Opinion

California, Detroit, and the unintended consequences of progressive government

Tim Daniel Contributor

Victor Davis Hanson writes at Pajamas Media of the cradle-to-grave-welfare-state disaster that California has become. In specific, he writes of California’s underground economy and of the widespread unemployment in the San Joaquin Valley. Like me, Hanson has watched unfettered illegal immigration, generous entitlement handouts, and one-party Democratic rule destroy the state.

In California, the effect of big government can be seen in numbers and charts: high and persistent unemployment, a lack of upward mobility, and the wholesale squashing of the entrepreneurial spirit and the American Dream.

Nevertheless, economics alone belie the worst result of progressive government: spiritual atrophy. As socialism, the quiet racism of low expectations, and the entitlement mentality rot the human soul, they take with them the dignity and drive that centers healthy, fulfilled, individual lives.

Far from being compassionate, food stamps, handouts, and subsidies enslave those that they purport to “help,” often trapping generations in cycles of soulless dependency.

Incestuous union/government alliances are the opposite side of the same coin: turn-of-the-century intentions to protect worker safety and promote fair pay have morphed the Golden State (and the national union movement) into a bureaucratic beast that increases unemployment and job scarcity, forces companies overseas, and destroys our domestic and international edge in education. Ever wonder why education reform is impossible? Lay the blame at the steps of the largest and most powerful union in the United States: the National Education Association.

For an even more drastic case of government mismanagement than California, one needs to look no further than the city of Detroit. In addition to putting in place every progressive policy ever cooked up by collectivist bean counters, Detroit now boasts another mind-numbing accomplishment: half of the city’s adults are functionally illiterate.

Today, Detroit is a sprawling, crime-and-narcotics-ridden welfare hub and a warning for the rest of the nation, but it wasn’t always this way. Only a few decades ago, Detroit was a source of national pride because of its residents’ work ethic and the city’s ability to outdo the rest of the world in a key sector of the international economy: automobile production.

If we continue to ignore history and the laws of economics and of man, America could follow California and Detroit into decline. America deserves so much better.

Tim Daniel is a small business owner and entrepreneur who currently lives in San Diego, California with his wife and lovely cat. He is editor in chief of the southern California-based Left Coast Rebel blog.