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August 09, 2003

CALIFORNIA: STILL BETTER THAN TEXAS....Comrade Max says the California economy is doing just fine. Our growth rate is higher than average, personal income is OK, and jobs aren't leaving the state.

This is all basically correct. We do have plenty of problems in California — workers comp is broken, the tax system is a mess, and our legislature is so polarized that we literally can't pass a budget, let alone a good one — but at the same time the economy is still fundamentally sound. When the tech sector picks up, California will be hopping again.

In the meantime, enjoy the show and hope — really hope — that when it comes to politics California is not leading the nation, as it so often does. You may think that national politics is awfully partisan and dirty these days, but it's nothing compared to California. If California partisanship spreads to Washington, you're all going to find yourselves pining away for the relative civility of the Clinton impeachment years.

Posted by Kevin Drum at August 9, 2003 11:35 AM | TrackBack


Comments

That's the odd thing about, say, Schwarzenegger's proposed fiscal solution: how much more economic development does California need? We have a similar discussion in Alaska, and the prevailing strategy (such as it is) is to grow the economy, thus floating the fiscal boat. The problem, of course, is that Alaska has no broad-based taxes that link state's fiscal health to economic growth.

As absurd as "grow your way out" sounds in Alaska, how much moreso in California? If the economy was going backwards, then it would the solution to an obvious problem. Since that's not the case, a different solution is called for.

Posted by: Grumpy at August 9, 2003 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

If California partisanship spreads to Washington, you're all going to find yourselves pining away for the relative civility of the Clinton impeachment years.

Um, how exactly is Washington not partisan?

Posted by: Keith Thompson at August 9, 2003 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

When the tech sector picks up, California will be hopping again.

When?! Did people sit around in Pittsburgh saying, "you know, when steel picks up, this place is going to be hopping again. After all, the economy will always need steel". Yeah, sure, but nothing says that steel can't come from Japan, Brazil, South Korea etc.

And likewise nothing says future high tech has to come from Silicon Valley. We all know the manufacturing is in Asia. The lame-o IT jobs that call themselves programming but don't really require much creativity have moved to India. I imagine very soon India will make a play for routine web programming (vanilla HTML and ECMAScript) --- and interesting would be them also building up Flash competence. Meanwhile it gets easier everyday to build interesting software via people spread around the world --- and as IBM proved with POWER4, that's just as feasible for large HW projects.

The one aspect of high-tech where California had a chance of picking up after HW/SW/Internet wound down was bio-tech but a combination of things like social attitudes and the US medical system make me less convinced that that's going to happen. Sure there'll be some bio-tech successes centered around Stanford, but it won't be the center of the universe.

Posted by: Maynard Handley at August 9, 2003 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

All y'all mean, petty, no-electricity-havin', one-quake-away-from-ocean-livin', bellini-sippin', smog-inhalin' sumbitches can go straight to hell. At least if we had a recall, we could run Rip "Arthur from the Larry Sanders Show" Torn or Tommy Lee Jones for the governorship to replace that empty-headed piece of crap currently in charge.

Posted by: Norbizness at August 9, 2003 01:37 PM | PERMALINK

Would it really be so bad to see Angelyne run for president? Our partisanship is at least funny.

Posted by: yami at August 9, 2003 02:14 PM | PERMALINK

It will get that nasty,Kev. In fact we have a damned if we do damned if we don't situation.. get nasty to fend off extremist inroads from neo-cons.. or be civil and let the neo-cons have all of what they want.

If you ask me things have already gotten nasty.

Posted by: silvan@swbell.net at August 9, 2003 03:16 PM | PERMALINK

Far be it from me to question Max's economic skills, but his job chart is a net calculation that includes both jobs lost, and jobs created. So it is likely, with the net growth so near zero currently that, on a gross basis,jobs are being lost. Close to one job for each new one created by either an existing business or a new business.

Arnold is probably right that jobs are leaving Ca.

The first poll(Time/CNN) is out has Arnold at 25%, next highest Bustamante at 15%, nobody else above 9% (Mcklintock).

You guys sure are fun to watch from back East, I'll tell ya.

Posted by: spc67 at August 9, 2003 03:16 PM | PERMALINK

I would think 25% should be a little disappointing for Ahnuld given the blast of free pub from every corner of the media over the last few days.

That first poll will probably be the high-water mark for him.

Posted by: Pug at August 9, 2003 03:22 PM | PERMALINK

I would think 25% should be a little disappointing for Ahnuld given the blast of free pub from every corner of the media over the last few days.

That sounds right to me. BTW is any organization trying to get debates going out there?

Posted by: spc67 at August 9, 2003 03:26 PM | PERMALINK

As one of the few native Californians who actually lives in Texas, I can tell you the economy ain't that great in Texas either.

Texas is just too damn hot, even if they didn't all have that right-wing think alike thing going it still wouldn't be that great.

Posted by: Pug at August 9, 2003 03:50 PM | PERMALINK

The chart would have ben more informitive if it was constructed on a percapita or worker basis. But then how is one to adjust the chart for Californias large underground nonreported economy?

Posted by: DaveA at August 9, 2003 07:39 PM | PERMALINK

California: Still better than Texas?

As a native Texan, relocated to San Francisco, I'd have to agree.
108 degrees in Austin today? Why did settlers ever stop in Texas in the first place?

Posted by: andrew at August 9, 2003 09:01 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew, the settlers in Texas were fooled by sales people in Germany and Bohemia (now the Check Republic) into shipping out of Hamburg to Galveston and getting large amounts of free land.

No sales person would have mentioned the heat, humidity, snakes, Indians or the large variety of insects that also inhabit this state. But, hey, at least we have water and only a little bit of desert, unlike southern California.

The biggest pest is, of course, conservatives, something most rural states with low educational standards are inflicted with. They came out of the woodwork because of integration, and it will be another generation before they are beaten back like the cockroaches they are. That, urbanism and air conditioning will make this a great place to live.

In the meantime, some of us just can't afford to live in California.

Posted by: Rick B at August 9, 2003 09:51 PM | PERMALINK

And Californians can look on the bright side: at any time, California could experience the "Big One" that will rip open San Andreas fault, make California into an island, and make its current budget crisis moot.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough at August 10, 2003 07:35 AM | PERMALINK

spc -- the figures are total employment, so a change from one year to the next is net -- jobs gained minus jobs lost. As long as the percentage change is positive, the net is positive. There are always jobs lost in the economy, just as there are thousands of business failures every year. The more dynamic the economy, the more jobs lost (and even more gained). Focusing on one side of the ledger is just idiotic. Implying that the net is negative is either ignorant or dishonest.

Feel free to question my assertions. I'd rather be corrected here than other places.

Posted by: Max at August 10, 2003 08:37 AM | PERMALINK

Focusing on one side of the ledger is just idiotic.

Are you saying that gross job losses, both those which leave the state and those which result from businesses closing for reasons associated with say overregulation are not an important economic consideration? I disagree. A vibrant economy is always going to have businesses closing and moving. The trick is to only have those close which the free market determines, not additional ones caused by poor gov't policy.That way new business creation and drawing new businesses to CA will result in BOTH gross AND net adds.

Implying that the net is negative is either ignorant or dishonest.

I was implying the gross was negative, not the net. I was taking your chart at face value, not questioning it's integrity, or yours.

I have the sense we may be talking past one another, rather than merely disagreeing. Looking forward to your response.

Posted by: spc67 at August 10, 2003 01:18 PM | PERMALINK

spc -- If there was huge volatility in jobs, including a large gross outflow, that would be of interest. But as far as I know, nobody has shown with numbers that Cal's gross outflow is unusual, compared to other states. The aggregate numbers give no hint of whether the job moved because of public policy or market conditions. The simplest indication of health in this context is net job growth. More profound indicators could be proposed and quantified. I don't think that gross job loss is one of them. Of course "gross job loss" in your sense is negative by definition.

I did not mean to imply you were ignorant or dishonest; my statement applied to a claim the net is negative, a statement you did not make.

Posted by: Max at August 11, 2003 06:22 AM | PERMALINK

But as far as I know, nobody has shown with numbers that Cal's gross outflow is unusual, compared to other states. The aggregate numbers give no hint of whether the job moved because of public policy or market conditions.

I don't disagree, I suppose the burden is on Arnold to show gross job losses. But your net calculation does nothing to refute his claim.

The simplest indication of health in this context is net job growth.

Again, I agree, but that calculation doesn't address Arnold's contention. Simple does not necessarily equal adequate.

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Posted by: Hero at February 20, 2004 04:54 AM | PERMALINK

Work in Texas is easier to come by for the same wages in Cali. I'm a Latino from Texas living in California and the only place agencies want to place me in is immigrant work. And sure, its hot in Texas but San Francisco is always damned cold. When are the women going to start running around half naked up here? j/k Too much money to live up here without an education, no degree go to Texas, they will put you to work.

Posted by: Latino at May 7, 2004 01:54 AM | PERMALINK

Work in Texas is easier to come by for the same wages in Cali. I'm a Latino from Texas living in California and the only place agencies want to place me in is immigrant work. And sure, its hot in Texas but San Francisco is always damned cold. When are the women going to start running around half naked up here? j/k Too much money to live up here without an education, no degree go to Texas, they will put you to work.

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