California – The transition from a Golden State to a Warehouse/Welfare State:  In the beginning there were real gold nuggets sparkling in the rivers and the people came, then WWII and a relaxed California was instantly transformed into a major 24/7 military/industrial complex manufacturing everything from WAC bra’s to munitions, electronics, ships, vehicles, airplanes, lots of movies and all that was needed to win the war. And soon thereafter came a vast construction and transportation industry closely followed by an advanced high tech industrialized society manufacturing everything with a booming electronic and aerospace industry in the forefront supported by thousands of associated suppliers and vendors, the workers of which in turn were served by more thousands of small business’s catering to all their needs and wants, and all of the above created more jobs than there were takers providing every high school kid that wanted one a part-time after school job, life in California was good…

For this paper my point of reference is 1971, I was entertaining a group of important clients from Japan, we were going to Disneyland, four of us were in my beautiful 1969 Plymouth Barracuda (ordered from the factory @ $3900 delivered including tax and license), we were at a gas station in Anaheim, I topped off the tank and my clients wanted to pay for the gas, I pointed to the sign showing ethyl (premium gas) was 31 cents a gallon and the 10 gallons was just loose pocket change. As we proceeded they noticed and pointed out the many billboards advertising new deluxe two story homes from $12,000 to $17,000, they had previously visited my all- electric custom built home on the “Hill” and were eager to know the cost ($9000 for the one acre view lot and $20,000 to build the house) and my monthly electric bill, electricity was too low to be remembered but I do recall it was promised to go even lower as nuclear was coming on-line and they were talking about once a year billing…

And did they enjoy Disneyland! $5.75 per adult which included 11 tickets covering all the popular most expensive rides including the original 1967 uninhibited raunchy rum, women and song version of Pirates of the Caribbean, the public’s favorite attraction was still going strong and un-censored with long lines waiting to get aboard.  And Frontierland with the burning log cabin and the dead scalped settler, with a Indian arrow protruding from his chest, laid out right in front, and of course the gift shop sold bows & arrows, spears, tomahawks, knives, scalps and six-shooters, and there were make-up artists applying war paint on kids’ faces. Those were destinations where an old Pirate or an old Indian could take their grandkids, reminisce and tell tall tales about the good old days…

Next morning my guests insisted on paying for breakfast, after talking and figuring amongst themselves they seemed confused and asked me if the bill (about $6.00) was for one person or for the four of us? My clients were totally flabbergasted by the comfortable lifestyle and the low cost of living in California, the obvious animated excitement and awe I noted in those few days remains vivid in my memory…

And then a few years later something happened, I’m not sure exactly what happened but an ominous change took place that seemed to coincide with Jerry Brown’s 1975 election to governor and the growing “small is beautiful” Flower Children’s movement, born in the 1960’s, emerging in force now intent on saving Bambi, the bunnies, the trees and the weeds by halting freeway construction, heavy industry and the manufacture of all bad things such as chemicals, solvents, paints, fuels (which lead to Proposition 65) and the yummy cheap junk fast-food industry catering to the ever popular activity of just going out on a weekend driving around the then open scenic roads enjoying the fields of California poppy’s and golden costal sunsets…

Fast forward, today those manufacturing facilities with their high paid skilled workers have been replaced by a massive ever growing warehouse industry, California warehouses more prisoners in union controlled prisons and more students in union controlled schools and more bureaucrats in secure State jobs and more illegal aliens straining the social welfare system than any other State, and all these “warehouses”, their occupants and employees, are supported by tax paying private business warehouses importing and distributing Chinese manufactured goods staffed by low wage earning  taxpayers, many working only part-time. It is obvious that the private business warehouse taxpayers of the latter will never cover the bloated on-going warehousing costs of the former. And the movie industry, a long-time major employer in Southern California can  no longer afford to make a local movie thus all major big budget productions are going out-of-state or out-of-country, what remains is a few restoration technicians working in canned film storage warehouse’s and a few more making very quick, very low budget, soon forgotten digital TV pilots…

And the cause! A one-party ultra-liberal State government promoting wasteful spending leading to high taxes, high electricity costs (the highest in the nation), and an outdated, cumbersome, costly, slow business permit process that is in keeping with the State’s projected anti-business attitude. That attitude is in lock-step with a too generous welfare system discouraging honest work at a fair wage thus encouraging the export of both manufacturing and traditional white collar office jobs to States (and foreign countries) offering a more favorable business environment. And this trend will continue.  The old standard $1.25 bacon/eggs/potatoes/toast/coffee breakfast is now (with 10% tax and an expected 20% tip) about $10+ per person.  And Disneyland, it’s a sad sterile politically correct version of its former self; a young family of four must start saving a year in advance to make the admission fee, and California’s scenic roads, now a maze of potholes; the poppies replaced with graffiti and road rage rules. And did I mention that most of these warehouses, public buildings, military facilities, corporate stakeholders and residential home roofs are now covered with millions of subsidized solar panels providing seemingly low cost but actually very expensive electricity used in lieu of California’s own inexpensive clean natural gas used by modern 80% efficient generators…  

With Governor-For-Life Jerry Brown and his Legislature firmly entrenched in office, courtesy of the politically correct green’s, powerful labor unions, invisible back-room middlemoneymen and big corporation stakeholders the fiscal future of California is all too obvious, it will be chaotic eventually requiring a Federal bailout to pay the state and union pensions and million$ more will be needed to dispose of the mountains of hazardous waste from mega-millions of defective and/or worn out solar panels and windmills, and even more $ to reclaim the thousands of acres of land occupied by “dead and dying” solar/wind farms spread out all over the State…                                        

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