The Failure of Progressivism Seen in Negative Migration From San Francisco and Other Liberal Strongholds

Image from @calhealthreport on Twitter


By Bob Shanahan


San Francisco’s homeless problem, drug epidemic, and lawlessness proves how liberal progressive politicians and big government fix to all problems only exacerbates existing issues.


The blue model has failed spectacularly in the liberal bastion of San Francisco. In one of the most beautiful cities in the world, residents and tourists alike are disgusted by what the city has become. Conventions, most recently a Chicago-based medical association, are deciding to not go to the city by the bay due to aggressive panhandlers, human waste on the street, used needles on city sidewalks, and drug use in broad daylight. More than $500 million less has been spent by conventions in San Francisco from 2014 to 2017. Furthermore, tourists are going there in steeply declining numbers because it is no longer a pleasant place to spend one’s precious vacation time.


This could only be the beginning of the trend of San Francisco losing business due to its Democrat politicians’ failure to run the city. More revenue will be lost in the years to come as we are already seeing a mass exodus of residents heading for more affordable and cleaner locales in other parts of California and the U.S.


A local NBC News article was brutal in its coverage of the convention cancellation, writing: “The amount of trash, feces, and used drug needles scattered throughout the city’s streets and sidewalks is making it harder to convince companies to return to San Francisco.”



Perhaps there could be a change in policy with a new mayor in town? Newly elected mayor, London Breed, recently voiced her opinion on destructive progressive policies allowing the homeless to use the city streets as their own personal toilet. But her solution to this shitty situation (pun intended) is laughable.


In an interview with NBC Bay Area, Breed did not deny the fact that her city is covered in fecal matter. She directly acknowledged it as a “huge problem” that she vows to clean up.


“I will say there is more feces on the sidewalks than I’ve ever seen growing up here,” Breed said.  “That is a huge problem and we are not just talking about from dogs — we’re talking about from humans.”


What’s her solution? She’s going ask the city’s 7,500+ vagrants to please stop pooping on the sidewalks and clean up after themselves. Good luck with that…


The situation in San Francisco has reached a boiling point and is starting to have disastrous financial effect for the city.


Businesses with San Francisco offices are already looking for alternatives nearby. The cost of living is simply too high for them to attract and retain employees from a sufficient talent pool. Skyrocketing housing prices stemming from Silicon Valley’s incessant growth and liberals making it impossible to build more housing in the region have resulted in nearly 50 percent of Bay Area residents stating they plan to move away in the next few years.


A recent example of a company deciding to ditch San Francisco was the California Public Utilities Commission, which has been based in the city since 1910. CPUC has roughly 800 employees at its San Francisco headquarters, but in early June, they announced they are hiring additional positions in the capital city of Sacramento, where it already has 100 workers in a downtown office. The average price for an apartment in Sacramento is well less than half of what it costs in San Francisco and home prices are roughly four times more in San Francisco.

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Terrie Prosper, director of outreach for the CPUC, said, “the cost of living is very high in San Francisco for many state workers. We are putting the best people in the best locations for the work they will be doing. Many of those positions will be based in Sacramento because of our close work with the Legislature and our sister agencies.”


Furthermore, Silicon Valley’s startup scene is starting to seep east to Sacramento. Approximately 24,000 people relocate to the capital city each year, according to the Greater Sacramento Economic Council. Tech startups are searching for alternatives to expensive office rents and $1+ million dollar home prices and are finding Sacramento fertile ground for further growth with its lower cost of living, less competition for business and employees, and a sizable and educated talent pool stemming from UC Davis and Sacramento State.



The Bay Area has become a region for the rich… and the homeless. The middle class has been hollowed out and nearly nonexistent as it has become an impossible place to live for thousands of families, with a $100,000 salary being insufficient to make ends meet in most cities around the bay. Middle class families can no longer afford to live there or have become appalled by what liberal politicians have done to their city as homeless encampments and empowered panhandlers and drug users are on seemingly every block in downtown San Francisco.


The median price of a Bay Area home hit $850,000 in April, according to CoreLogic, a $100,000 increase in one year. Sacramento home prices average in the low-$400,000s for new construction below $360,000 for resale homes. Bay Area residents looking to get out of town are therefore looking to Sacramento as one in four prospective buyers searching Sacramento home listings are current Bay Area residents, according to Redfin. The Bay Area migration is accelerating each month with house prices that continue to surpass record levels and many also move to lower taxed states like Nevada and Arizona.


The progressive city of San Francisco has taxed its residents to death, added an inordinate amount of regulations, instituted liberty-encroaching nanny-state authoritarian measures, and embraces lawlessness and disorder on its streets through sanctuary state policies and “compassion” toward the homeless. This blue model of governance has led to both the middle class and working class to move away in droves.


But San Francisco is far from the only city perpetrating these self-defeating policies. A new study of Census data from 2010 to 2017 by 24/7 Wall Street, highlighted in USA Today, found other liberal strongholds are similarly experiencing an outflow of residents. The top 10 biggest negative net migration cities in the U.S. from 2010 to 2017 include: Chicago (-296,320 people), Los Angeles (-93,959), Detroit (-54,640), St. Louis (-39,894), Cleveland (-33,117), Memphis (-30,000), Milwaukee (-27,959), Flint, Michigan (-22,658), El Paso, Texas (-21,829), and New York City (-21,503).


Each of those top cities that experienced more than 21,000 people move away in recent years have been governed almost exclusively by liberal and Democratic politicians since at least the 1960s. The problems these cities are suffering from are far from an accident, they are a result of the blue model of governance.


New residents are discouraged by surging violent crime, massive tax hikes or insolvent public pensions. This has been the case in liberal-run cities and states for some time. The latest U.S. Migration Report from North American Moving Services found that Illinois was the state that lost the most residents in 2017. Domestic migration patterns continue to reveal a trend of Americans moving out of high tax liberal enclaves and into conservative low tax havens. People are fleeing the indebted liberal states in America in record numbers, with Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey, and California ranking at the top in negative net migration in 2017. New England and California residents are flocking to cheaper and lower taxed states in the Southeast and West, like Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

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Image from North American Moving Services


The middle class has had enough of liberals trying to implement their unobtainable utopia where “no human being is illegal,” “everyone has a right to earn a living,” “the rich have to pay more”, and “the homeless are simply down on their luck and need a helping hand from the government.” The hard-working people making around or less than the median income in these liberal cities across America are leaving because they are sick of urban decay, increasing homelessness, unsustainable welfare and poverty programs, business relocations due to pervasive anti-business climate, horrid public schools, unaffordable housing prices, out of control crime, and a political class that prioritizes illegal aliens over American citizens and puts equality for all instead of creating opportunities for all to succeed.


Nevertheless, Democrats continue to double down on ineffective policies like high taxes, higher spending, and onerous regulation, no matter the results. Will the loss of population finally be a wake up call? Doubt it…


Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox, both urban researchers, found last year, “In 2016 alone, states that supported Donald Trump gained 400,000 domestic migrants from states that supported Hillary Clinton. This came on top of an existing advantage in net domestic red state migration of 1.45 million people from 2010 through 2015.” Americans are voting with their feet. The Democratic Party is in trouble. They already suffer from the smallest amount of power they’ve had in the U.S. in decades, but they double down on disastrous policies in their cities and states while attacking President Trump for putting America first and foremost and putting more money in the pockets of hard-working Americans.


Kotkin and Cox point to the Bay Area as ground zero for loony liberalism: “In the San Francisco Bay Area, techies are increasingly looking for jobs outside the region, and some companies are offering cash bonuses for those willing to leave. A recent poll indicated that 46% of millennials want to leave the Bay Area. Meanwhile, these ‘best and brightest’ have been gravitating to lower cost areas such as Austin, Orlando, Houston, Nashville, and Charlotte.” In addition, many Millennials are moving to Sacramento, a city on the rise that has become cool enough for more than 6,800 young Americans to pour into the city in 2016, making it third in the nation in net Millennial migration behind only Seattle, Washington and Columbia, South Carolina.


The States Where Millennials Are Moving

Image courtesy of SmartAsset


These urban dwellers in blue cities and states are moving to smaller cities in red states. Believe me, this demographic shift will make a blue wave in 2018 and 2020 even less likely as it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Big cities led by liberal politicians losing residents is a sign that Americans have finally had enough of big government and sanctuary cities, providing hope to Republicans looking to strengthen their current grip on power in Washington DC.


Follow me @BobShanahanMan


Bob is a freelance journalist and researcher. He remains forever skeptical of the mainstream media narrative and dedicated to uncovering the truth. Bob writes about politics (in DC and CA), economics, cultural trends, public policy, media, history, real estate, Trump Derangement Syndrome, and geopolitics. Bob grew up in Northern California, went to college in Southern California, and lived 4+ years in Seattle. He now lives in sunny Sacramento. His writing also appears in Investment Watch Blog and has been posted on ZeroHedge and Signs of the Times.



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