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It’s Hard to Screw Up California — But We Try Our Best

Victor Davis Hanson
Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

There is a sort of upbeat NY Times article arguing that California — in part, thanks to passing the highest sales and income taxes in the nation — might be coming back, a sort of recovery that can guide the rest of the U.S. to a renewed faith in the Obama/EU/blue state way. I can also […]

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California: The Road Warrior Is Here

Victor Davis Hanson
Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Crossposted on PJMedia Where’s Mel Gibson When You Need Him? George Miller’s 1981 post-apocalyptic film The Road Warrior envisioned an impoverished world of the future. Tribal groups fought over what remained of a destroyed Western world of law, technology, and mass production. Survival went to the fittest — or at least those who could best scrounge together […]

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Can California Be Fixed?

Victor Davis Hanson
Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Crossposted on National Review Online Recently, I was driving down pot-holed, two-lane, non-freeway 101 near Monterey (unchanged since the 1960s) when the radio blared that on a recent science test administered to public schools, California scored 47th in the nation. As I looked at the congested traffic on the decrepit highway and digested the idea […]

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California’s Water Wars

Victor Davis Hanson
Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Cross-posted at CityJournal.

California’s water wars aren’t about scarcity. Even with 37 million people and the nation’s most irrigation-intensive agriculture, the state usually has enough water for both people and crops, thanks to the brilliant hydrological engineering of past generations of Californians. But now there is a new element in the century-old water calculus: a demand that the state’s inland waters flow as pristinely as they supposedly did before the age of dams, reservoirs, and canals. Only that way can California’s rivers, descending from their mountain origins, reach the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta year-round. Only that way, environmentalists say, can a three-inch delta fish be saved and salmon runs from the Pacific to the interior restored.

Such green dreams are not new to California politics. But their consequences, in this case, have been particularly dire: rich farmland idled, workers laid off, and massive tax revenues forfeited. Worse still, they coincide with a $25 billion annual state deficit, an overtaxed and fleeing elite populace, unsustainable pension obligations for public employees, a growing population of illegal aliens—and a world food shortage. This insolvent state is in far too much trouble to predicate its agricultural future on fish.

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