What is wrong with Progressive Liberalism?
Even if you embrace progressive liberal ideology, you still have to ask yourself why it does not seem to work. I live in California. At one time California was the envy of the country with our amazing climate, beautiful geography, world class universities, booming economy, accepting culture, etc. It was nirvana or at least as close as it comes to on earth.
But two things happened that triggered the downward spiral that is California today. First, for over ten years, we have been for all intents and purposes a “one party” state, something Democrats are working hard to impose on the country. This means no opposing party to stop the excesses of progressive liberals. Secondly, that one party like the country is largely ruled by a small out of touch group of ideological liberals that simply cannot connect the dots between the taxes and policies they have passed and the subsequent decline of California. Their solutions always seem to be more taxes and more suffocating policies.
Let’s look at the sum of what those policies have translated to with regard to California, its economy and quality of life. As you read this consider that progressive liberals consider California and New York state as the “model” states when it comes to progressive liberalism ideology translated into government policy.
We are the most taxed taxed state in the country. If you check the link below, you will see we are so highly taxed that we earned our own “color”. In fact, no one else is even close. People that think progressive liberalism involves taxing the rich are simply wrong… the rich move and the rest of us get the bill of supporting the bloated bureaucracy and entitlement programs politicians sold the citizens to get elected.
Progressive liberals will argue you get what you pay for… so our high taxes should translate into something good… at least that’s the theory.
California has the highest cost adjusted poverty rate in the country. With all of our entitlements, we are not only not winning the war on poverty… we come in dead last. Imagine living in state where its cost adjusted poverty rate is 50% above the national average. Clearly something is wrong.
Various studies lay the blame on government. First, high taxes means even those who could keep their heads above water without high taxes sink below the poverty line because of those taxes. Even if they escape most of the income tax with their lower incomes, they still get hammered with the highest energy taxes (in the name of green energy) and sales taxes (in the name of schools and government pensions).
Secondly, local government restrictive zoning laws have caused housing to be among the highest in the country (2nd to Hawaii). But truth is the only reason Hawaii is higher than us is that housing in the more rural eastern areas of California brings down our average. If you look at median condo costs (more likely to be found where most of the people live) or median top-tier housing values again more likely to be found where people live, then we are number one.
Correlated to our high poverty rate is our homeless rate. Again we are number one in the country in this category by a comfortable margin. While our governor tries to make excuses for our homelessness, the simply reason we have so many homeless people is we take to much of their income and we restrict new housing. But don’t worry people, its all for your own good.
Again related to poverty and homelessness is unemployment. California ranks third in unemployment behind Nevada and Hawaii. In all three instances the pandemic led to an increase in unemployment but there is a stark difference between California’s unemployment and Nevada and Hawaii. Once the pandemic ends and people begin traveling both Nevada and Hawaii should realize a surge in job growth as most jobs were lost because of the reduced travel brought about by the pandemic and will comeback when it ends.
But in California the restrictive Covid lockdown since last March has without any noticeable impact on cases or deaths resulted in a permanent loss of jobs. When you combine bankruptcies with the decisions of hundreds of corporations including stalwarts like Tesla, Hewlett Packard, and Oracle to leave the state a good number of these jobs are not coming back.
While the pandemic was not California’s fault, its restrictive policies were the last straw for many companies. Contributing to even more job losses is the willingness of many companies to allow their employees to work from home out of state. And many are jumping on the opportunity as doing so increases their after tax earnings substantially while lowering their cost of living.
In other words, both people with portable jobs and companies are choosing to leave California because of its policies. Any state suffering the kind of exodus California is suffering should ask itself why and take steps to attract business not drive it away. But for now California is doubling down proposing a host of new taxes including wealth taxes and higher property taxes.
If you think the country won’t experience the same economic and social decline as California when it adopts progressive liberal ideology, then you should have a reason. California started down the road of progressive liberalism when it was far ahead of the rest of the country economically. Now we are turning into a third world country. Crime is soaring, people are taking cover behind the walls of gated communities, and more than 50% of our citizens are considering moving.
So the simply answer to “what is wrong with progressive liberalism” is it doesn’t work… no matter how attractive it might be… it is a bit like when Pinocchio is attracted to the amusement park where every child gets to enjoy every whim until they turn into donkeys and are enslaved. Free candy is not free… and when the music stops, the hangover is ugly.