I have been visiting California for the past few weeks to deal with a family health issue. While I have lived all over the country and the world, if there was one place I thought of home for most of my life it was California. I went to high school and college there, and grew up listening to the Beach Boys. It is a magnificent piece of real estate, perhaps the best in the world, one with unequaled vistas, certainly the best weather anywhere, a colorful, engaging history, and, once, an exhilarating sense of freedom and of anything being possible. California revolutionized the modern world with its TV and movies, electronic innovations, including computers, and a stunning range of scientific discoveries and engineering marvels.
For many people, California and the United States were and are interchangeable. And that, my friends, is where I begin today's sad story.
The government as well as the once-powerful economy of California have gone into a death spiral. Tax revenues have fallen well short of what state authorities expected, and what they need to ensure survival of that government's current configuration. The solution offered? The same one these officials always seem to produce: more taxes. Since the good people of California have put back into the Governor's mansion the disastrous Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown, one of the past architects of the current administrative structure, none should be surprised by his "solutions." Instead of cutting the size and scope of government, the Governor proposes placing an even larger burden on California's shrinking tax base, including yet another hike in general sales taxes and a big boost in income taxes for the "rich," defined as those making $250,000/year. As noted, tax revenues are down and in decline, while migration from California is up and rising: more people leave than arrive. Contrary, therefore, to the state's arrogant attitude, and the Eagles' song, you can leave Hotel California. That is what is happening. Wealth producing businesses and individual taxpayers are leaving in record numbers, chased out by stifling regulations and ever higher taxes. The middle class is being squeezed out of the state as liberalism turns it into a state of the uberrich and the uberpoor (see the excellent article by Joel Kotkin.)
The liberals are up to their usual tricks: hurt the poor in the name of the poor; destroy jobs in the name of creating jobs; distribute poverty in the name of distributing wealth. The foolishness and self-destructivenes of this agenda should be obvious to all. That, however, does not seem the case. Liberal, even ultra-liberal, hell, socialist politicians are regularly elected and re-elected. An ultra-liberal/socialist ideology dominates, even overwhelms the state's public discourse. Local media and schools, from elementary to university level, are bastions of the most unthinking, uncritical liberalism you will find anywhere. If you want to see liberalism amok, and a wonderful state amuck, come to California.
I long have been troubled by the liberal mind set. It is one in which one sees what one believes. Believe in something, and see it everywhere. Many human beings might or might not believe what they see, but the totally irrational ones see only what they believe. That is what we have here. The liberal believes that life is a series of problems that requires government solutions. Gun violence? Institute gun control policies. Those polices prove a fiasco? The solution? More gun control policies because guns are still in the hands of criminals so the illegal must be made doubly illegal. California's regulations and social programs have bankrupted the state, destroyed the middle class, and driven businesses out of the state. The solution? More taxes to pay for more social programs and bureaucrats to enforce more regulations. Why? Well, obviously, there are more poor people than ever before, so we need more programs, and more taxes to pay for them. See what you believe. College tuitions are through the roof. The solution? More California government funding so the universities can continue to raise tuitions instead of allowing the market to set them. And the examples go on and on and on. The insanity is palpable.
California, quite simply, is being destroyed by liberalism and its standard prescription of regulation, taxation, class warfare, and lavish public sector salaries and benefits. In that regard, California and the United States are becoming interchangeable.
Is California our future as a nation? Seems to be the way we are heading. It most certainly will be the future if we do not begin to derail the liberal express. Let's start by voting out Obama.