The prolonged recession in Idaho is finally starting to cause some people to ponder the fate of the state, though not yet in the public sector. Rest assured, though, the day of reckoning is coming for those folks too.
You probably saw the Statesman’s business panel making predictions about what they think will bring some financial security to Idaho. If you missed it, here’s the short exchange between economist John Church, Lorana Quintero from Idaho Pizza, and Clay Young from Innovus Solar:
What do you think are the implications for Idaho’s economy of having students who do not have this global view?
Our growth in Idaho is very bright, and one reason I think it is going to be very bright in the future is California, not because of how good California is, but how messed up California is. Fiscally, the handwriting is on the wall: Something is going to have to be done, and it is not going to be painless for business and people in California. What are they going to do? They are going to leave. If we just catch a trickle of that, Idaho is going to do very well.
Do all of you share John’s scenario for California?
Quintero: I think so. Ask anybody where they are from, (and they say) California.
Church: We should be mining.
Young: I would agree with that.
These are the impotent cries of our leaders: wait for California to fail, and we will win.
Even if California with all its human capital cannot figure out its budget situation – what makes these people think that: 1) Idaho is the best choice for all of California’s businesses to relocate, and 2) that Idaho’s elected officials will manage our resources here any better than California?
And that is only one argument. For God’s sake California is the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world. It offers unprecedented access to domestic markets as well as Asian markets. It has a university system that is tops in the world – and Berkeley is the top research university in the country. California has 350 sunny days a year, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, the home of the west coast banking and finance establishment in San Francisco, the military industrial complex, and on and on and on. Stating that California is going out of business anytime soon, and that Idaho is a likely beneficiary of any financial malaise there can’t be taken seriously.
BVEP and plenty of local leaders want you to believe that economic salvation is as easy as saving your own soul – but it aint. At some point, our leaders need to invest in something – ANYTHING. Roads, education, infrastructure – SOMETHING. Idaho’s immediate problem is that it cannot compete with the well run Utah, or Colorado which has a structural budget SURPLUS. Until we can be top dog regionally at SOMETHING, Idaho with its low cost of living and little else will continue to succeed at luring California’s low-skilled, unemployed hard cases, and nothing more.