Gary Horton | Commiefornia? Try Capitalist Paradise Instead

Other than an envelope of a suspicious “white powder” showing up at Katie Hill’s old Antelope Valley office, it’s been a pretty quiet Katie Hill week. Perhaps we’re all taking a breath from the rapid-fire hubbub and dustup, which ensued from that sudden fall from a lofty congressional perch. The whole affair remains tragically sad, but it appears, white powder aside, the 25th Congressional District will move on and will continue to thrive.

And thrive, we do. From valleys to mountains, from forests to desert, from suburban sprawl to beautiful master-plans, to mountain and high desert getaways – the 25th District offers folks a dramatic variety of lifestyle choices. It’s a great place to live.

And did I mention I love California? Man, I do. Been here my entire life, save for a two-year stint in a suite and white shirt and tie, peddling bicycles and Books of Mormon throughout a snowy, unimaginably cold Finland. Do I love the moderate weather of California and the 25th District? Answer: Once you’ve spent a winter or two in Finland you’ll love Southern California forever. 

And, we have In-N-Out Burger.

So, I take it rather personally when various opinion writers dump all over our fair state – especially in favor of some much lesser locale, landlocked between Polygamy Central and Home on the Range. 

Oh sure, California has problems. Homelessness ranks top. Solving our fire and electrical grid problem is a close second. Housing costs are high – but know what? They’re high because more people want to live here. If there’s potential, if there’s promise, if there’s culture and things to do, folks flood in – and costs jack up. Like in New York. Seattle. San Fran. L.A. Hong Kong. London. Paris. Moscow (one of the most expensive). Even Denver.

A longtime local writer is heading off for Colorado, in part fleeing California’s apparently “communistic government.” 

Well.  

For a bunch of commies, Californians are sure a bunch of capitalistic high achievers. California boasts the fifth largest GDP in the WORLD, running at over 3 trillion bucks annually. We boast the highest deployment of start-up capital. We create more businesses than anywhere else in the U.S. Right now, there’s more than 4 million small businesses right here in our state of 39 million. And job growth? We continue, to this day, to blow the doors off the entire rest of the country.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported for September, California again led the nation in job creation with 20,300 new jobs. Meanwhile, Colorado lost 1,900 jobs – and just for kicks – those coal mining states of Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia lost 22,000 between them. Many economists believe if the West Coast ever left the Union, the rest of the country would be done for but good.

There’s something happening in California that makes us so very unique and productive. Far, far from being commies, we are a business-creating, job-creating mega-force – not remotely equaled anywhere else. 

Along the way, we also produce 81% of the nation’s domestic wine. About 400 agricultural products. If you’re an American eating fruit, nuts, or vegetables, there’s a good shot we grew it right here, in California. And, if you’re in many western states and bought an Asian TV or car or just about anything from anywhere in the world – there’s again a darn good chance it came right through Los Angeles, as L.A. boasts the two largest seaports in the U.S.

What’s driving all this productivity around these parts? It can’t just be the surfing. 

Here’s a hint: We’ve got the two finest state university systems in the country with the UC system and Cal State system dwarfing all others. Community colleges packed in, up and down the state. And then all the world-beating private universities. There’s nothing like it in Texas, nothing like it in the South, nothing remotely like it in the inter-mountain states.

One might call our state university and college systems “socialized.” After all, tax dollars are redistributed to the masses through subsidized education. Ditto for much of the rest of the common spaces we enjoy and share together.

If all this investment in the public good that drives our unique success makes us commies, then commies we are. Yet us California commies continue to run the table on the entire nation.

Meanwhile, last anyone remembered of Colorado was Mork and Mindy. Na-Nu Na-Nu. And legalizing “magic mushrooms.” Groovy.

Colorado. Wyoming. Whatever. The flyover states. Seems like nice slow places to retire and wave guns and collect socialized Medicare and retirement benefits. 

But if you want to get down to business? Go further west – to capitalist mega-force, California.

Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.

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