California’s Greek Tragedy

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Michael Boskin and John Cogan call it California’s Greek Tragedy — the state’s predictable decline as its legislatures and governors built a welfare state on high tax rates, liberal entitlement benefits, and excessive regulation:

From the mid-1980s to 2005, California’s population grew by 10 million, while Medicaid recipients soared by seven million; tax filers paying income taxes rose by just 150,000; and the prison population swelled by 115,000.

California’s economy, which used to outperform the rest of the country, now substantially underperforms. The unemployment rate, at 10.9%, is higher than every other state except Nevada and Rhode Island. With 12% of America’s population, California has one third of the nation’s welfare recipients.

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