We Are All Frogs Now

by Mr Juggles

Even discounting for the impact of global recession, the most populous state’s ills are unique and self-inflicted — and avoidable. In the last three decades, California expanded the public sector and regulation to Europe-like dimensions. Schools, state employees, health care, even dog kennels, benefited from largesse in flush times. Government workers got 16 official holidays, everyone else six. The state dabbled with universal health care and adopted strict environmental standards. In short, California went where our new president and Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco want America to go.

How California Became France, WSJ

California is the canary in the US coal mine and it’s likely too late for Johnny Debacle’s Debacle Plan for California. Instead of isolating abject failure by pushing it into the ocean, the intention now seems to be to replicate many epic fails that plague California and apply them to the rest of the country. What are the differences between the state of CA and the US? First, the US is a couple years behind the west coast’s expansion into liberal fantasy. Second, the US can borrow to finance its deficits while CA is tapped out and on the staring down at a true fiscal crisis that awaits them below.

Arnold and California have a firm grip one the ways of the world

Don’t fret, Dear Taxpayer. The US will catch up with California soon enough. And then, when inflation has picked up and our growth rate is structurally slower due to the expansion of government as a % of GDP, the increase in regulations on all businesses, and higher tax rates on individuals and corporations, our foreign lenders will finally pull the plug. We will look a lot like California does now, or more aptly, a lot like like a pre-op France.

There is a argent doublure here. France is a pretty good place to live, with only a few caveats. That you are wealthy, that you have connections throughout the ruling class, and most importantly, that you are not an immigrant. Oh and make sure you are white too, just so there’s no confusion. To be clear, there is no upwards mobility but that’s great when you are already on top! Furthermore, the French have amazing cheese, put on exquisite union strikes and were responsible for Man on Wire, one of the best documentaries I have ever seen.

Recommendation: Quickly accumulate a large fortune, if you haven’t already. Punitive tax rates, prevalence of government jobs, and a stagnant business climate will prevent upward mobility so it’s critical to start on top. Second, acquire a taste for fine cheeses and wine. Third, begin practicing your strike routine; this will be critical to maintaining your benefits. Fourth, be cautious that you are not slowly being boiled without realizing it.

Related Reseach:

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  1. Ted
    February 27th, 2009 | 2:18 pm

    I agree. I’d rather have an economy based on conservative principals so as to create prosperity (see: Alabama, Tennessee …)

    And I’m with you – I’d would rather live in America instead of France. In America, being born into wealth has no impact on future “success”. Most of the top 20% of income earners came from poverty, as well all know.

  2. February 27th, 2009 | 4:48 pm

    Nice use of sarcasm. Unfortunately, I did not say that being born into wealth has no impact on future success. That would be untrue.

    However, there is social mobility across generations in the US. To wit:
    “1. “Age-adjusted parental wealth, by itself, explains less than 10 percent of the variation in age-adjusted child wealth.”

    2. 20 percent of parents in the lowest quintile of the parent’s wealth distribution have children who end up in the top two quintiles of their generation. One-quarter of the parents in the highest wealth quintile end up with kids in the two lowest quintiles.”


  3. Paul
    February 27th, 2009 | 5:28 pm


    For point 2 in the reference material cited in your point 2 in comment number 2, I think the authors may have left out the adjustment for Idiocracy.


    for those scoring at home, Idiocracy

  4. Ted
    February 27th, 2009 | 5:33 pm

    If we are going to cherry-pick reports to prove our point, then my first choice will be the OECD’s study of Intergenerational Earnings Elasticity. Please direct your attention to the table at the top of pg 33.


    Yes you read it correctly – France has greater intergenerational earnings mobility than the AMEEEERIKA

  5. Size
    February 27th, 2009 | 7:23 pm

    Well of course it does, Ted. The quintiles are only about a buck wide in France. Even the french can stop shagging their mistresses long enough to put forth the effort to clear that bar. That’s the beauty of “income equality”! Mobility is a snap. Of course, moving from the bottom quintile to the top quintile just means that you finally have enough disposable income to start saving up for an air-conditioner…

  6. Ted
    February 27th, 2009 | 9:06 pm

    I won’t argue with that. I hear they don’t have cell phones over there

  7. samhill
    February 28th, 2009 | 6:19 am

    sweet, portuguese maids for everyone!

  8. February 28th, 2009 | 12:55 pm


    For serious though, I’m going to start a new private corporation country on some Caribbean island, who’s with me?

  9. March 2nd, 2009 | 10:59 am

    Well, the authors I cited report that they found serious issues with the standard studies of intergenerational mobility in terms of methodology and data sparseness.

    Based on my time in and knowledge of the US, London (a place overrun with frogs trying to make their way outside their country), and France, I would still bet we have better total mobility in the US. Especially considering that there is a larger absolute difference between 1st and 5th quintiles in the US (as Size points out).

    This is one of those times I wish there were scientific experiments in macroecon. If only we could place 1,000 immigrants of the exact same background distribution in each country and see whose children had more mobility!

  10. Size
    March 4th, 2009 | 10:30 am

    Ted Ted Ted…..

    The ALL have cell phones over there (it’s the landlines that suck so bad cell phone penetration occurred at an astonishing rate). But, you’ll be bathing in cold water when the central water heating station in your Paris ‘hood goes down for maintenance. That used to happen to me when I lived in Moscow too. I think it still does.

  11. Size
    March 4th, 2009 | 10:36 am


    I’m with you. Who is John Galt?