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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In Search Of History

4,000 Years Of Price Control

Tablets, said to be 200 years older than the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi ... show that the ancient kingdom of Eshnunna had wage control and price control. The news ought not to have come as a surprise. For the code of Hammurabi itself (unearthed in 1902), which was promulgated earlier than 2000 B.C., fixed prices, wages, interest rates, and fees. This makes price control at least about 4,000 years old. ...

 

Ironically, it is those who now wish to return to this ancient totalitarian device who are fondest of calling themselves “progressives.” They are also fond of saying that those who believe in economic liberty “are living in the nineteenth century.” These controlists have yet to learn that they themselves are still living, as the discoveries in Babylonia attest, in the nineteenth century—B.C.!

-- Henry Hazlitt,

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  • Unemployment:
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    FreeMarket Central Shadow Stats: 21.5%
  • Inflation:
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    FreeMarket Central Shadow Stats: 9.9%

*[cpi-u is the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation rate for all urban consumers]

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