Cheap shots wrong about California
Back in 1936 and 1972, when California was in the midst of serious recessions, no Republican presidential candidate would have dared bash this state the way Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Peggy Noonan and others lately have.
Back then, California was pretty safely Republican in presidential voting and no GOP bigwig would do anything to risk changing that.
But times have changed; California has become pretty safely Democratic in presidential and U.S. Senate votes, so the GOP has nothing to lose in making false and misleading claims about it.
We see this regularly here from a corps of right-leaning bloggers who almost never say anything positive about the state they call home, trashing it at every opportunity. Their constant tide of belittling commentary moved Gov. Jerry Brown to describe them as “declinists.”
But was there merit in Romney’s likening California to financially troubled nations of similar size like Spain, Italy and Greece?
Was Palin correct to call California “a cautionary tale” for the rest of America? Was former presidential speechwriter Noonan on target while blasting California on national television?
The left-leaning magazine, The Atlantic, quickly responded with a series of graphs and some expert quotes that among other things called comparisons between California and troubled European countries “superficial” and “silly.”
One thing for sure: The same Republicans who blast California, come here at every opportunity to fatten their personal pocketbooks and campaign funds. Romney, for one, has milked Californians for about one-fifth of his campaign dollars, mostly via high-priced dinners and receptions in the hotels and mansions of the ultra-rich who have somehow survived this state’s supposed decline.
The Atlantic’s graphs show California not only has a higher gross domestic product than any of the three European countries to which Republicans compared it, but has had far higher economic growth, lower unemployment, a far lower debt-to-gross domestic product ratio and far lower budget deficits.
In fact, California surpasses many other states, large and small – Illinois, New York and Nevada to name three – in all those categories, and scores of others (including Texas) in some of those departments.
But it’s a convenient target because the absolute numbers are always higher here because California this has the largest population.
A new report from the International Trade Association shows California exports growing rapidly, with first-half 2012 sales to foreign countries at $82 billion, a 6 percent increase over last year. And California continues to lead the nation in charitable contributions, kicking in about one-eighth of the national total, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Exponentially more small businesses start up each year in California and private sector employment here grew over the last year, by a higher percentage than in any other state.
So the cheap shots are just that; the facts tell a different story.