive policies have predictable results with respect to unemployment as well. California’s rate just dropped below 11 percent for the first time in three years, but that is only part of the story. Entire counties in that state have unemployment levels far higher, including Fresno County at 16.9 percent, Merced County at 19.5 percent, Tulare County at 17.3 percent, Madera County at 15.1 percent, and Kings County at 16.9 percent. All of them pale in comparison to Colusa County, where the unemployment rate is 27 percent.
Aiding and abetting California’s economic woes is the progressive infatuation with radical environmentalism. In 2006 the state has passed AB32 requiring a cap-and-trade reduction in global warming emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. It kicks in this year. Yet that nuttiness pales in comparison to the intentional destruction of farms in the San Joaquin valley in order to save a fish known as the Delta smelt under the auspices of the Endangered Species Act. San Joaquin once produced half the fruits and vegetables consumed by the entire nation with $26 billion in annual sales. And despite the attempt by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) to undo the damage with congressional legislation, the Obama administration has signaled it will veto the bill because it would “unravel decades of work” on California water regulations. Work that has turned America’s most bountiful county into a dust bowl.
Unsurprisingly, all of the above has contributed to an exodus of businesses leaving the state. Since 2007, more than 2,500 employers have left, taking approximately 109,000 jobs with them. And the trend is accelerating: 26 percent more companies left the state in 2011 compared to 2010, further burnishing California’s dubious distinction as the state that lost both the most jobs and the most firms during the recession. Even crony capitalist “winner” Solyndra went bankrupt in a state that worships mindless environmentalism.
And so it goes. A state dominated by Democratic politicians in thrall to government unions, who long ago past the tipping point where they could ram their interests through the legislature against the public will, is reaching critical mass. Unfunded liabilities for public worker pension alone are more than $500 billion, according to a study by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. Productive people are leaving the state in droves as an unfriendly business climate and radical environmentalism drive them to greener pastures.
In short, California is looking more and more like Greece, which despite all rhetoric to the contrary about being “saved” by a bailout, has triggered $3.1 billion in credit default swaps (CDS), coining a new term in the process known “restricted default.” Keep in mind that Greece’s economy is the size of Rhode Island’s. California’s economy? In 1999, it was the sixth largest in the world. In 2007, it was eighth. In 2011 it was ninth.
Does anyone seriously believe a world mired in recession for three-plus years, including an entire continent of Europe beset by an existential debt crisis, is catching up? Hardly. California is sinking into a progressive swamp entirely of its own making. The very same progressive ideology president Barack Obama and his party are endeavoring to inflict on the rest of the nation.
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