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Economist Ray Keating loves California and would live here in my state if given the chance.  He, along with many others, have probably heard the Mamas & the Papas song “California Dreamin'” so much he can almost taste the ocean mist in the air.

But there’s a darker side to California, one that most people aren’t talking about.  Definitely, today’s musical stars haven’t written any catchy tunes about heavy handed regulations which punish people pursuing the American dream.  They haven’t delved into the deep darkness of our elected officials who seem hell-bent on making life here unnecessarily untenable.

Every year, Keating writes the “Small Business Policy Index” which ranks the states according to “assorted policy and policy-related indicators, including taxes, regulations, government spending and debt, as well as a few measures of governmental performance. But make no mistake, the big governmental burdens for entrepreneurs and businesses are taxes and regulations, and of the Index’s 55 measures, 27 are about taxes and 20 about rules and regulations.”  You can guess which state came in last this year?

California’s elected officials batter the state’s economy with the highest state personal income and individual capital gains tax rates, along with high corporate income taxes. For good measure, California punches individuals and businesses at the pump by imposing the highest state diesel tax and second highest gas tax. As for regulations, the state inflicts burdensome costs on the energy front, and claims the highest state workers’ compensation costs. Oh yeah, and state and local government spend and borrow far too much. The list, unfortunately, goes on.

California does have other things going for it — natural beauty, amazing resources, industries that exist only in this state.  As Keating wrote, “Indeed, if it were only about the costs of public policy, then no one would live in California.”  True.  And that’s why there’s a line of people waiting to rent U-Hauls so they can get out of Dodge.  Keating continues:

But the costs imposed by government do matter, and they take a real toll. Consider, for example, that in terms of net domestic migration – that is, people moving among the states – California lost 556,710 people net to other states from 2010 to 2017. That came after net losses of 1.5 million from 2000 to 2009, and 2.2 million from 1990 to 1999. In terms of people voting with their feet, California excels at sending people elsewhere – and that’s quite a dubious accomplishment again given how much the state has to offer.

Now, having said all of this, imagine if California’s elected officials wised up and simply made the policy nightmare go away by making smart policy decisions, such as welcoming entrepreneurs, investors and businesses by providing substantial tax and regulatory relief. Think about how much better the state’s economy would be, and imagine California once again being a net importer of people from other states. Ah, one can dream. Too bad, though, that this seems to be the most elusive part of the California dream.

Yes…California sucks.  Really, really sucks.  Which is why my family, who has lived here forever, is looking to pull up stakes and leave for someplace where productive humans are actually wanted.  In California, the only folks that the state actually wants to attract are unemployed, homeless, and illegal aliens.  If you’re an employed, hard working, law abiding citizen of the United States, forget it.  You are unwelcome in California. 

That’s not my opinion, that’s the official policy of the California legislature.  I’ve had it, and apparently so have hundreds of thousands of others.

Hat Tip: Real Clear Markets

Image Credit: Pexels

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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