According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, California has the highest poverty rate of any state in the union. That’s right…California. The Supplemental Poverty Measure factors in the cost of housing, food, utilities, and clothing, and includes non-cash government assistance as income. By this measure nearly one out of every five of its citizens is poor. This despite the fact that the state- and its local governments- have thrown a staggering amount of money at the problem, spending nearly a trillion dollars on various public welfare programs from 1992 through 2015 alone. Or maybe it’s because of that fact.
California is the home of almost one in three of the country’s welfare recipients, despite having only 12% of its population. The progressives who have a virtual stranglehold on every aspect of the formerly Golden State’s government realize that continually increasing welfare spending attracts more recipients on whom this welfare money can be spent, thereby continuing to expand the numbers of likely Democrat voters. It’s almost too easy! 55% of the state’s immigrants receive means-tested benefits, compared to “only” 30% of native Californians.
Another factor contributing to the state’s stupefying number of welfare recipients is the sheer quantity of its bureaucrats. California had an astounding 883,000 full-time-equivalent state and local employees as of 2014, many of whom work in social services. Many of whom could lose their cushy little jobs if a significant number of people were able to be taken off the welfare rolls.
Extremely restrictive land-use ordinances and environmental regulations dramatically drive up the cost of housing and energy costs, contributing to the plight of non-wealthy Californians. The state sports the nation’s most expensive real-estate market. In 2015, not far from half of all households spent 30% or more of their total income on housing. And that figure appears to be getting worse, due to leftist lunacy.
Progressives are pleased as their policies are working exactly as intended. Hollywood types and those in Silicon Valley are doing great. Their policies have a vastly disproportionate- and negative- impact on the poor and middle class. “But hey, they can go on welfare or other government assistance programs! See how much we care?” they say. (“Not to mention it’s a ‘win-win’ since it guarantees our job security, power and importance. Was that out loud? I hope not.”).
California is a one-party state, akin to the old U.S.S.R., explicitly designed to enrich those in power while eviscerating the middle-class and perpetuating a growing dependent class. Yet all-the-while Hollywood portrays Republicans as friends of the rich and enemies of the common man.
California’s official state motto is “Eureka,” meaning “I have found it!” Is it any wonder that more and more of its residents have lost their affinity for the state and are proclaiming, “Screw it! I have had it!” before departing the erstwhile “Land of Milk and Honey?”