California has extraordinary assets: enviable weather and beauty; an excellent higher education system; an unparalleled innovation ecosystem; the world’s most productive agriculture; leadership in the entertainment industry; enormous aggregate wealth, aking us the 4th largest economy in the world. And yet…
Despite our remarkable blessings, California has enormous challenges:
- The highest cost of living in the Continental U.S.
- A diminishing middle class, down from 62% in the sixties to 48% today
- The highest rate of cost-adjusted poverty in the U.S.
- One third of all U.S. welfare recipients
- Half of all unsheltered homeless in the U.S.
- Higher level of income inequality than all but 5 states
- Huge geographic disparities, with median household income in some regions at only one third of the more affluent regions
- Ranked 49th in homeownership
- K-12 system ranked 40th (D+ grade)
- Last in literacy in the U.S.
- Once highly-rated infrastructure now ranked 31st
And we have problems that have remained intractable for too long:
- An unreliable supply of water
- An unreliable and unaffordable supply of energy
- Perennial out-of-control forest fires
- Persistent ranking as the most unfriendly state in which to do business
- A fragmented political environment unable to address root causes
It should not be surprising that a growing number of Californians and California businesses are leaving the state. Polls show most Californians believe the American Dream can best be achieved outside of California. The California Dream is on life support. it’s time to take notice and do something about it. We need transformative solutions. Tinkering at the margins is no longer acceptable.