As U-Haul confirms, 2023 was the fourth consecutive year during which more Californians rented one-way trucks to leave California than residents of any other state. By the count of Los Angeles Times editor Paul Thornton, more than 800,000 Californians left the state last year, but their “reasons to leave don’t explain the impulse to insult California on the way out,” so people should leave “without verbally trashing the place.”

Those on the way out are not trashing “the place” with wonders such as Yosemite Valley, redwood forests, beautiful ocean beaches, and such. For Tom Garnett, who left his “beloved home state” of California for North Carolina, it was a matter of politicians pushing “costly progressive policies on climate change, homelessness and other programs, but with no clear measures of success.” Mr. Garnett has a point.

“The problem of homelessness has become intractable under status quo policies,” explains UCLA economics professor Lee Ohanian. “California has spent $20 billion on homelessness in the last five years, and during this period the number of unhoused persons has increased by nearly 40,000,” with a current total in the range of 172,000. State politicians must also confront, Ohanian says, “the many more thousands who will become homeless in the future because of their policies.”

“California’s status quo policies have given rise to what has become a perpetual problem,” Ohanian notes. “And those who created those policies show no willingness to change.” That also applies on the issue of crime.

The 2014 Proposition 47 “reduced a host of serious felonies to misdemeanors, including drug crimes, date rape, and all thefts under $950, even for repeat offenders who steal every day,” explains Katy Grimes of the California Globe. “The commensurate escalation of crime throughout California is stunning. And there is no coincidence that during this same time period, the exponential escalation of homeless vagrants and drug addicts on the streets occurred.”

That is a strange outcome for a measure titled “The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act” by then–state Attorney General Kamala Harris. The author of Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor’s Plan to Make Us Safer, Harris also gave the title “the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act” to 2016’s Proposition 57.

As Grimes notes, this measure “now allows nonviolent felons to qualify for early release, and parole boards can now only consider an inmate’s most recent charge, and not their entire history.” Under Proposition 57, Grimes explains, “non-violent” crimes include: “rape of an unconscious person or by intoxication,” “drive-by shooting at inhabited dwelling or vehicle,” “assault on a police officer,” “serial arson,” and others. To date, no state Democrat has “openly admitted” that these “are indeed violent crimes, and need to be reclassified back.”

At least 20,000 convicts, including convicted murderers, grabbed $140 million courtesy of more than $30 billion in unemployment fraud during the pandemic. That took place on the watch of Julie Su, head of California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA).

Su, Joe Biden’s pick for labor secretary, also supported Assembly Bill 5, a frontal assault on California’s independent workers. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the measure and, during the pandemic, went on a spending binge of his own.

In April of 2020, Gov. Newsom announced a $1 billion deal for masks with the Chinese company Build Your Dreams, which had no experience in protective equipment. The $1 billion tab was 30 percent more than the state budget for infectious diseases for the entire year. The governor concealed details even from fellow Democrats, and what, exactly, happened to this money remains unclear.

Newsom also locked down the healthy and shut down businesses and schools. On the other hand, the governor and his cronies felt free to dine sans masks at the upscale French Laundry.

Newsom’s draconian pandemic regime could easily motivate Californians to seek other states or countries. So could California’s status as a high-tax, high-regulation, and high-crime state with a homeless problem that, as Ohanian notes, seems to get worse “the more California spends.”

All told, Californians have many legitimate reasons to leave, and they should feel free to voice their complaints. They might say, “Last one out turn off the lights,” but that is already going on. “Rolling blackouts” have been common in recent years, and, during a 2022 heat wave, state officials asked Californians not to charge their electric vehicles.

For many, that could have been the last straw, and, as U-Haul confirms, the exodus continues apace. Failed progressive policies have fundamentally transformed California from a place where people want to live to a place people want to leave.