Rich Tucker

            So are your children still playing with the toys you gave them for Christmas? Or have they already set them aside and moved on to something newer and better?

No doubt you went to great lengths to pick up the greatest gifts for everyone on your list. Maybe you opted for a nice Care Bear or some Beanie Babies. A Tickle Me Elmo, or a Barney Talking Doll. Or maybe something high-tech, such as a Nintendo GameBoy or a Tamagotchi.

            What do these gifts have in common? Well, each represented the hottest gift on the planet at one time. Parents once lined up to buy these dolls and toys, and children clamored for them on Christmas morn. Yet now, within living memory, they’re museum pieces and the world has moved on to its iPads and eReaders.

            There are several lessons here.

            First, humans tend to want the next great thing. And this is especially true of Americans. Our ancestors pressed relentlessly westward, always believing there was a better life just beyond the horizon. After they finished crossing North America, millions found that better life in California. For most of a century the Golden State was the center of innovation and creativity in America, giving us Hollywood, income tax reform and Ronald Reagan, among other things. The saying, “As goes California, so goes the nation” has long been correct.

            Of course, California spawned many bad ideas, too. The state is today hostage to public sector unions and suffers from crumbling infrastructure and failing schools. As William Voegeli wrote last year in City Journal, Californians are voting with their feet (and moving vans). “Between April 1, 2000, and June 30, 2007, an average of 3,247 more Americans moved out of California than into it every week, according to the Census Bureau,” Voegeli wrote.


Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for Townhall.com.