Monday, January 12, 2009

California – Paradise Lost

Santa Cruz is only about an hour's drive from where I live. I love to eat on the wharf with an ocean side view by the boardwalk. It is one of those many pristine places that beckons visitors who come from miles around to see what California has
to offer. I have posted several pictures. The first one is of the restaurant where

we ate, and the second one is of my daughter standing on the wharf. The others are various pictures taken from the wharf near the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk.

California is a beautiful place to visit, and for years it has been the "in" place to be. Of course, with the incompetence of the current governor and legislature, one has to think twice before settling in California. California is drowning in an ocean of debt. The current governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is a pompous, arrogant,
incompetent ass. Arnold's anti-business policies have caused an exodus of companies and the well-to-do in search of greener pastures. Millionaires in California dropped from 44,000 in 2000 to 29,000 in 2002. It's not because they are poorer – it's because they are leaving in droves. In addition, 1.5 million people have left California more than entered in the past decade. Liberals have said less people in California is a good thing, but then who provides the jobs and pays the bulk of the taxes. It's not the immigration from Mexico. In fact, it is this exodus that hurts the poor even more. I wonder how much tax California will collect once every productive citizen is gone.

If you look at the migration pattern from moving van companies, many more people leave California than enter. In fact, it is much more expensive to hire a moving van company to move out of the state than into the state. This is because of more people leaving than entering the state.

California has one half trillion dollars of outstanding bonds (voters keep voting in bonds even though the state is 40 billion dollars in debt, most recently a fast speed train to go from San Francisco to Los Angeles). California has the third highest income tax rate in the nation, 10.3% for its highest earners. The richest ten percent pay 75% of the income tax burden.

Recently on 60 minutes, Arnold blamed the recent California forest fires on man-made global warming. His ignorance on the subject is astounding. The massive fires in California were caused by environmentalists such as the Sierra Club preventing the cleaning of the forest floors and controlled burning. How can you fix something if you cannot even identify the problem? Schwarzenegger has begun a one man crusade against man-made global warming, a pseudo-science perpetuated by those with an agenda and the ill-informed. The terminator has in effect set up California as his own kingdom. He doesn't believe his anti-business actions will have any detrimental consequences to the state. Of course, the data shows that the converse is true. In 2007, California passed legislation to restrict carbon emissions on power plants, cement producers and oil refineries. Even if man-made global warming were true, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that California's legislation would have little impact on the world's greenhouse gases, and you don't need to be a hollywood actor to figure out how destructive it would be to business. Arnold campaigned on being pro-business, but he has been just the reverse.

Arnold campaigned to increase the minimum wage in California. California's minimum wage is already one of the highest in the nation. This further crimps business, and causes even more companies to shut down or leave.

One of Bill Clinton's successes was putting people on welfare back to work, but not California. California requires a five year time limit on welfare benefits. The cost to the state is 1 to 2 billion dollars per year. Because of this, California was one of the least successful states in reducing welfare in the late 1990s. Moreover, people have been drawn to the state for its welfare benefits.

Ten years ago the budget increased from 65 billion dollars to 130 billion dollars during the terminator's tenure and with less revenue. How is that for insanity? Of course, the time bomb is CALPERS, (The California Education Retirement System) with 26 billion dollars of unfunded liabilities, the teachers retirement system 20 billion dollars in the red, and health benefits another 48 billion dollars.

We are lucky that the terminator failed in his attempt to nationalize California's health care system. The cost of this program would have been 14 billion dollars a year. Employers that didn't provide health care to their employees would have been assessed a payroll tax – so take that businesses. Ronald Reagan once said when running against Jimmy Carter, "It is a recession when your neighbor is out of work, it is a depression when you are out of work and it is a recovery when Jimmy Carter is out of work." Will we have a recovery when the terminator is out of work? Can't he find employment in Austria? I can't wait to hear the words, I won't be back.

The electorate needs to revolt like it did with proposition 13 in 1978. California could become the place it once was, but the state has become so entrenched with inept politicians, one has to wonder when it will happen. This state is run by morons.

Source: "The End of Prosperity" by Arthur B. Laffer, Stephen Moore and Peter J. Zanous

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said, "conservative mind"!

What happened to California, the former "Golden State," is not just a tragedy, it's an abomination.

But it's not just Arnold's and the Legislators' fault. One needs to ask: Who voted for Leftist politicians and Leftist policies?

The answer is: the people in the "red" portions of the electoral map of California, i.e., those in the metropolitan coastal areas from the San Francisco Bay Area, to Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

The bad news is: there is no sign whatsoever that those areas are turning away from the Left.

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