11/07/2012 - 10:42

Gillard-Greens are California dreaming

11/07/2012 - 10:42


Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

The ‘Golden State’ is being derailed economically by rampant green policies.

The ‘Golden State’ is being derailed economically by rampant green policies. 

Julia Gillard visited a college near Tinseltown shortly before she ousted Kevin Rudd as PM where, according to Californian hype, “green skills” were taught.

After her inspection she faced journalists.

Today, I’m here in the city of Los Angeles,” Ms Gillard said. “I’m here at the Los Angeles Technical and Trades College looking at green skills.

“What this visit has reinforced in me is that people who undertake very traditional trades – our plumbers, our carpenters, our electricians, our motor mechanics – have a place in the green economy of the future.

“Here in Los Angeles under the leadership of Governor (Arnold) Schwarzenegger, this is a state that is looking to the future; this is a state that is leading on climate change adaption; and this is a state that’s leading on green skills and I’ve seen that on display today at this college.”

She was impressed.

Whatever she saw must have been adroitly presented because the damage done to the Californian economy by those who, like her, believe in the global heating hoax, never rated a mention.

Let’s therefore consider some of the things not drawn to her attention by her smooth-talking Californian hosts.

The best way of doing this is to consider a learned Californian she obviously did not meet.

He is Joel Kotkin, contributing editor of City Journal, London Legatum Institute adjunct fellow and distinguished presidential fellow in urban futures at Los Angeles’ Chapman University.

Professor Kotkin describes himself a “Truman Democrat” – similar to an old-style, non-Greens ALP backer here.

His first contentions are from his recent article, The New Class Warfare: California’s super-wealthy progressives seem intent on destroying middle-class jobs.

Firstly, California’s unemployment is now second-highest in the US, after Nevada.

“Of the eight American metropolitan areas where the joblessness rate exceeds 15 per cent, seven are in California, and most of them have substantial minority and working-class populations,” Professor Kotkin wrote.

Secondly, between 2005 and 2009, California lost a third of its construction jobs, compared with a 24 per cent nationwide drop.

“California has also suffered disproportionate losses in its most productive blue-collar industries,” he wrote.

“Over the past 10 years, more than 125,000 industrial jobs have evaporated, even as industrial growth has helped spark a recovery in many other states.

“In 2011, while the country was gaining 227,000 industrial jobs, California’s manufacturers were still stuck in reverse, losing 4,000.”

Thirdly, one reason California has a growing and dangerous rich-poor divide is that its “progressives” – they’re like our high income-earning Greens and Gillard-backing professionals – have fostered a taxing environment that slowed down job creation, particularly for the middle and working classes.

“In 1994, California placed 35th in the Tax Foundation’s ranking of states with the lightest tax burdens on business; today, it’s plummeted to 48th,” Professor Kotkin said.

Fourthly, a recent survey of 500 top CEOs found California had the worst business climate, and the US Chamber of Commerce called California “a difficult environment for job creation”.

“Since 2001, California has accounted for just 1.9 per cent of the country’s new investment in industrial facilities; in better times, between 1977 and 2000, it grabbed 5.6 per cent,” he said.

Fifth, large numbers of companies are either leaving California or shifting jobs elsewhere. 

This includes low-tech companies, like Dunn Edwards Paints and fast-food operator CKE Restaurants, and high-tech ones like Acacia Research, Biocentric Energy Holdings and eBay, which is planning to establish 1,000 new positions in Austin, Texas. 

“Computer security giant McAfee estimates that it saves 30 to 40 per cent every time it hires outside California,” Professor Kotkin said.

“Only 14 per cent of the firm’s 6,500 employees remain in Silicon Valley.”

Sixth, radical environmentalism is particularly responsible for driving wedges between California’s classes.

Over 130 green activist groups are headquartered in San Francisco’s Bay area and nearby centres.

Seventh, under nominal Republican Governor Schwarzenegger, California in 2006 passed Assembly Bill 32, which imposes heavy fees on using carbon-based energy.

“Another business-hobbling mandate is the law requiring that 30 per cent of California’s electricity be generated by ‘renewable’ sources by 2020,” Professor Kotkin said.  “California’s electricity costs are already 50 per cent above the national average and the fifth-highest in the nation.

“Hollywood manages to outdo even Silicon Valley in its class hypocrisy. 

“Former actor Schwarzenegger doesn’t let his green zeal stop him from owning oversize houses and driving fuel-gorging cars.”

California’s dismal news is reflected in the Gillard-Greens government’s copying, including taxing CO2 and imposing costly mandated renewable electricity.  In Australia, it is to be 20 per cent of total electricity output by 2020; California is crazier, with 30 per cent.

The only reason the full Californian-style catastrophe still has not hit home here are those huge China iron ore, coal and gas sales.

When, or if, these cease or slow down, we’ll be heading down the California/Schwarzenegger path.

And Ms Gillard had the audacity to lecture failing European governments that also emulate the Californian/Schwarzenegger path.

A Wall Street Journal article titled, The Great Californian Exodus (April 21, 2012) about Professor Kotkin’s warnings, focused on what Ms Gillard so admired but he has shown it as California’s super-wealthy that are imposing a Greece-style slump.

California’s fastest-growing industry is government jobs and its biggest product, business-inhibiting green and red tape, he told the Journal.

“The first thing that comes to many American minds when you mention California isn’t Hollywood or tanned girls on a beach but Greece,” he said.

“Nearly four million more people have left the Golden State in the last two decades than have come from other states. 

“This is a sharp reversal from the 1980s, when 100,000 more Americans were settling in California each year than were leaving.

“California used to be more like Texas – a jobs magnet. What

“For one, Californians are now voting more based on social issues and less on fiscal ones than they did when (former US president) Ronald Reagan was governor 40 years ago. 

“Environmentalists are also more powerful than they used to be.

“If California is no longer the golden land of opportunity for middle-class dreamers, what is?”

Professor Kotkin’s answered his question by saying America now has four “growth corridors”: the states of the Gulf coast, Great Plains, inter-mountain west and south-east.

These, crucially, have “lower costs of living, lower taxes, relatively relaxed regulatory environments and critical natural resources such as oil and natural gas”, he said.

All this suggests that the next time we have a rational, rather than a Californian/Schwarzenegger-inclined government in Canberra, everything the Rudd-Gillard-Greens coalition has inflicted on us since 2007 should be immediately discarded.

There’s no other way of avoiding California’s elitist imposed disease.


Subscription Options