The New Class Warfare: California’s Superwealthy Progressives Seem Intent on Destroying Middle-Class Jobs
“…The list of companies leaving the state or shifting jobs elsewhere is extensive. It includes low-tech companies, such as Dunn Edwards Paints and fast-food operator CKE Restaurants, and high-tech ones, such as Acacia Research, Biocentric Energy Holdings, and eBay, which plans to create 1,000 new positions in Austin, Texas. Computer-security giant McAfee estimates that it saves 30 to 40 percent every time it hires outside California. Only 14 percent of the firm’s 6,500 employees remain in Silicon Valley, says CEO David DeWalt. The state’s small businesses, which account for the majority of employment, are harder to track, but a recent survey found that one in five didn’t expect to remain in business in California within the next three years…”
Few states have offered the class warriors of Occupy Wall Street more enthusiastic support than California has. Before they overstayed their welcome and police began dispersing their camps, the Occupiers won official endorsements from city councils and mayors in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, Irvine, Santa Rosa, and Santa Ana. Such is the extent to which modern-day “progressives” control the state’s politics.
But if those progressives really wanted to find the culprits responsible for the state’s widening class divide, they should have looked in a mirror. Over the past decade, as California consolidated itself as a bastion of modern progressivism, the state’s class chasm has widened considerably. To close the gap, California needs to embrace pro-growth policies, especially in the critical energy and industrial sectors—but it’s exactly those policies that the progressives most strongly oppose.
Even before the economic downturn, California was moving toward greater class inequality, but the Great Recession exacerbated the trend. From 2007 to 2010, according to a recent study by the liberal-leaning Public Policy Institute of California, income among families in the 10th percentile of earners plunged 21 percent. Nationwide, the figure was 14 percent. In the much wealthier 90th percentile of California earners, income fell far less sharply: 5 percent, only slightly more than the national 4 percent drop. Further, by 2010, the families in the 90th percentile had incomes 12 times higher than the incomes of families in the 10th—the highest ratio ever recorded in the state, and significantly higher than the national ratio.