08/10/2018

Why California Cities Are Becoming Unlivable

Andrew Berryhill, Foundation for Economic Education

In July, the mayor of San Francisco frankly stated that poverty in the city is so bad, that “there is more feces on the sidewalks than I’ve ever seen.” And it’s not just her—the local NBC investigative unit found a “dangerous mix of drug needles, garbage, and feces throughout downtown San Francisco.”

While such conditions are thankfully not widespread, California still has the highest rate of poverty of any state when factoring in living costs and is rateddead last for quality of life. It’s no wonder that from 2007 to 2016, California lost a million residents to domestic migration.

This plight may appear counterintuitive since California’s economy is booming. If the state were an independent country, its economy would rank as the 5th largest in the world. However, a high GDP does not necessarily entail socioeconomic wellbeing.

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With interest rates flattened [by the Federal Reserve], government zeroes out the future. Abandoned were 80 percent of private defined-benefit pension plans. Public plans faced a similar evisceration in the future. With no acknowledgement, the U.S. government had casually dispossessed the American middle class of its retirement assets and pushed millions of Americans into acute dependency on government programs. ... Government dependency negated the American dream.

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