Thursday, July 2, 2009

California: What Unchecked Liberalism Hath Wrought

By now, most of us have heard about the fiscal crisis in the state of California, which has gotten so bad that the state now has to issue IOU's:

California's controller will start paying many of the state's bills with promissory notes as soon as Thursday after lawmakers failed to close the state's worsening budget deficit, adding a new measure of indignity to a state sinking deeper into dysfunction.

Lawmakers' failure to act on Tuesday, the end of the fiscal year, also widened California's deficit from what already had been a whopping $24.3 billion — more than a quarter of its general fund.

What is happening in California is a perfect illustration of the consequences of a generation or more of unchecked liberalism. California began trending blue sometime after Reagan left the Governor's mansion in Sacramento in early 1975. The end of the Cold War accelerated this trend even more, as many defense jobs were eliminated and most of the defense contractors that remained were severely downsized. If California were it's own country now, it would probably be a 2nd-and-a-half world country, barelling down the road toward third world status.

How did this happen? California is a state that has a surplus of natural beauty. It's not too shabby on natural resources either. Along the California coastline, a "bad" day means the weather was merely good, whereas a good day means the weather is off the charts awesome. So what happened?

Liberalism is what happened. California has one of the highest tax burdens of any state in the nation. They have a regulatory environment that is unfriendly, if not downright hostile to business. They have unbreakable public unions that are only exacerbating the current budget crisis. Their environmental policies go way beyond those of any other state in the union, placing additional burdens on citizens and businesses alike. And at this point, they have no credible conservative opposition politically (don't say Schwarzennager please, he's not conservative). The American magazine has a great article entitled Sundown for California here that explains it all more fully than I can here.

Things are only going to get worse. Businesses and people are leaving California. As the linked article explains:

In California, domestic outmigration, which was about even in 2001, swelled to over 260,000 in 2007.

This means fewer consumers, fewer businesses, and fewer taxpayers to fill the coffers of a rapacious state government. It also means fewer electoral votes and fewer seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

What has been done in California for at least a generation now is what the liberals want to do to the country. The liberals want to apply the same policies nationwide as they have to California.

Why the hell would anyone want the whole country to be like California when people are leaving it in droves and when the fiscal situation is so dire that their bond rating is about to fall to junk status?

Why would anyone want the whole country to have environmental restrictions so severe that it's almost impossible to build any new power plants there?

Why would anyone want to have such a ridiculously high tax burden? Why would anyone want to start a business in a state that is hostile to the same?

And why would anyone want to run the country like California when people are leaving there in droves, despite the incredible scenery and even better weather?

California should serve as a warning to us all. It's a clear demonstration of the perils of unchecked liberalism. Despite having advantages that other states don't have, people and businesses are leaving there in droves.

Let's not let the liberals Californicate the whole United States.

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