Friday, April 17, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

A skewed look at California exodus

TomEliasW

By
From page A6 | November 16, 2012 |

No academic or pseudo-academic study has had more impact on California public affairs this fall than a 32-page tome about what’s wrong with this state, coming from the New York-based Manhattan Institute and bearing the ominous title “The Great California Exodus: A Closer Look.”

Trouble is, this study doesn’t look quite closely enough to get at the real roots of the trend of the past 20 years, in which more Californians have departed to other states than have arrived here from elsewhere in America. Of course, California has not actually lost population from this reversal of the pattern of the previous century: The U.S. Census showed state population was up 3 million in the 10 years between 2000 and 2010, with most of the increase from a combination of foreign immigration and live births. This, despite an outflow to other states of about 3.4 million people.

Few reported this, but even though California didn’t gain a seat in Congress this decade, its growth still was the largest in the nation. Growth seemed small only because the starting population was so high.

And yet, there remains the reality that when it comes to strictly domestic migration, California lost ground over the past 20 years — although you’d never guess it while sitting in stalled traffic on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles or on the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland.

California also lost income, according to the Manhattan Institute report, principally authored by Thomas Gray, a Cambria-based freelance writer who was editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Daily News from 1984 to 1995.

Californians who moved to Texas had $4.07 billion in income between 2000 and 2010, those moving to Nevada took $5.67 billion of income with them, and those going to Arizona took $4.96 billion, to name the three leading states in terms of money going to former California residents. Gray and co-author Robert Scardamalia used Internal Revenue Service summaries to reach those figures.

They attribute the outflow from California primarily to three factors: jobs, taxes and density. Yes, California’s big urban areas, the study says, are the densest in America, improbably topping even New York.

No doubt individual reasons for leaving California are complex, but even Gray concedes the Manhattan Institute’s list of factors is incomplete, at best. For example, there is no mention of the profit motive.

Rather, the study cites jobs and taxes as the two prime reasons for persons to leave California. (This is predictable considering that despite its neutral name, the institute is a libertarian-leaning outfit whose board of directors is peopled almost exclusively with representatives of big business.) As the institute knew it would, that conclusion already has increased the push for lessening regulations on business and industry while also discouraging any possible tax increases.

If you’re trying to get regulations reduced or eliminated and you don’t want more taxes, why talk about the profit motive, or what Gray in an interview called the “cash-out factor”? That’s the incentive many Californians have to sell high-priced real estate, especially in densely populated coastal counties, buy a far larger place in Arizona, Texas, Nevada, Idaho or Oregon (the leading recipients of California emigrants), and pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars in leftover profits.

“If you’re along the coast, the difference between California real estate prices and those other states is very high,” Gray conceded.

Gray also acknowledges that “If people are retiring,” the profit motive “can be very important.” But he says he didn’t include it in his study because “No one can quantify this.” He also didn’t calculate how much of the income going elsewhere was in the form of Social Security payments and pensions — usually classed as unearned income.

But here’s an anecdote: A couple from Culver City (true story) retired last spring with hefty pensions and immediately moved to Las Vegas. They sold their longtime home for more than $800,000 and bought a larger, newer place for $280,000. These people had complained for years about California traffic, but was that or the more than half-a-million in profits they pocketed the real reason for their departure?

Similar stories have been repeated innumerable times, enough so it’s probably no longer an anecdote, but an indisputably significant factor in departures from California.

What’s more, someone else bought that Culver City house. Like many, that buyer was an Asian immigrant. But in measuring the outflow of income from California, Gray also didn’t attempt to balance matters by figuring the income of new immigrants. “That can confuse the issue a lot,” he said. No, it actually might clarify things.

The real confusion comes from not accounting for all the factors at work. When a study leaves out the profit motive, which even that study’s prime author concedes is important, and also ignores money brought to the state by immigrants, that study cannot possibly be considered complete, nor its conclusions valid.

Which means that politicians or pundits who cite the Manhattan Institute study to push for less regulations on business or to discourage any new taxes are basing their suggestions on something very incomplete and highly questionable.

— Reach syndicated columnist Tom Elias at [email protected]

Comments

comments

.

News

Psychedelic rock posters recall 1960s concerts

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
UCD study: Crickets not enough to feed the world just yet

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A1

It’ll be a perfect day for a picnic — and lots more

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Turning a mess into olive oil success

By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

UCD expands emergency notification service

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A2

 
California vaccine bill stalls; will come back next week

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Cities: California water reduction order unrealistic, unfair

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Bob Dunning: Chasing criminals and water-wasters

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Enjoy a chemistry bang on Picnic Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Start your Picnic Day with pancakes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Local students to perform at fundraising concert

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
CA House hosts crepe breakfast

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Doxie Derby crowns the winning wiener

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Fundraiser benefits Ugandan women

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

See pups at Picnic Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Davis poet will read his work at library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Free blood pressure screenings offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

 
Rotary Club hosts whisky tasting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Ribs and Rotary benefits local charities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Dodd plans fundraising barbecue in Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Soroptimists set date for golf tourney

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Socks collected for homeless veterans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Council will present environmental awards Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Invention and upcycling to be honored at Square Tomatoes Fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Take a peek at Putah Creek on daylong tour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Pence Gallery Garden Tour tickets on sale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
UC Davis Circle K Club wins awards at district convention

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Davis authors featured at writing conference in Stockton

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Sign up soon for Davis history tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Campus firearms bill passes Senate committee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Emerson featured at photography program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Portuguese influence in Yolo County detailed

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Concert and dance party celebrate KDRT’s 10 years on the air

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Survival skills to be taught at preserve

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

.

Forum

The new one puts her foot down

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

It’s time to fight for California’s jobs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Future leaders give back

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Know where your gift is going

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Pipeline veto a good move

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Artists offer heartfelt thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Sports

DHS boys drop another Delta League match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie women ready to host (win?) Big West golf tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

New strength coach hopes to stem UCD football injury tide

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Herd has too much for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Les, AD Gould talk about the Aggie coach’s future

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
UCD roundup: Quintet of Aggie gymnasts honored for academics

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
River Cats fall to Las Vegas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12

 
Diamondbacks defeat Giants in 12 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

DSF kicks off 10th anniversary celebration at the carousel

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
Many summer enrichment opportunities available for students

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
What’s happening

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

.

Arts

‘True Story:’ In their dreams

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
‘Once’ an unforgetable celebration of music, relationships

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Honda shows off new Civic at New York show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Obituaries

Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Robert Leigh Cordrey

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, April 17, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B10