California not only has wasted taxpayers money over a 23 year time period but now has the highest poverty rate in the country.
City Journal published a detail economic study in regards to California and welfare spending. In fact, a prediction by an economist in 1971 saw this coming.
The full report is here.
It’s not as if California policymakers have neglected to wage war on poverty. Sacramento and local governments have spent massive amounts in the cause, for decades now. Myriad state and municipal benefit programs overlap with one another; in some cases, individuals with incomes 200 percent above the poverty line receive benefits, according to the California Policy Center. California state and local governments spent nearly $958 billion from 1992 through 2015 on public welfare programs, including cash-assistance payments, vendor payments, and “other public welfare,” according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Unfortunately, California, with 12 percent of the American population, is home today to roughly one in three of the nation’s welfare recipients. The generous spending, then, has not only failed to decrease poverty; it actually seems to have made it worse.
Self-interest in the social-services community may be at work here. If California’s poverty rate should ever be substantially reduced by getting the typical welfare client back into the workforce, many bureaucrats could lose their jobs. As economist William A. Niskanen explained back in 1971, public agencies seek to maximize their budgets, through which they acquire increased power, status, comfort, and job security. In order to keep growing its budget, and hence its power, a welfare bureaucracy has an incentive to expand its “customer” base—to ensure that the welfare rolls remain full and, ideally, growing. With 883,000 full-time-equivalent state and local employees in 2014, according to Governing, California has an enormous bureaucracy—a unionized, public-sector workforce that exercises tremendous power through voting and lobbying. Many work in social services.
Governing, California has an enormous bureaucracy—a unionized, public-sector workforce that exercises tremendous power through voting and lobbying. Many work in social services.