The coast and the interior are growing furiously apart. We are not talking about China. We are talking about California or the state where the cities of the coast and the towns of the interior seem headed for divorce court.
Over the weekend, a friend directed me to this post by Joel Kotkin about the situation:
California may never secede, or divide into different states, but it has effectively split into entities that could not be more different.
On one side is the much-celebrated, post-industrial, coastal California, beneficiary of both the Tech Boom 2.0 and a relentlessly inflating property market.
The other California, located in the state’s interior, is still tied to basic industries like homebuilding, manufacturing, energy and agriculture. It is populated largely by working- and middle-class people who, overall, earn roughly half that of those on the coast.
Over the past decade or two, interior California has lost virtually all influence, as Silicon Valley and Bay Area progressives have come to dominate both state politics and state policy.
“We don’t have seats at the table,” laments Richard Chapman, president and CEO of the Kern Economic Development Corporation. “We are a flyover state within a state.”
Virtually all the polices now embraced by Sacramento — from water and energy regulations to the embrace of sanctuary status and a $15-an-hour minimum wage — come right out of San Francisco central casting.
Little consideration is given to the needs of the interior, and little respect is given to their economies.
After reading the article, I became more and more convinced that California has an unsustainable political situation.
I don’t believe that there is another state in the union with such a crisis. It is true that Texas has regional differences but the state’s general prosperity and low taxes fixes things.
As I see it, you can not keep people away from the political table, specially the self reliant people who make up the interior. At some point, they will demand their autonomy even if that means breaking away from Sacramento.
Furthermore, some of the counties in the interior may look for annexation to Nevada or Arizona. At least, you will see the state continue losing people who pay taxes. Back to the article:
Many firms fleeing regulation, high taxes and housing costs used to head inland. Now, many are migrating to Nevada, Texas, Arizona and other states.
“Many of the projects we saw years ago have surfaced in Phoenix,” lamented Mary Jane Ohlasso, assistant executive officer for San Bernardino County, in an interview.
“The whole way California has grown has been hopelessly terminated,” she told me.
On the surface, California seems determined to buck the national trend that resulted in 35 states under GOP control. However, the Golden State has huge internal problems that more Sacramento liberalism can not fix.
At some point, the interior will fight or just walk away from this tyranny of the coast!