I have been a California resident for the past 23 years. During that time, I have seen the best of times and worst of times. Prior to this economic disaster, the only serious recession in those 23 years was in 1991-1992. At that time, myself and many others in similar situations faced economic turmoil. However, nothing comes close to what is happening now in what used to be the greatest State in the union.
According to the most recent reports, the unemployment rate in California has reached 12.2%. The rate in Los Angeles County is at 12.7%. Some cities within the county such as Compton and Commerce are over 20%. These are all far worse than the national rate of 9.8%.
What makes these numbers even scarier is that they have not hit rock bottom according to economic estimates at both the state and federal level. In fact, the State Government estimate of a maximum unemployment rate of 12.8% seems like it is going to be topped shortly, probably by early winter. Is it possible that California’s unemployment rate will top the number in 1940 of 14.7% which is the highest recorded on record?
All of these numbers really do not mean anything unless you compare them to other numbers in the country to get a real picture of just how bad things are here right now. The California rate is currently the fourth worst in the country. The only one significantly worse is Michigan at 15.2%. Notice any similarities between the two by the way? Not much except maybe extremely powerful unions in both!
And, on top of all this, the economy is primed to get much worse. When I drive down the streets in Los Angeles, I see nothing but empty storefronts on all major boulevards. Portions of Laurel Canyon Blvd have four to five empty storefronts on each block. Ventura Blvd., Wilshire Blvd., and Sunset Blvd are not fairing much better. And, I am told it is worse in other parts of the state.
According to some reports, the only real estate changing hands here are foreclosures and estate sales. Banks are not even evicting foreclosed owners in some parts of the Inland Empire because they want the house to be saleable when the economy finally does turn around. I mean, who wants to purchase a foreclosed house that has been destroyed by vandals. I know of one particular situation where a family has made no mortgage payments since May, 2007 and is still living in the house free of rent or tax payments.
Are there any solutions to this problem? Is there any quick fix? Or, must we just wait it out in hope that this Great State will make a comeback? I really do not believe any of the Federal Stimulus money will help the California job market. It has done nothing so far except allow some families to survive with the extension of unemployment benefits. It is definitely not helping the ailing real estate or worsening job market. If anything, the excessive federal spending is hurting the economy.
And, what have our representatives in Congress done to help us? Nancy Pelosi does nothing accept cost the US and California jobs with her constant big government, regulatory, liberal agenda. Her support of “Cap and Trade” and HR 3200 will not only effect the US Economy on the whole, but will have a double impact on the state of California. Outsourcing is already a problem here, but it will get much worse if either of these bills become law. In fact, it seems that there is already evidence that California employers are not hiring until the result of both “Cap and Trade” and health care reform are known.
The same goes for Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein. Neither of them are doing anything to support the economy in the state. They are just following the same liberal agenda regardless of how it affects the people of California.
One prime example is that there is not one Congressman representing Californians doing anything to overturn the Federal Order which stopped irrigation in the Sacramento area after it was ruled the necessary irrigation had caused the Delta Smelt, a small fish, to become endangered. This has caused the farming industry in the Sacramento and Fresno area to pretty much come to a standstill and bring the unemployment rate in the area to approximately 17%. In fact, the city of Mendota has an unemployment rate of 41%, the highest in the country. (That’s right 41%. It’s not a typo.)
Comedian Paul Rodriguez, a former Democrat and Obama supporter, whose family are farmers in the area, has left his liberal roots as a result of this fiasco. He has now appeared on Sean Hannity’s show stating that the entire area is in extreme danger. Farms are being lost, unemployment is rampant and people are starving: All to protect a little two inch fish.
And what do our Senators and Representatives in California do about this; again, absolutely nothing. It seems it is more important to protect the Delta Smelt than to protect the people of the Central Valley. Let the people starve and the fish thrive. Who cares if 80,000 people in the area are unemployed? If they can not afford bread, let them eat cake.
That is the whole problem with the current Administration and Congress in Washington and the State Legislature in Sacramento, including the aforementioned Ms. Pelosi, Ms. Boxer, and Ms. Feinstein, as well as, Mr. Waxman, Ms. Waters, Ms. Watson and the favorite of this column, Mr. Dan Lungren. They simply do not care about the people, economy or problems of the State. They care only about the special interest groups that finance and support them.
I’m reminded of “Legally Blonde 2” in which Elle’s boss, the Congresswomen, stabbed Elle in the back because a strong campaign financier was against the proposed animal rights bill. It is true whether it be fact or fiction.
In the end, the free market will bring this State back to its former glory provided that the regulators and liberals currently in control, including the Obama Administration and his cabinet, do not destroy it completely. The people of California must rise up against their current so called Representatives and do whatever is necessary to take our government back so that it is a government of the people and for the people, not for the governors!