“It’s as though welfare reform passed California by, leaving a dependency trap in place.”
I was talking with a couple of colleagues over lunch the other day and I mentioned that when factoring cost of living, California is per capita the poorest state in the union. That’s correct. On a per capita basis, California is poorer than Mississippi, Arkansas, Maine, or West Virginia.
They were shocked. They couldn’t believe it.
But it’s true.
Cali has lots of rich people in it. But it is also chock full of poor people. Additionally the cost of housing due to regulation and taxation (try building anything in San Fransisco, and have fun paying the taxes on your 2 bedroom condo) makes things much worse.
But hey, the weather’s good. Just watch out for the crime, pollution, the overcrowding, and the completely inept governance. Other than that it’s great.
The ideal way to live in California is the way I did back in the late 70s. My dad was a naval officer at the Naval Post Graduate School, so though we had little money we got to live in Monterey. That’s the way to do it.
For most folks this isn’t an option however.
(From The LA Times)
Guess which state has the highest poverty rate in the country? Not Mississippi, New Mexico, or West Virginia, but California, where nearly one out of five residents is poor. That’s according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the cost of housing, food, utilities and clothing, and which includes noncash government assistance as a form of income.
Given robust job growth and the prosperity generated by several industries, it’s worth asking why California has fallen behind, especially when the state’s per-capita GDP increased approximately twice as much as the U.S. average over the five years ending in 2016 (12.5%, compared with 6.27%).
It’s not as though California policymakers have neglected to wage war on poverty. Sacramento and local governments have spent massive amounts in the cause. Several state and municipal benefit programs overlap with one another; in some cases, individuals with incomes 200% above the poverty line receive benefits. California state and local governments spent nearly $958 billion from 1992 through 2015 on public welfare programs, including cash-assistance payments, vendor payments and “other public welfare,” according to the Census Bureau. California, with 12% of the American population, is home today to about one in three of the nation’s welfare recipients.
The generous spending, then, has not only failed to decrease poverty; it actually seems to have made it worse.
And the thing is California continues to descend.