Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2013 – 7:14 am

The California Legislature rarely – if ever – concerns itself with long-range, big-picture social and economic trends and their relationship to current decision-making.

Likewise, legislators rarely – if ever – expose themselves to inputs about those trends that don’t match their ideological predilections.

On Monday, however, members of the state Senate heard a cogent synopsis of California’s demographic and economic present and its likely future that they should take to heart.

Simply put, California Lutheran University economist Bill Watkins told the Senate, California’s once-vigorous population growth has slowed to a crawl, the state’s population is likely to begin dropping in the next couple of decades due to out-migration and a dropping birthrate, and it’s mostly losing middle-class families “because of a lack of opportunity.”

“We’re losing the economic heart of our state,” Watkins told the Senate from its podium in one of a series of lectures arranged by its leaders.

The result, Watkins continued, could be a state of mostly rich and poor residents in which “there is no middle class.”

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