(By Publius, ’76 Contributor)

In 2006, my wife and I made the best decision of our lives: We left my home state of California. At the time, we understood that it was probably forever, and that made it all the harder to leave everything I’d ever known: family, friends, and where I had lived my entire life. It was really hard.

At the time, we joked that we were “rats abandoning ship.” To us, liberal governance was sinking the place. Oppressive economic policies, rising costs, high taxes, and the perpetual pandering to liberal special interest groups like unions, illegal immigration, and pop culture nihilism had already made it a place we couldn’t and wouldn’t raise our family. And it clearly was only going to get worse.

A decade later, not a day has gone by where we haven’t felt totally vindicated. I’ve watched from afar and with sadness as the cancer of progressivism has only accelerated California’s decay.

If you’ve never been to California, then you can’t appreciate how it really does live up the hype; or at least it should. There’s more to do there than a lifetime of leisure could ever enjoy. The landscape is breathtaking, and is more diverse than just about anywhere on earth. From giant redwoods to the beaches of Orange County to the tallest mountains in the lower 48, you can surf in the morning and snowboard after lunch. It’s incredible.

It’s home to Disney, Apple, Google, the Lakers, and the entertainment industry. It’s university system is second to none. It produces most of the continent’s food.

And we’re killing it. Or rather, liberalism is killing it.

This week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the new $15 minimum wage into law, even though he ACTUALLY ADMITS that it does not make economic sense.

“Economically, minimum wages may not make sense. But morally, socially, and politically they make every sense because it binds the community together to make sure parents can take care of their kids.”

Read that again, then think about it.

What the governor of California is saying is that the sentiment, the idea, the warm and fuzzy shallow notion of a minimum wage and the false perception that it “helps” is more important than the real damage it will inflict. See, for liberals, it’s more important to perceive something as true and good, than to actually do something true and good. It’s the idea, and the feeling it creates in people that are important, not its disastrous effects.

And disastrous this will be. Seattle’s infamous $15 minimum wage went into affect several months ago, and already, it’s doing the exact opposite thing it was meant to do: help the poor

[it’s making them poorer]. In fact, since its implementation, the raised minimum wage has caused the largest job loss in Seattle since the Great Recession, especially in entry level jobs like food services.

What we can logically extrapolate from Seattle as a test case [and every other place a raised minimum wage has led to disaster] is that when applied to the sixth largest economy on earth, where taxes are already high and businesses are already leaving the state in droves, this will most likely be cataclysmic.

Even a cursory few minutes of Googling can tell us this: Heightened minimum wage leads to an inflated cost of production. And while it makes naive people feel warm and fuzzy about the idea of paying a 19 year old community college student $15 an hour to flip pizzas, reality shows that that kid’s boss can no longer afford to pay him at that rate, so he either has to charge $30 for a cheese pizza that no one will want to buy, cut his hours, or close the business altogether. In the end, the kid makes less money, or loses his job, and then can’t afford to buy a $30 pizza at the pizzeria down the street. So then that pizzeria cuts its hours, and staff, and ultimately closes … you get the idea.

This is both simple logic and math, both of which combine into high school-level economics, which sadly, no one understands anymore, if it’s even taught to them at all … which is how we got here in the first place.

Given that there are roughly 30 cajillion [approximate number] people currently living in Southern California, and a large majority of them working entry level and “unskilled” jobs to whom this will apply, you can bet this will absolutely nuke whatever’s left of the Californian economy. Approximately 9,000 business headquarters have left California since 2009, mostly to Texas. In unrelated news, Texas’ economy is exploding, there are no state taxes, wages are skyrocketing, the cost of living low, real estate booming, and everyone seems to be moving there. In California, almost the exact opposite is happening.

This is horrifically tragic because it’s so obviously unavoidable, yet here we are. Ideology is trumping reality, and the result is that “The Golden Goose” is dying because Californians are stupidly choosing to kill it, all in the name of making themselves feel good, even when, at the exact same time, we can articulate why it’s actually bad. This makes no sense.

Welcome to politics and economics in America in 2016.

Today, my wife and I own a 2,000 square foot home in a nice neighborhood, and while I work, we can afford for her to remain at home full time to home school our two boys. This is a tremendous blessing that we’re extremely grateful for, but also understand would be impossible if we’d stayed in California. We’re reminded of this constantly, but never more so than when we go to visit a couple times a year and see old friends whose kids don’t have backyards to play in while both mom and dad kill themselves 50-60 hours a week just to live in cramped housing in dicey areas.

We fly home both grateful and relieved, rats abandoning ship once more, watching California sink; not into the ocean like so many earthquake movies told me when I was a kid, but into the abyss of liberal governance and poor economic policies – which are essentially the same thing.

We’re grateful to be building our lives here in Colorado, but worry about how “California-y” it seems to be getting. Traffic on I-25 through the Tech Center doesn’t feel all that different than the 405 through the Sepulveda Pass. Construction on 225 through Aurora took almost as long as the 5 past Disneyland, and the laws and policies coming out of the State House could easily be confused for those coming out of Sacramento.

Coloradans, especially conservative Coloradans, must remain vigilant, especially in an election year. Elections have consequences, usually pretty dire ones, as Californians have learned. So we must safeguard by remaining informed, involved, and committed to supporting and electing those committed to limited government, fiscal responsibility, and put reality before ideology. Because if not, I’ll have to begrudgingly leave another blessed and beautiful state, and many of you will have to flee with me. But one day, there may no longer be anywhere left to flee.

– Publius

Pro deo, pro familia, pro patria


“Publius” is the pseudonym of a husband, father, patriot, and son of The Most High. He previously taught American history and theology, worked at the Reagan Ranch Center, served in combat with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan, and currently works in law enforcement in the Denver area. He is a regular contributor to News/ Talk 710AM KNUS and writes weekly on politics and culture. You can follow Publius on TwitterFacebook, or reach him via email at publiussays4@gmail.com.