California: Only Acceleration can fix this mess

Picture 20
Gratuitous bioluminescent jellyfish

Observation: Over time, legal systems tend to build up, bit by bit, until they become unworkable messes that hinder the creation and acquisition of basic necessities like jobs, housing, or justice. This is because it is easier to pass new laws than to repeal old laws; because there are always interest groups in favor of passing some new regulation in their favor, but rarely groups in favor of repealing them; and because it is generally difficult to look back over the many laws passed over many years to deal with changing conditions and think up and pass a better, more efficient law that unifies all of the things the previous laws were trying to address into one coherent package.

In other words, the second law of thermodynamics.

The middle class is now leaving CA at high rates because they can’t afford it, due primarily to housing costs, which are in turn driven by building/environmental regulations, rental regulations, and tax laws.

Notably, California has some laws that affect taxes on housing that only make one’s tax rate go up when a home is sold, so people who’ve lived in their homes for a long time pay much lower real estate taxes than people who recently bought homes, which makes people who’ve lived in their homes for a long time much less willing to sell and move to a new home because they don’t want a big jump in taxes, which keeps a lot of the housing stock off the market and means that young people trying to buy their first homes are paying a hugely disproportionate amount of the real estate taxes.

This wouldn’t be such a huge deal if Californian could just build more houses, but with so many regulations, that’s difficult, and on top of all that, California is one of the top destinations for newcomers to the US, who also want to live in houses and so are also competing for the limited stock.

So young middle class folks increasingly find that they simply cannot afford to live in California and are leaving.

This is migration driven entirely by artificial scarcity created through bad policies, since (other than maybe water) CA is resource-rich, land rich, and has great weather.

Since it is easier to add more laws on top of old than to repeal, there is very little hope of fixing things through legal reform. Laws exist in part because someone wants them or benefits from them, after all, and the system will keep limping along for as long as it can.

The other option, acceleration, is to simply speed up the process so the system breaks sooner rather than later, forcing people to deal with it rather than punt the problems to the next generation.

5 thoughts on “California: Only Acceleration can fix this mess

  1. A comedian Adam Carolla used to do construction work before he made it on TV would get furious when you talked about regulations. He said he would pay, I think, around $40,000 in tests and regulations to put in a swimming pool but any illegal alien could bash together a a food cart and place it anywhere on the road he wanted or live packed in a garage and they would do nothing.

    I saw a documentary about people who live in the high desert outside of LA. I mean there is miles and miles of nothing. The inspection department was coming out and fining people for all kinds of stuff. You could tell by what they were doing, I mean fining people whose nearest neighbor is several miles away, they were driving them off the land. The goal must have been to drive them out so developers could get the land cheap or some sort of deal like that. One guy built a perfectly fine house from used telephone poles and they made him tear it down. Yet if you are an alien or immigrant you can do what you damn well please.

    The US has become seriously crooked.

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