National Review’s Nash Keune takes aim at one of my favorite targets, California, and its bloated welfare rolls:
California is the nation’s welfare queen: The state accounts for one-third of America’s welfare recipients, though it only contains one-eighth of the population, and there’s no good reason for it.
Oh yes there is. More on that in a moment, Nash is on a roll:
Some of California’s welfare problem can be attributed to its particularly severe economic slump (California’s unemployment rate is 2.7 percentage points above the national average). But states in similar situations have significantly smaller caseloads; for example, Nevada, with the nation’s highest unemployment, at 11.7 percent, has a welfare-participation rate about one-quarter of California’s. In California, 3.8 percent of the population receives monthly welfare checks. In no other state is more than 3 percent of the population on the dole.
While he’s right, Keune focuses too narrowly on California’s failure to adhere to federal standards as a primary issue:
Reforming a program as thorny as welfare can be difficult, but California need only follow existing federal standards to alleviate its problems.
California’s decision to ignore federal welfare standards is one hole in a leaky dam. But it is symptomatic of the real problem. The state embraces entitlement programs enthusiastically while simultaneously enacting draconian regulations and taxes. The result? While pushing the earners and responsible citizens to other states California has attracted all of the nations leeches and stoners.
Nearly four million more people have left the Golden State in the last two decades than have come from other states.
“Basically, if you don’t own a piece of Facebook or Google and you haven’t robbed a bank and don’t have rich parents, then your chances of being able to buy a house or raise a family in the Bay Area or in most of coastal California is pretty weak,” says Mr. Kotkin.
While many middle-class families have moved inland, those regions don’t have the same allure or amenities as the coast. People might as well move to Nevada or Texas, where housing and everything else is cheaper and there’s no income tax.
Think about that for a moment… Four million MORE have left than have entered the state. So if 10 million have fled, that would mean 6 million have come in… Which begs the question, “6 million who?”
Numerous California counties and communities have clearly and publicly announced that they’re medical marijuana friendly. Joe Schmoe can grow, use all they want (with a prescription) and even sell a little on the side (or a lot). Enforcement of existing law is deliberately relaxed. In reality we have people making six figures completely off the books while paying no income tax at either the state or federal level, and making no contribution to Social Security. Because they show no income and have no “job” as such, they can drive to the welfare office in their Mercedes or Lexus (that they paid cash for) to collect food stamps, unemployment benefits and any other entitlements available.
The problems are exacerbated by willing bureaucrats and eager entitlement advocates that measure welfare program success by the ever increasing number of recipients “served” rather than focusing on increasing their personal and fiscal independence.