I wasn't really praising California as much as I was just defending them a bit and commenting on the reflexive habit of certain individuals to just dump on the state while seemingly having no knowledge of the complexities that are involved. It's easy to just look at the negative and ignore the positive, be it states, countries, or political leaders, while doing the exact opposite for those things we like and value. Other states have huge natural resources also (like Texas with oil), but the major difference is that Texas isn't hamstrung by a referendum system that makes it near impossible to inact needed changes. And even with that, Texas isn't quite the well-run paradise that some claim.
Jim, I do think that the "less government" crowd generally does not think about the concept a whole lot. It's why Free Republic, Breitbart, Drudge, and the Daily Caller are so popular. They confirm their readers biases and keep them coming back for more.
Anyways, would you rather live in Sweden, with their huge safety net and high taxes, or Somalia, with virtually NO government? Somalia should sound great. Some of Pith's most notorious gadfly's, who breathlessly peck away on their keyboards anytime someone says something mean about guns, could probably go over there and make great pirates.
By the way, Xray, California's direct democracy system IS the primary reason they are having problems. You can deny that all you want, but if you need to pass a 2/3 majority in the legislature, have the governor sign off on it, and get the citizens to approve it, it is practically destined for failure.
Or as another commenter put it: "To begin with, the state's government and political system are designed to malfunction. A series of ill-conceived constraints and incentives have created weak and unaccountable public officials, even as they have set California on a course to fiscal disaster. In the state legislature, for example, a two-thirds majority is required to pass a budget. The original law creating this requirement was passed in the 1930s, and invoked the two-thirds rule only for budgets that grew by 5% or more over the prior year. But that qualification was dropped in the 1960s, and the two-thirds majority is now an annual necessity. Because California's political districts are thoroughly uncompetitive (in 2004, 153 state or federal legislative seats were up for election, and none changed parties), members of the legislature tend to come from the parties' ideological poles. And since this static landscape also leaves each party short of a two-thirds majority, budget negotiations inevitably devolve into a Mexican standoff."
Look, we can all find various lists of various topics of different states and post endlessly about them. If your idea of "quality of life" is just low taxes, than yes, you should be living in only red states. There are other factors though and I've met many people in blue states, and socialized European countries like Sweden for that matter, who love where they live. I was traveling in South America several years ago and talked with a guy from Sweden who has been to the U.S. many times who would never trade his country for ours. I worked with a guy from Seattle who couldn't stand Tennessee and moved back several months ago. I know several Californians who are dying to go back to that state. Everyone has a point of view and to each his own. Blue states have higher taxes. Red states are less educated and less healthy. Blue states may have more debt (although that's debateable). Red states tend to have less access to healthcare, more crime and more environmental problems. Blue states have more governmental services- and they pay for it more. Red states take more back from the federal government than they pay in, than do blue states. Most blue states have vast portions of them that are actually red. Most red states have major pockets of blue (like Nashville). I live in Nashville because it is a blue island in a sea of red. Many people wouldn't be caught dead living here, would rather live in the more homogeneous suburban counties. I could go on and on. It's all about perception and what you value. We should stop beating people up about things like this. But, at the very least, we should be willing to see both sides of the coin and stop letting our prejudices and confirmation biases dictate how we interact with others.
Actually, California is not broke. They do have a lot of debt (and so does Texas by the way) and some serious problems though. The problem in California, as trolls like bobsguns and others who breathlessly post on Pith ignore, is far more complicated. Their system of government was created to be a direct democracy where any changes (such as taxes) go directly to the people in the form of referendums. It's frustrated both Republican and Democratic governors. There are simply no easy fixes in that state. Contrast that with Texas, which is not the free-market haven that "conservatives" makes it out to be. Governor Perry has doubled that states debt and has had to appropriate nearly their entire "rainy day" fund to make it appear that they are a fiscally prudent state. But Texas doesn't have a referendum system. But they still manage to mostly kick the can down the road for some future Governor and legislature to deal with.
"The single mom of two had seen her San Salvador neighborhood grow dangerous and crime-ridden. Gangs extracted protection money from business owners; many shops closed. She wondered whether her son, then 11, would one day fall in with the gangsters who lurked outside his school."
I know I should not respond to pathetic trolls like "bobsguns", but how can you read something like paragraph above and then compare them to child molesters? It's highly unlikely Bob even knows any immigrants, legal or otherwise, because if he did, he'd find out that most are sympathetic to the plight of the people mentioned in the article. Most people with real human emotions are. I know quite a few legal, naturalized immigrants and none think like Bob. Bob, just some advice: your commenting history makes you look like an angry person at best, at worst a sociopath. You might want to seek some help.
"It is also the most conservative and Republican, which might explain why it is the best governed part of the region."
Huh? Conservative and Republican explains better governance? If I believed that, I'd be one. There are a bunch of counties, a majority of them in Tennessee, that are conservative and Republican and aren't as "well governed" as Williamson county. I think it has more to do with the fact that Williamson is very affluent and homogenous. It also is not a county wide government, but a collection of municipal government's, so comparing it to Davidson is a fool's errand.
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