As California Goes...
As a lifelong resident of New Jersey, one of the most fiscally imprudent states, it may be deemed unfair for me to say bad things about California, but having lived in a state that has “been there, done that,” it also endows me with an understanding of what happens when a state is taken over by its public service unions and indulges in stupid environmental policies that have nothing to do with a sound economy.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared an economic crisis two weeks ago in order to demand some fiscal sanity that has not been forthcoming from its legislature. By the end of the month, California will be forced to pay bills with IOUs, and we all know that won’t work. The U.S. Constitution reserves to the federal government the right “to coin money, regulate the value thereof…” As a form of currency, IOUs are forbidden to
A recent issue of The Heartland Institute’s “Budget & Tax News” monthly newspaper had a disturbing article by Jason Sorens and William Ruger, two members of the
Since Americans pride themselves as a free people, the actions of state government have a direct impact on how much actual freedom they have because “states and local governments regulate workplaces, land use, and health insurance. They tell individual citizens how to educate their children, where they are permitted to smoke, which kinds of firearms they may own, and when they are allowed to buy liquor.” And, of course, they levy taxes.
The five least-free States, from the bottom up, are
New Jersey has had more people leaving than coming to live there and, in the 1990s, California saw 2.08 million more people leave than moved there from other parts of the nation. According to the U.S. Census, this loss was offset by a net immigration of 2.02 million from
One of the factors contributing to the population loss was the high cost of housing in
Of equal concern are the nation’s energy policies and, in this regard,
The state’s oldest oil refinery, the massive 104-year-old Richmond facility, was in the process of modernization, but environmentalists sued and a judge ordered Chevron Corporation to stop work for yet another “environmental impact report.” A hundred workers have been laid off, and as many as a thousand more may lose their jobs as the project shuts down. That is insanity.
Meanwhile, demands for greater energy “efficiency” have driven up the cost of housing and driven out manufacturing firms because of high energy prices. If the states from which it imports electricity were to reduce or cut off supplies,
Estimates of the amounts of untapped oil off California’s coast on the continental shelf are in the millions of barrels, possibly billions. A reversal of this policy would generate lots of high-paying jobs and reduce the nation’s dependence on imported oil.
As this is being written,
These are the same policies— education¸ housing, energy—being pursued by the Obama administration and, if California is a template for what will occur nationwide, it portends a very grim future.
Statement of Policy.
Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.