When a chunk of California’s scenic Highway 1 slid into the Pacific Ocean in January, it was the perfect metaphor for the state’s REAL collapse.

February 15, 2021 By The Crusader

Highway 1 in Big Sur, California, clings to the coastal cliffs over much of its distance. This view looking south is about one mile north of Ragged Point, near the southern end of the Big Sur region. Author: Fred Moore from Morro Bay, CA, USA. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

A 150-foot swath of scenic Highway 1 broke away from a steep California hillside last week and plummeted into the Pacific Ocean, according to reports.

I can’t say for sure that the keystrokes for the article below were happening at the same time as the rain-soaked highway along California’s coast fell into the ocean, but the metaphor is certainly now observed.

Joel Kotkin is described by the New York Times as “America’s uber-geographer.” At City-Journal where he has been a contributing author, they write…

Joel Kotkin is an internationally-recognized authority on global, economic, political and social trends. He authored The Human City: Urbanism for the Rest of Us in 2016 and co-edited, with MIT’s Alan Berger, the 2018 collection Infinite Suburbia.

In his latest articles he apparently has California squarely in his crosshairs. Beginning on December 21st, 2020, he wrote, “Peak Progressive – A Sliver of Hope for California.” On January 24th he released “Making America California.” February 7th was “The Other California.” And most recently, February 11 … “The Collapse of California.”

Kotkin’s most recent book, “The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class” is described by Richard Florida under Amazon’s listing

Our society and economy is no longer progressing but regressing into a kind of “neo-feudalism.” As Joel Kotkin describes it, our once-great middle class is being eviscerated and America is dividing into a small group of uber-wealthy oligarchs who have colonized luxury cities like San Francisco and New York.

If the majority of Kotkin’s works are considered “Warning Signs,” “The Collapse of California” must be the STOP SIGN. As a flashing red light to Joe Biden’s recent suggestion that he wants to “make America California again,” Kotkin responds

…before leaping on this particular train, he [Biden] should consider whether the California model may be better seen as a cautionary tale than a roadmap to a better future in the digital age.

The on-the-ground reality — as opposed to that portrayed in the media or popular culture — is more Dickensian than utopian. Rather than the state where dreams are made, in reality California increasingly presents the prototype of a new feudalism fused oddly with a supposedly progressive model in which inequality is growing, not falling.

Kotkin goes on to describe the harsh “reality,” which he summarizes at the end of the article…

“Clearly California is not the avatar of brighter future…”

In bullet point fashion, here are the major issues covered in Kotkin’s piece. (The reader is encouraged to take in the article in full).

➡️ California now suffers the highest cost-adjusted poverty rate in the country.

➡️ It also has one of the nation’s highest Gini ratios, which measures the inequality of wealth distribution from the richest to poorest residents.

➡️ Incredibly, California’s level of inequality is greater than that of neighbouring Mexico.

➡️ Over the past decade, 80% of the state’s jobs have paid under the median wage — most are in poorly paid personal services or hospitality jobs.

➡️ The state’s dependence on low-wage service workers has been critical in the pandemic, but it now suffers among the highest unemployment rates in the nation.

➡️ Almost one-third of Hispanics, the state’s largest ethnic group, subsist below the poverty line, compared with 21% outside the state.

➡️ By 2015, nearly 30% of Silicon Valley’s residents relied on public or private financial assistance.

➡️ Once the ultimate land of youth, the Golden State is now aging 50% faster than the rest of the country. In time, the wheelchair could replace the surfboard as the symbol of the state.

Scrawled on the back of this literary “STOP SIGN,” almost as if engraved with a stone, Kotkin writes…

So before the state — and the President — entertains any notion of sensibly “exporting” its model, California’s leaders need to embrace the biblical notion of “physician cure thyself” and demonstrate that our state is the harbinger of a better future, rather than a feudalistic past.

In a mere 24-hour delay, Newt Gingrich adds an exclamation point to Kotkin’s cautionary tale in this Feb. 12, 2021 article at the Washington Times…

In the latest example of the disconnect between the elite left and real Americans, a January headline in the Los Angeles Times read: “Make America California Again? That’s Biden’s Plan.”

According to the newspaper, “California is emerging as the de facto policy think tank of the Biden-Harris administration and of a congress soon to be under Democratic control.”

The influence that California has on the elite left in Washington is profound. As the Los Angeles Times wrote, “There is no place the incoming administration is leaning on more heavily for inspiration in setting a progressive policy agenda.”

And with an appropriate “Fleche,” to use a fencing term, Gingrich states…

“It is nothing short of delusional to look to California
as a model for the United States.”

cc: Joe Biden – please take a note (assuming your Executive Order pen hasn’t run out of ink).
Joel Kotkin is on Twitter – @JoelKotkin