A reader writes:
You recently posted a recession view about the line of 60+ people on Ventura Blvd in Los Angeles. I was in that line, waiting for two hours to be interviewed on the sidewalk by a group of 22 year olds running a burger joint. I’m a 47 year old man, single without health insurance, trying to cobble together enough money each month to pay my rent and food, working to get my way back to where I was ten years ago. Ten years ago, I was a sales manager for a furniture manufacturing company, making $10,000 a week, travelling around the US, succeeding wildly. The company I built during the 90s is now gone, a casualty of cheap Chinese furniture imports.
I’m working to save enough money to get out of California. Retail business is very close to zero. For lease signs on commercial buildings are more prevalent than operating businesses, and every single one of my friends is going through traumatic economic changes, none for the better. The reaction by the California legislature is “Hike up the taxes. We need more revenue.”
People are leaving the state in droves, seeking out low-tax, low-regulation places to live. There are exurban neighborhoods which were seriously overbuilt during the past twenty years that are depopulating now. The people who moved to these places moved to purchase lower-priced homes. They were the most economically strained and the first to lose their homes. It could take decades for many parts of California (and overbuilt Florida) to recover.
My political views have been aligned with yours for many years, though I can not be a supporter of Obama. I fear the spending and bailouts are digging us much deeper into a hole, throwing good money after bad, exactly the same as the Bush administration did with overspending. I am gay, HIV positive, Libertarian in theory but registered Republican. My disenchantment with the Republican party came within the first few months of the Bush administration, when it was co-opted by Cheney, Rove, and Rumsfeld. All the sensible moderates Whitman, Thompson, Voinovich, etc were excised from power, replaced by those who made decisions based upon religious dogma.