Joel Kotkin, writing in the Daily Beast on October 5, brought together statistical data on California that offer a dire warning for the country if the old adage is true that “as goes California, so goes the nation.” Among the current rankings achieved by California is #1 in income inequality. Kotkin noted that the level of inequality in the state is comparable to that in the Dominican Republic and, for the first time, the middle class is a minority in the state. California is also #1 in the share of residents living in poverty. Kotkin added that California has a third of all welfare recipients in the nation and three times the national average. That compares with its population being one-eighth of the nation’s total residents (and its foreign-born population is one-fourth of the nation’s total.)
These data represent a dramatic change for the state from the 1980s, when Kotkin notes, “…roughly 60 percent of the population was considered middle class.” Census data show the foreign-born population of California in 1980 was 15.1 percent – about half of what it is now and only slightly higher than the current level for the country.
This is the background against which to judge the wisdom of state lawmakers having just adopted new laws that are sure to make illegal aliens feel more welcome, e.g., issuing driver’s licenses without regard to legal status and acceding to the demands of defenders of illegal aliens by restricting the ability of state and local law enforcement officials to honor federal detainer requests for illegal aliens arrested in California.