New York Times op-ed: Is California a Good Role Model?, by Thomas B. Edsall:
Conservatives argue that California’s liberal politics have failed. They point out that by one key measure the state now has the highest poverty rate in the nation and they argue that its liberal minimum wage and restrictive housing codes have more than a hundred thousand people homeless, more than a million unemployed and millions more stuck on the bottom rungs of the socioeconomic ladder.
Liberals see a dynamic California where wealth generated by Hollywood and an immigrant-rich high tech industry, in concert with a top university system, has fueled a politically dominant Democratic coalition of Hispanics, Asians, blacks and whites steadily moving millions of people up from where they started.
“This is a topsy-turvy debate,” Jonathan Rodden, a political scientist at Stanford, told me by email. “The left celebrates California’s rapid growth while turning a blind eye to its inequality. The right decries poverty and inequality while discounting rapid economic growth.”
The dispute raises three basic questions.
Does multicultural California, firmly under the political control of the Democratic Party, a state that taxes and spends at higher rates than most of the country, represent the future of the nation? ...
Can the contemporary Democratic Party in California fairly address the divergent interests of an exceptionally affluent high-tech elite and a diverse population that is 39.1 percent Hispanic, 37.2 percent white, 15.2 percent Asian and 6.5 percent African-American? ...
Are the huge disparities in income, education, housing and wealth inevitable in a state that is simultaneously home to hugely profitable high-skill industries and a surging minority population, many of them low-skilled immigrants?
Conservatives, especially in essays published in the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, have led the charge, but some of this criticism also comes from the left and center.