Separated at birth?

NYS and CA may be separated by a continent but otherwise appear to be joined at the hip.

The July/August 2012 issue of Imprimis has an article, Economic Lessons from American History, which includes this interesting story, under the heading "Governments Are Terrible Investors":

...History is littered with government investment disasters...consider the Erie Railway. In order to get political support for building the Erie Canal, Governor DeWitt Clinton promised the New York counties that bordered Pennsylvania (known as the “Southern Tier”) an “avenue” of their own once the canal was completed. The canal was an enormous success, but as such it affected the state’s politics. A group of politicians from along its pathway, the so-called Canal Ring, soon dominated state government. They were not keen on helping to build what would necessarily be competition.

A canal through the mountainous terrain of the Southern Tier was impossible, and by the 1830s, railroads were the hot new transportation technology. But only with the utmost effort did Southern Tier politicians induce the Legislature to grant a charter for a railroad to run from the Hudson River to Lake Erie through their counties. And the charter almost guaranteed economic failure: It required the railroad to run wholly within New York State. As a result, it could not have its eastern terminus in New Jersey, opposite New York City, but had to end instead in the town of Piermont, 20 miles to the north. It was also forbidden to run to Buffalo, where the Erie Canal entered Lake Erie, terminating instead in Dunkirk, a town 20 miles south. Thus it would run 483 miles between two towns of no importance and through sparsely settled lands in between—not unlike the current proposed California high-speed rail project, the first segment of which would run between Fresno and Bakersfield and cost $9 billion...
And why, you may ask, is CA repeating a historic NYS mistake?  Firstly, Governor Moonbeam probably doesn't know much NYS history, and you know what they say about the link between ignorance of history and doom.  But more importantly, there's this:
Both CA and NYS are in bad shape despite all the happy talk coming out of Albany and Sacramento. Why?  Taxes, regulations, and...union penetration.
Nationally, the percentage of workers who are members of a union is around 11% or so; in NYS, that figure hovers around 25%, while in CA, it's around 17%.
When you combine a high total tax burden (imposed by governement), onerous regulations (imposed by government), and union influence (on government), it isn't any wonder that businesses and productive individuals leave or choose not to establish themselves in NYS and CA—with the predictable result that those states are floundering financially.
And why is it that some people think that more government is the solution?


Union penetration in the private sector is now down to less than 7% nationally. In NY, Schenectady and Buffalo-Niagara Falls are among the five highest union penetration cities in the U.S. In the public sector union penetration is much higher in NY and CA and much lower in most of the "red states." Projects like the rail one in CA make for relatively few but highly paid jobs. The Obama and governor moonbeam administrations like funneling jobs to these unions because they support those administrations. The sad thing is that CA can't recognize that it simply cannot afford to embark on projects like this in their current financial situation. What probably saves NY from the same fate is that we have divided government with Republicans in control of the state senate.