Op-Ed: Are Californians fleeing en masse to Texas? The reality is complicated | By Paul McEwan
My wife and I live in the desert in the northern part of the state — a place so sparsely populated, it’s almost the same as being in space. It’s one of the richest places in the country, but the state seems to have lost interest in actually producing prosperity.
The state is also suffering from something much more fundamental — a profound and debilitating recession. The state just entered a period of unprecedented political turmoil and an economic climate in which jobs and economic growth virtually disappear in the blink of an eye.
Despite having been a solidly blue state for most of its history, California has been trending steadily red for decades. And the state’s residents are increasingly frustrated by this reality.
The latest opinion polls show a distinct shift in the state’s political views toward the right, so much so that the only possible reason for such a shift is that people are leaving.
“If the recession continues, California will not be among states that can compete with Texas and other states for the high-tech jobs that attract business leaders and the best and the brightest,” said John D. Molinaro, head of the political science department at the University of California, Berkeley.
“For the foreseeable future, the state of California simply can’t compete on the same level with the other states. California’s future will depend on its ability to attract skilled workers — young people who don’t have kids, who aren’t in debt, who are more willing to come here.”
The reality of a post-industrial economy is getting more and more obvious to California residents. Businesses are simply unable to fill the jobs that are available. The state’s economy has been stagnant since the late 1970s, if not since shortly after the Great Depression. The state has lagged behind the nation in productivity growth for decades, a trend that has finally hit bottom.
In other words, Texas is simply the new Texas.
What’s more, the trend has been continuing since the early 1980s —