California has faced numerous problems lately. The state is home to some of the world’s harshest environmental and public health laws, but skyrocketing homelessness has created an ecological and public health disaster. The 44,000 people living, eating, and defecating on the streets of L.A. have sadly brought rats and diseases like typhus. Garbage is everywhere.
California’s catastrophe stems partially from a longstanding, statewide housing affordability crisis. Californians spend significantly more of their income on housing than the rest of the nation. More than 1.5 million renters spend half of their earnings on rent, leaving them potentially one paycheck away from homelessness.
NPR reports that as of January 2020, California alone had about 151,000 people experiencing homelessness. There are many contributors to the problem. The horrors of childhood trauma and poverty, mental illness, and addiction are all factors that can lead to homelessness.
California’s problem is that the income of the rich is highly variable, based heavily on dividends, capital gains, and bonuses, which vanish in recessions. For example, In the 2008 financial crisis, California’s income-tax collections declined by $7 billion – from $50 billion to $43 billion – in one year.
California is unsustainable for four primary reasons: high taxes and regulations; declining quality of life; rising crime; and a growing welfare state that incentivizes dependency.