The New Class Warfare

Russ Steele

Joel Kotkin the Contributing Editor at The City Journal has written an extraordinary assessment of California’s social decline of the middel-class with a very dim view of our future under the the thumb of the states super-wealthy progressive elites.

Joel’s introduction to The New Class Warfare:

California’s super-wealthy progressives seem intent on destroying middle-class jobs.

Few states have offered the class warriors of Occupy Wall Street more enthusiastic support than California has. Before they overstayed their welcome and police began dispersing their camps, the Occupiers won official endorsements from city councils and mayors in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, Irvine, Santa Rosa, and Santa Ana. Such is the extent to which modern-day “progressives” control the state’s politics.

But if those progressives really wanted to find the culprits responsible for the state’s widening class divide, they should have looked in a mirror. Over the past decade, as California consolidated itself as a bastion of modern progressivism, the state’s class chasm has widened considerably. To close the gap, California needs to embrace pro-growth policies, especially in the critical energy and industrial sectors—but it’s exactly those policies that the progressives most strongly oppose.

You can read the rest of this very long article HERE. Worth your time to read, as it summarizes may of the issues that I have posted on this blog and my former blog NC Media Watch.

Joel concludes on a modestly positive note:

California doesn’t even need to abandon its progressive tradition to narrow the class divide. Homebuilding, manufacturing, and warehousing could expand if regulatory burdens other than those associated with fighting climate change were merely modified—not repealed, but relaxed sufficiently to make it possible to do business, put people to work, and make a profit. New energy production could take place under strict regulatory oversight. Future industrial and middle-class suburban development could be tied to practical energy-conservation measures, such as promoting home-based businesses and better building standards. California’s agriculture industry—currently thriving, thanks to exports—could be less burdened by the constant threat of water cutbacks and new groundwater regulations.

Even from an environmental perspective, increased industrial growth in California might be a good thing. The state’s benign climate allows it to consume fossil-fuel energy far more efficiently than most states do, to say nothing of developing countries such as China. Keeping industry and middle-class jobs here may constitute a more intelligent ecological position than the prevailing green absolutism.

More important still is that a pro-growth strategy could help reverse California’s current feudalization. The same Public Policy Institute of California study shows that during the last broad-based economic boom, between 1993 and 2001, the 10th percentile of earners enjoyed stronger income growth than earners in the higher percentiles did. The lesson, which progressives once understood, is that upward mobility is best served by a growing economy. If they fail to remember that all-important fact, the greens and their progressive allies may soon have to place the California dream on their list of endangered species.

If your are aspiring to the middle-class, and your have the resources, it would be better for your to  look beyond California for you future.  You can return after the economic collapse and help us survivors rebuild this once great state.

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About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

6 Responses to The New Class Warfare

  1. We have our own little XL Pipeline problem right here in CA:

    California companies like Occidental Petroleum report diminishing oil production. The drop-off proves, some environmentalists say, that “peak oil” has been reached, but the evidence shows otherwise: the last few years have seen a fourfold increase in applications for drilling permits in California, largely because of the discovery of the massive Monterey shale deposits—containing a potential 15 billion barrels of oil—and of an estimated 10 billion barrels near Bakersfield. The real reason for the reduced production is that California has rejected most of the drilling applications since 2008. “I asked Jerry Brown about why California cannot come to grips with its huge hydrocarbon reserves,” recalls John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil’s U.S. operations. “After all, this could turn around the state. He answered that this is not logic, it’s California. This is simply not going to happen here.”

    The anti-fossil-fuel stance, according to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, has placed some $1 billion in investment and 6,000 jobs on hold. The sense of wasted opportunity can be palpable. If you travel to Santa Maria, a hardscrabble town near the Monterey formation, you pass empty industrial parks and small, decaying shopping centers. As economist Watkins put it at a recent conference there: “If you guys were in Texas, you’d all be rich.”

  2. Dena says:

    The progressive movement is not about using your brains. It’s about using your heart. The problem is that the progressives think they are smarter and know more about how to run government than anybody else. They also act for the good of the whole instead of the rights of the individual. Given a pick between a progressive and someone who admits they don’t have all the solutions, I would go with the person who doesn’t have all the solutions. At least they are open to learning and are able to accept the change that the future brings.

  3. sean2829 says:

    Actually, I would contend that the progressive movement is about using your brains, particularly when it comes to paying taxes. How many of the deep pockets for liberal Democratic causes come from Silicon Valley? Everyone loves Google but it uses tax shelters to shield most of its income so that it pays Federal taxes at the rate of 2.8% on its profits. I bets it’s not paying much in the way of state taxes either. Over the weekend, the NY Times showed that Apple does exactly the same thing, paying almost nothing in corporate taxes in the state. It is maddenly ironic that the folks that have some of the most effective (and legal) shelters for their outsized incomes are often pushing for higher taxes on everyone else.

    • Dena says:

      Anybody with enough money can buy what ever law they want. All you need it a lobbyist and sometimes a lawyer knowledgeable in tax law. They will do the hard work for you. Apple found out the hard way because they tried to do it honestly and then the government came down on them like a ton of bricks. They then went out and got their own lobbyist and their troubles were over.
      As long as you allow loop holes (which by the way are unconstitutional because they are not equal treatment) you will have people finding ways to avoid taxes. I think if taxes are capped at 20%, the government will be less likely to make loopholes because they will find they have even less to spend.
      On the other hand, IRS enforcement seems to be on the weak side and currently is in vengeance mode. This allow a person to get away with cheating on taxes for a long time before the IRS ever audits them. While I am honest with my taxes, I have seen how easy it would be to hide income where the IRS would never find it. It’s more of a problem for me because I receive 1099’s and W2’s which are reported to the IRS, but a business or person that handles cash, could make much of it go away. Also altering deductions is another good way to lower taxes. One warning, one year my medical was off the scale and I did get audited. No problems were found but the IRS is looking for that type of thing.

      • sean2829 says:

        My point about what happens with some of the Silicon Valley tech companies is not that they are doing anything illegal. All their tax avoidance strategies of generating the largest amount of profit in the countries with the lowest tax rates are legal and disclosed. The point I was trying to make is that Silicon Valley is often cited as an example of the economic vitality in the state by folks that think California’s progressive policies is a path forward for the nation. Its just that the most successful of those companies, whose CEO’s are big donors to progressive causes, avoid paying most corporate taxes and its perfectly legal. This article gets into the nitty gritty. By the way, many of the tax avoidance strategies are also used by other Silicon Valley multi-nationals. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/business/apples-tax-strategy-aims-at-low-tax-states-and-nations.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

  4. Brad Croul says:

    Oil shale is easier said than done. If the world gets desperate enough I suppose people will put it back on the table.

    People sure do hear what they want to…You can listen to pandering crackpot authors or you can get it yourself from the horse’s mouth,

    “In California, we are continuing the program I discussed in the last quarter’s conference call, which is progressing with satisfactory results. Permitting, especially exploration permits, are still an issue but we recently obtained some permits that make us optimistic about increasing our second half capital spending plan. Governor Brown has been working to speed up the permitting process. We expected that his effort will be successful, which should enable us to increase our activity and add more jobs to the state. In the first quarter, we drilled and completed 26 shale wells outside of the Elk Hills Field.”

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/266377-occidental-petroleum-management-discusses-q1-2011-results-earnings-call-transcript

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-43040606/occidental-hits-big-oil-in-californias-kern-county/

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