Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Caught between the sane and the insane

Jerry Stratton, November 13, 2010

Just read two very smart articles back to back. First, Victor Davis Hanson lays out why California is lost. It’s a depressing article that lays out most of our major problems and why nothing will be done about them until California collapses. I have an innate suspicion of doom-and-gloom warnings, but I can’t see anything flawed in his analysis. We just elected Jerry Brown, and gave him the ability to pass whatever budgets he wants.

Fact three: a particular class, largely coastal, professional, and liberal, believes utopia is nearly here, if we just impose more regulation, higher taxes on businesses, and more environmental legislation. They have not a clue how others pump oil or gas, grow food, and produce lumber, only that they like driving, like eating, and like nice houses, but are not particularly interested in the grubby Neanderthals who allow that to happen.

So in times of near depression voters insist on stringent global warming/carbon emission laws, and keep adding regulations that hamper rather than encourage wealth creation.

In summary, we don’t want to talk about our problems because it’s gauche and perhaps racist. So we create a system that pretends the problems don’t exist, all while taking individual actions that recognize they do.

So we sound utopian in our public rhetoric, but privately millions of all races and ethnic backgrounds, including millions of liberals and Hispanics, are terribly worried, and so make the necessary adjustments: they avoid public schools like many in San Jose and Fresno; they do not live in towns like Orange Cove, Mendota, Parlier, Selma (mine, which I still enjoy), Fowler, or large areas of San Jose or Los Angeles, and they are careful where they go in the evening. When we see high school students at Morgan Hill High School walk out in anger at the crime of a few students wearing the American flag on Cinco de Mayo Day, Californians know enough to politely pass over that in conversation and yet not get near that school district in fact.

What will be especially interesting is when that coastal elite realizes that they are the ones who will be taxed at more and more exorbitant rates.

Fact one: California has among the highest taxes in the nation, over 10% on top incomes, and about 9.5% that hits earners when they get above $47,000.

Sales taxes, depending on the county, average close to 10%. The result is that thousands (the exact number is unclear, perhaps between 2,000 and 3,500) of more affluent Californians are leaving the state each week for low- or no-tax states. Raise income taxes or sales taxes or gas taxes higher, and there will be a stampede.

I’m already making plans, just in case. If the legislature starts working on taxing people just for leaving, or if they start thinking about taxing savings, I’m outahere. And I’m in San Diego, not Los Angeles or San Francisco. I’m surprised those places haven’t become Detroit yet.

Meanwhile, in Alaska…

In order to avert a fiscal disaster, we will also need to check the growth of spending on our entitlement programs. That will be a huge challenge, but it must be confronted head on. We must do it in a humane way that honors the government’s current commitments to our fellow Americans while also keeping faith with future generations. We cannot rob from our children and grandchildren’s tomorrow to pay for our unchecked spending today. Beyond that, we need to reform the way Congress conducts business in order to make it procedurally easier to cut spending than to increase it.

That’s from Sarah Palin’s advice to the new Republicans who will take office soon. She touches on many of the same issues that Hanson does; fortunately, the nation isn’t as far gone as California, and there’s still time to pull back from the ditch before the rest of America is stuck as badly as California is.

  1. <- A fragile alliance
  2. Exposing Social Security ->