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Californication

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On the four sections of the 2009 federal National Assessment of Educational Progress tests (4th and 8th grade Reading and Math), non-Hispanic white public school students in Texas rank an average of 7th in the country, while their non-Hispanic white equivalents in California rank an average of 32nd.

That’s a big difference between the two most populous states in the country.

What are the reasons?

P.S., Your Lying Eyes has a good post, Achievement Gap Grows with Achievement, on how the white-black gaps within states tend to get larger the higher the white scores. Thus, New Jersey has the highest white reading score and the largest white-black gap.

Two states that stand out are Wisconsin, where blacks just do badly without whites doing particularly well, and Texas, where, at least on math, whites score well but the white-black is only middling due to blacks doing relatively well. (Hispanics also score well on math in Texas. Does Texas just bribe kids into trying really hard on the NAEP, or are they actually doing something right with teaching math in Texas?)

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: Californication, Education 
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Ross Douthat follows up my old California v. Texas theme in the NY Times.

The key point that he leaves unsaid is that you can afford a huge Hispanic population a lot more easily in a conservative state than in a liberal one. But, can you stay a conservative state once you have a huge number of Hispanic voters?

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: Californication 
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The Economist has an editorial comparing California and Texas combining its usual unthinking prejudices with some actual insights (likely drawn from my stuff).

It’s not surprising that a lot of the politicians most responsible for the Minority Mortgage Meltdown in California — such as George W. Bush, Karl Rove, and Clinton’s HUD Secretary (and later Countrywide director and frontman on its trillion dollar pledge of lending to the “underserved”) Henry Cisneros — are Texans. Their policies weren’t incredibly harmful in Texas, which they understood fairly well, but were in California, which they didn’t.

Do keep in mind that California was much more impacted by immigration over the last generation than Texas: in the 2000 Census, 26% of California’s residents were foreign-born versus only 14% of Texas’s.

AMERICA’S recent history has been a relentless tilt to the West—of people, ideas, commerce and even political power. California and Texas, the nation’s two biggest states, are the twin poles of the West, but very different ones. For most of the 20th century the home of Silicon Valley and Hollywood has been the brainier, sexier, trendier of the two: its suburbs and freeways, its fads and foibles, its marvellous miscegenation have spread around the world. Texas, once a part of the Confederacy, has trailed behind: its cliché has been a conservative Christian in cowboy boots, much like a certain recent president. But twins can change places. Is that happening now?

It is easy to find evidence that California is in a funk (see article). At the start of this month the once golden state started paying creditors, including those owed tax refunds, business suppliers and students expecting grants, in IOUs. …

Plenty of American states have budget crises; but California’s illustrate two more structural worries about the state. Back in its golden age in the 1950s and 1960s, it offered middle-class people, not just techy high-fliers, a shot at the American dream—complete with superb schools and universities, and an enviable physical infrastructure. These days California’s unemployment rate is running at 11.5%, two points ahead of the national average. In such Californian cities as Fresno, Merced and El Centro, jobless rates are higher than in Detroit. Its roads and schools are crumbling. Every year, over 100,000 more Americans leave the state than enter it.

… Not that Californian government comes cheap: it has the second-highest top level of state income tax in America (after Hawaii, of all places).

Why is it surprising that the state with the nicest climate and the state with the second nicest climate have the highest and second highest state income taxes? California’s income taxes are intended to exploit people willing to pay heavily to live in California. For example, golfer Freddie Couples lives in Santa Barbara because he can afford to live anywhere. In contrast, a skinflint like Tiger Woods officially moved from his native California to income-tax free Florida on the day he turned pro in 1996 to evade the California income tax.

Indeed, high taxes, coupled with intrusive regulation of business and greenery taken to silly extremes, have gradually strangled what was once America’s most dynamic state economy. Chief Executive magazine, to take just one example, has ranked California the very worst state to do business in for each of the past four years.

By contrast, Texas was the best state in that poll. It has coped well with the recession, with an unemployment rate two points below the national average and one of the lowest rates of housing repossession. In part this is because Texan banks, hard hit in the last property bust, did not overexpand this time. But as our special report this week explains, Texas also clearly offers a different model, based on small government. It has no state capital-gains or income tax, and a business-friendly and immigrant-tolerant attitude.

… And as happens to fashionable places, some erstwhile weaknesses now seem strengths (flat, ugly countryside makes it easier for Dallas-Fort Worth to expand than mountain-and-sea-locked LA …

That’s connection between topography, home prices, and politics is straight out of my stuff.

Texas also gets on better with Mexico than California does.

Let’s unpack that “immigrant-tolerant” idea a bit. California is clearly more liberal than Texas, so ideologically Californians are supposed to be more “pro-diversity,” but that works out as true mostly in theory and in public pronouncements. As I’ve long pointed out, elite Californians feel very little cultural connection to their Latino servitors. California’s elites find nothing more boring than Mexicans. In contrast, Texas has a more rough-hewn culture, including at the elite level, so Texans tend to feel more in common culturally with immigrants from culturally-backward Mexico.

Also, there are some old elite Mexican-American families in San Antonio who fled the Mexican Revolution of a century ago who are part of the Texas Establishment. In California, there aren’t any elite old money Mexican-American families that I can think of. (There are WASP families in Pasadena who have one or two land grant Californio grandees in their family trees — enterprising Bostonians and New Yorkers were already taking over California by marrying the daughters of rich landowners before the U.S. military made it official — but that’s about it.)

And, it’s not uncommon for rich Mexicans from Monterrey to visit Houston for shopping and surgery, although they are most likely to move to Miami. In contrast, rich Mexicans avoid Los Angeles like a plaguespot — too many poor Mexicans here, I guess.

In general, Texas and northeastern Mexico, the most advanced part of Mexico, aren’t particularly divided by topography, so there are more business contacts, whereas California is separated from the bulk of the Mexican population by an unpopulated desert in northwestern Mexico.

So, the political dynasties of Mexico and Texas, such as the Salinases and the Bushes, are quite friendly with each other, while Mexican political corruption in California is largely home-brewed.

American conservatives have seized on this reversal of fortune: Arthur Laffer, a Reaganite economist, hails the Texan model over the Gipper’s now hopelessly leftish home. Despite all this, it still seems too early to cede America’s future to the Lone Star state. To begin with, that lean Texan model has its own problems. It has not invested enough in education, and many experts rightly worry about a “lost generation” of mostly Hispanic Texans with insufficient skills for the demands of the knowledge economy.

Actually, Hispanic Texans do much better on the National Assessment of Educational Proficiency exams than California Hispanics: 26% of Texas Hispanics score Proficient or Advanced on 8th Grade Math versus 11% of California Hispanics.

In general, Mexican-Americans appear to thrive more in a cultural and economically conservative Republican state. Liberal policies, in contrast, works best in a high IQ / highly cooperative state with few NAMs, such as Minnesota.

Now immigration is likely to reconvert Texas from Republican red to Democratic blue; Latinos may justly demand a bigger, more “Californian” state to e
ducate them and provide them with decent health care. But Texas could then end up with the same over-empowered public-sector unions who have helped wreck government in California.

The problem is that, as traditional tax-and-spend voters, Mexicans subvert conservative politics in a state, both adding Democratic voters and driving out Republican voters. Thus, California, which voted GOP in 9 of 10 Presidential elections from 1952 through 1988 has voted Democratic five elections in a row. Over 90% of Hispanic elected officials are Democrats.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: Californication 
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In VDARE.com, I propose a compromise on racial quotas at the end of my new article. Here’s part of the beginning:

The most publicized frontline in the fight over the ethnic spoils system (a.k.a., affirmative action, diversity, or multiculturalism) has long been freshman admissions to the University of California. Sunday’s New York Times Magazine article — The New Affirmative Action by David Leonhardt — praising the (illegal) push to get more minorities into UCLA is only the latest example.

Heck, I’ve written about this issue more times than I care to remember. …

Why has fighting over who gets a cheap but prestigious college education been so intense in California? It’s worth considering in detail because the Golden State is where America’s future gets test-driven. The rest of the country can look forward to similar developments soon.

By 1965, the state of California had built for its best high school graduates eight lovely campuses (most in famously desirable locations such as Santa Barbara and La Jolla), or one for every 2.2 million residents. Since then, however, 20 million more people have crowded into California—but the state has added only one additional UC school, in not-so-lovely Merced in the Central Valley.

California’s population growth and its worsening inability to add the infrastructure that the new residents need—whether campuses, freeways, or power plants—are intimately related.



First, more people mean higher land prices. So paying for needed property is more expensive than back in the early 1960s.




Second, the Not-In-My-Back-Yard movement inevitably gathers political strength as the number of backyards increases.

California has passed famously stringent environmental laws as homeowners try to prevent new developments from overcrowding them. The construction of UC Merced turned into a 17-year-long ordeal stretching from 1988 to the first day of classes in 2005, with the whole campus having to be moved to protect a half-inch long crustacean.



Third, California’s population became much more diverse. And ethnic diversity means more divisive squabbling over handouts and Tammany Hall-style corruption.

Considering that minorities already make up two-thirds of freshmen at UCLA, you might think the topic of today’s NYT essay is moot by this point. That UCLA is enormously diverse, yet still wracked by complaints that it lacks diversity, shows that “diversity” isn’t really the issue. Instead, ethnic activists just want to pack more members of their races into each college to display their raw political muscle. Whether this is in the interests of the general public or even of the minority students themselves is irrelevant.

Affirmative action is much like its campus counterpart: football recruiting. They’re both close to a zero sum game. UCLA’s football team, for example, has scored a coup in getting a letter of commitment from Birmingham High School’s star running back Milton Knox. This allows UCLA fans to thump their chests and gesticulate with contempt at Berkeley’s fans. But, ultimately, so what? Similarly, Berkeley annually flies up from Los Angeles 500 black and Hispanic high school students, primarily to keep them from going to UCLA, Berkeley’s UC sister school.

The vast amount of time and money expended on recruiting high school football players doesn’t create much new talent; it just redistributes it among colleges. And the same is true for affirmative action. [More]

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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As I’ve pointed out before, the priority of new immigration legislation should be to stop the situation from getting worse. But the media and the Kennedy-Bush Axis of Amnesty assumes the most crucial issue is”doing something” about the illegal immigrants currently here. Specifically, we must “bring them out of the shadows,” as the cliche goes.

Why?

Can anybody document what bringing 2.7 million illegal immigrants out of the shadows into legality accomplished in 1986?

These amnestied illegals were preponderantly living in California, so we can look at California‘s experience. Did amnesty:

- Help California’s standard of living? Well, from the standpoint of becoming a homeowner, California‘s combination of high cost of living and low median income now offers the second worst standard of living of any state in America, better than only isolated Hawaii.

- Improve California‘s schools? California, home to Silicon Valley, now battles states like Arkansas and South Carolina for the runner-up position at the bottom of the NAEP scores.

- Persuade the amnestied illegals’ kids to stop spraypainting their tags all over every vertical surface in LA? Ever since Villaraigosa got elected mayor in 2005, the city has been swamped by gang graffiti.

- Stop more illegal aliens from coming to California? Yeah, right …

So, why does Axis keep trying to yank our chains about the benefits of amnesty when it failed so spectacularly in the biggest state in the country?

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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The Senate Horrorshow Bill: The Axis of Amnesty’s revival of the Senate immigration bill has inspired a lot of zombie, vampire, mummy, and Frankenstein references, but I think I like best Dennis Dale’s citation of the climax of The Eagles’ song “Hotel California:”

They stab it with their steely knives
But they just can’t kill the beast

Hotel California … hmmhmm, that’s not a bad metaphor for what the Axis wants the American nation to turn into …

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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