California, once the state where the future began, as an engine of economic growth and prosperity, is increasingly becoming a problem for the rest of the United States. The Los Angeles Times notes that despite (or perhaps because of) the generous spending the state makes for anti-poverty programs, poverty has gotten so bad that California is now the worst in the nation when adjusted for the cost of living. The New York Times notes that a quarter of the nation’s homeless resides in California, living on the streets, under bridges, and in parks in the glittering cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.

The political culture drives California’s problems and is getting worse

For the last generation, a leftwing political elite has ruled California with an iron hand, unimpeded by any political consequence for their failures.

People who might be inclined to vote the bums out, as the saying goes, have mostly given up and have voted instead with their feet. As the productive middle class flees California to more friendly states such as Texas and Florida, the formerly Golden State has rapidly come to resemble a feudal society, with the oligarchs of Silicon Valley and Hollywood on top, and everyone else struggling to get by at the bottom.

Ordinarily, at least on a national scale, the failure of a Political Class tends to be corrected in an election. President Carter’s failures led to the Reagan administration. President Obama caused the unlikely election of Donald Trump. But the same process does not seem to be working in California. Indeed, the Washington Post reports that the political elite is lurching even further to the left.

The solution is clear to see

The solution to California’s problems is not rocket science. The state government can cut taxes, cut spending (including madcap projects such as the high-speed rail scheme and universal healthcare), and ease environmental and NIMBY regulations that restrict the building of affordable housing. However, the current and near-term political leadership of California is about as likely to pass these reforms as the Texas Legislature is a state income tax. The power of tax cuts and regulatory relief to spur economic growth is beyond the comprehension of Sacramento. Such solutions are anathema.

What, then, is to become of California? Is it doomed to suffer the collapse now being witnessed in Venezuela, a country experiencing the end game of socialism? A better solution would be for a political leader in the order of a Ronald Reagan to rise and convince enough Californians that enough is enough and that things have to change. So far, the most populous state in the union has not been so lucky.