If the states are, as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis described them, “laboratories of democracy”, then California is the preeminent example in this country of the pitfalls and perils of socialism run amok.
It’s no secret that this state has been swirling the financial drain for many years now, spinning in a maelstrom of red ink. Massive deficits, accompanied by soaring taxes and Draconian regulatory burdens, have joined to drive out productive people and the companies that employ them. This state has about 14% (about 1/7th) of the nation’s population, and about 1/3rd of its welfare recipients. About 25% of the country’s illegal aliens live here (LINK).
We have among the highest state and local tax burdens in the country. We rank #6 in state and local tax burden per capita (LINK), but bear in mind that large percentage of people on welfare and the illegal aliens. If you factor them out, we’d be even higher on that list. We rank at #48 in state business tax climate, being better than only New York and New Jersey. We have the highest sales taxes in the country; we have the second-highest gasoline taxes, bested only by New York (LINK) by a mere 1/2 cent/gallon.
The Democrats rule this state with an iron fist; their GOP “opposition” is comprised for the most part of a bunch of, shall we say, “moderates” (to put it kindly). All you have to do is look to our former Governator to see an embodiment of the problem there.
Those same Democrats are owned by the unions of both government workers and the private sector. The government-worker unions alone have managed to burden this state with wage levels and benefit costs that are bankrupting us, and there’s absolutely no effort among the ruling elites to do anything whatsoever to address that problem.
For years we’ve had annual deficits that have been in the tens of billions of dollars. Yet somehow, in spite of that, current Governor Jerry Brown and his minions have found the money to enact the state DREAM Act to fund the educations of illegal aliens, and to proceed with a high-speed train to nowhere that’s going to cost in excess of $100 Billion, according to the best estimates.
In what shouldn’t surprise anyone, Brown released a statement on May 12th that our budget shortfall this year is $9.2 billion more than projected (LINK), for a total of about a $16 billion shortfall. It seems that “…tax collections have not come in as high as expected and the economy isn’t growing as fast as hoped for.” I guess that’s what happens when you scare all the productive people out of the state with confiscatory taxes and punitive regulations coupled with insane spending priorities.
So… what’s the latest “solution” to our problems being proposed by Brown and the rest of the socialists… er, I mean, Democrats? If you guessed “more taxes!”, you win a one-way ticket to Athens. Greece, not Georgia. (Well, not really. But you get the point.)
We have two competing ballot propositions coming up that would raise taxes. Brown’s would raise income and sales taxes (and remember, our sales taxes are already the highest in the country); the competing ballot would only raise income taxes.
Brown, as is SOP, threatens that failure to enact his proposition will “…force severe cuts to schools and public safety…”. Notice how these “failures” to pass tax increases never “force severe cuts” to funding for illegal aliens, or bullet trains to nowhere, or pay increases and outrageous benefits to government union workers, or anything like that. No, we’ve got plenty of money for those things, somehow.
The hypocrisy, ineptitude, cynicism, and downright turpitude pile up so fast you need wings to stay above it. This is government failure on a massive scale.
We are Greeceifornia.
© Brian Baker 2012