The Envy of Peter Robinson

I am well aware that envy is one of the deadly sins. I am also aware that those who reside in the land of my birth — California — pay a heckuva price for it in terms of insane regulation and even more insane politics. There my sympathies end. In New Jerseystan, where I live, we have more or less the same problems California does scaled down for our population, and of course we have a better governor.

Here’s one difference. On Sunday night I had dinner with the Robinsons at their home on the Stanford campus. The beautiful Mrs. Robinson asked me if I should like lemon with my sparkling water. When I answered in the affirmative, she sent her son out to their garden in the back to pick one from their tree. 

Generally I am not a man who covets my neighbor’s anything. That lemon tree, however, really did it.

Yes, it’s just an anecdote. You wonder, tho: all this talk about California’s collapse, how bad can it really be? It doesn’t look bad, and I’ve been driving all over the state the last few days. Granted I do not see the difficulty a business has in dealing with some crazy environmental restriction, and I’ve been mostly along the coast, the more prosperous parts. And I don’t want to be George Bernard Shaw in the Ukraine, suggesting there could be no famine because he was certainly well fed.

Still, there’s nothing about what you see that suggests a place facing truly dire straits, unlike, say, Michigan or even New York which can look very run down, especially in its infrastructure. How can this be — the huge gap between what the numbers tell us and with the very pleasant appearance?