Sunday, February 22, 2009

LA Times: 20% of Los Angeles County Receive Public Aid

One in five Los Angeles County residents -- nearly 2.2 million people -- are receiving public assistance payments or benefits, a level county officials say will rise significantly over the coming months as the fallout from the recession continues. [Source]

In case anyone thought the economy was going to turn around soon, consider the jarring fact that one in five in Los Angeles County is receiving public assistance. By current measures, this recession is already a lot worse than the recessions of earlier this decade and in the early nineties.

In the coming months, taxpaying Californians will be hit by increases in sales tax, increases in vehicle registration fees and other levies and cutbacks.

Local real estate is entering the "overshoot" phase of its decline because the economic foundation of the region is withering.

The fragile state of California has led to the inevitable hand-wringing and proclamation that the Golden State has reached its zenith, and like a mature industry, is in its decline.

From its agriculture, to its politics and budget woes, to its high unemployment rate, the State is portrayed as far from the land of dreams. (Except for Oscar Day!) The Wall Street Journal and USA Today ran stories this weekend about dystopian California -- home of foreclosures, bankrupt municipalities and high unemployment.

But we have a secret. The state has always thrived because of its innovation. In the shadows, in a garage in Van Nuys or Torrance, someone is crafting the 'next big thing.' Just like the Internet, we didn't know it was there until it arrived.

Dream a little dream, California.

Jamie Adner