CA-style feudalization is going national

March 16, 2013

By Chris Reed

200px-JohnSteinbeck_TheGrapesOfWrathThe feudalization of California that Joel Kotkin has written about so smartly for years just keeps accelerating. Wealthy coastal professionals and public employees with deep job security and high pay simply don’t care that the high cost of housing and the lack of decent-paying private-sector jobs are driving away middle- and low-income individuals and families by the hundreds of thousands.

Allysia Finley recently wrote about this phenomenon for the Wall Street Journal in a piece headlined “The Reverse Joads of California”:

“During the Great Depression, some 1.3 million Americans — epitomized by the Joad family in John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ — flocked to California from the heartland. To keep out the so-called Okies, the state enacted a law barring indigent migrants (the law was later declared unconstitutional). Los Angeles even set up a border patrol on the city limits. Soon the state may need to build a fence to keep latter-day Joads from leaving.”

Now historian Walter Russell Mead is detailing how this progressive contempt for the less affluent is combining with the brown energy boom in red states to change basic population patterns in the U.S.:

“The US Census Bureau reports that the Great Plains and Texas are experiencing the country’s most rapid population growth. Thanks to the energy boom, strong hiring growth, rising home prices, and other factors, the Northeast and Midwest are bleeding domestic migrants bound for cities like Austin, Orlando, Phoenix, Denver, and Raleigh.”

One in 25 Americans moved to a different county in 2011, the highest figure in several years. It likely would have been far higher had not so many families been rendered immobile by being underwater on their mortgages.

Social justice = protecting public employees, causes of rich liberals

We’re accustomed to California leading the nation and the world, but the growing feudalization in blue states is a perverse example. It underscores a point that can’t be made enough: The party that supposedly cares about social justice instead often uses minorities as props to protect and advance the interests of its affluent liberal professional elites and its secure, well-paid public employees.

That’s bad enough. What’s appalling is how — at least in California — many elected Latinos don’t mind being props for the most powerful Democratic special interests.

The epitome of this phenomenon: Assembly Speaker John Perez. The Los Angeles Democrat’s primary role? Being the enforcer of a diseased education status quo that values teachers infinitely more than students, especially struggling minorities.

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