Saturday, May 30, 2009

Open Up That Golden Gate--And Let Me Out

California, there you go. San Franciscans just celebrated the 72nd anniversary of the completion of the landmark Golden Gate Bridge. It remains to be seen if it will still be there a year from now. With California's ongoing fiscal crisis, and the selling-off of public landmarks to raise money, by this time next year the Golden Gate Bridge might end up in Abu Dhabi or spanning the Dubai port. After all, Arizona got London Bridge a few years back.

Or maybe the feds can buy it with some newly printed funny money and rename it The Golden Obama Bridge. Ladies and gentlemen, California is a mess. Remember what Mao used to call America? A pitiful, helpless giant. He could just as easily been talking about our land of giant redwoods, vast deserts, majestic mountains, great metropolises, sandy beaches, and unique huge rivers of red ink. No longer satisfied with declaring that California needs to make draconian cuts in spending, the Governator has announced that the state has to make "beyond draconian cuts," whatever that means. But what is truly amazing is that it took the "leaders" in Sacramento this long to figure out that California has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.

While there is a national discussion about Obama moving the United States into full socialist mode in the near future, California arrived there a couple of years ago when its people began to realize that we have a whole lot of social welfare programs, a huge army of public employees, and no way to pay for it. Well, of course, there's always taxes. Keep raising them. Although California already had the highest sales tax rate in the nation, the state raised it again by 1% on April 1 of this year, and with local and county sales tax added in, we San Franciscans now pay 9.5% tax on all our non-food purchases. Can the food tax be far behind? We also claim the highest income tax rates of any state in the union. But spending has still continued to run away from revenue by a country mile.

Add to the problem the influx of a huge illegal population of immigrants, mostly from Mexico and you have a budget crisis of unparalleled proportions. Despite all the propaganda about illegals paying their own way, the simple fact is that services provided by the state to illegals cost far, far more than any income the state may receive from them in whatever taxes they choose to pay. And with unemployment in the state rapidly exceeding 11% of the work force, can anyone truly argue that the illegals are just coming here for the jobs? I guess they just want to do the jobs that nobody else wants to do, because there are no such jobs available in the first place.

Governor Schwarzenegger has announced that out of the clear blue sky, with no advance warning and unfathomable economics, the state must eliminate welfare, cut billions to schools, close state parks, eliminate multiple state projects, and (God forbid!) drastically cut back government employment. No kidding!

It would be "beyond draconian" if it weren't that California's drunken sailor spending spree has been so "beyond belief" to start with. Companies doing business in California have been cutting back on expenses and overhead, cutting work forces and even closing locations in logical reaction to the downturn in the economy. Why is this concept such a revelation to the geniuses in Sacramento? The mainstream media, largely liberal, have been in lockstep with the profligate spenders in Sacramento for years, so their shocked reaction would be maddening if it weren't so ironically funny. A sample of statewide headlines (courtesy of Scott Sabatini, a writer for the San Francisco Examiner): "Shock, awe greet Schwarzenegger's proposal to end welfare." The San Jose Mercury News. "Governor's plan could force some out of college." The Contra Costa Times. "Healthcare cuts would mean higher costs and possibly death, officials say." The Los Angeles Times. "Governor's budget beyond draconian." Capitol Weekly. "State budget puts Hearst Castle at risk." The Fresno Bee. "25 Bay Area parks may close from budget crisis." The San Francisco Chronicle.

We were shocked, shocked to discover that we were out of money. How is that possible? We still have plenty of checks left. Of course, you can understand part of the problem. A state Assemblyman, Jim Nielsen of Redding stated that "changes to welfare need to be scaled back rather than chopped off completely." The problem? Nielsen is a Republican. By California standards, he's even considered conservative (I hasten to add, I don't consider him any such thing). So you can imagine what the Democrats have been saying.

There's plenty of blame to go around. The state government was providing bread and circuses at a rate that would have shamed ancient Rome. But there were a whole lot of citizens who took those "gifts" who should have known better. They could have asked "who's paying for this?" Nevertheless, nothing gets in the way of legislators blaming the taxpayers. The 1% sales tax increase I mentioned above would have expired on July 1, 20011 if voters had approved the spending bills put before the voters this month. Several Sacramento politicians have now pointed the finger at the citizens for rejecting those state propositions by saying they have only themselves to blame for the sales tax now going well beyond 2011. As usual, it's a lie. The truth is that the only reason the 1% increase would have ended in 2011 is that the bills the people rejected would have replaced the 1% tax with new and even higher taxes on things other than direct sales taxation. Robbing from Peter to pay for Paul and Mary and their entire family.

Not counting illegal immigrants, California for the first time in its history has suffered a net loss in population. Businesses and individuals are fleeing in droves. Anybody want to guess why?


18 comments:

Writer X said...

Every other person who moves into my Phoenix neighborhood is from California (the next is Illinois).

SQT said...

Because my husband is a financial consultant we get to see this in real time. It's been going on for years. Whenever a wealthy client retires, they move out of state. It's just automatic.

Just prior to the election, a few of the small business owners told my husband that if Obama got elected they'd just shut down shop. One guy already lives part time in Cabo, so I think he's already got plans in motion to move-- and that means laying off 40 people.

The business environment is just so bad that when you combine that with a terrible economy it's hard to find a reason not to flee the state. Heck, even my husband and I toss around the idea. His job is flexible enough that we could relocate if we get hit with any more taxes. Whether we get a tax hike from the fed or the state, it would make sense to move to a state with a lower cost of living.

StanH said...

What boggles my mind is California is used as an example of how things are done right? We watch as Rep. Henry Waxman CA moves the onerous Cap-n-trade (Cap-n-tax) though the Congress, a tax on all Americans with a pulse. There was an open mic conversation between Waxman and a Republican, where Waxman states he has not read the bill, but the bill was prepared by “scientist,” what’s the problem, huh? The nit-wits in Washington are basically saying, “lets do for the rest of the country what we’ve done for California,” thanks a pant load California. Perhaps with the coming rapture of CA you guys can start over again, look at it as an opportunity. You can snatch a page from the liberals and if they sell the Golden Gate chain yourselves to the bridge, ha. I feel for you guys, California is a bona fide cluster.

LawHawkSF said...

Writer X: I have friends in Nevada, Texas and Arizona who have been bugging me for years to get out of California. They're still doing so, but they now add "and please don't bring your neighbors."

Bev: Moving to Mexico somehow only seems fair, on multiple levels, doesn't it? Still, I think that leaving the US might be worse than the disease. I'm going to try another state first.

StanH: The budget bill is not only onerous. It's indecipherable. But one theme appears throughout the document. A bureaucrat in whatever area of regulation is being addressed has almost unlimited power to determine what the regulation means without any apparent means for the victim to appeal. It's not only unconscionable, it's unconstitutional. Yeah, the Constitution, that old thing.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk,

Great article. California is a mess. Your government is like the guy who goes on a week-long drunken bender and then can't understand why he's lying in a ditch, naked and without a wallet.

Unfortunately, they keep finding ways to push off biting the bullet and making the fix. I fear that this time, the Feds are going to float California a huge loan (from the rest of us) and then another and another.

sqt,

Even in my area (outside of California) I know of several small businesses that chose to shut down because they decided that Obama is making it unprofitable or impossible to continue. People don't understand how important taxes are to small business -- a couple percentage points is often the difference between making it or failing.

StlDan said...

Instead of TX, Tn or Montana seceding from the union, we may all be pushing Ca. out of the union. Maybe? They will serve as an example of how not to run Government.

AndrewPrice said...

At the risk of angering our California contingent, I agree with Dan. Time to toss California out of the union. . . or sink it into the ocean. :-)

StlDan said...

My bad, present company accepted.

SQT said...

No offended party here... I think Ca should be tossed out too. Just give me a chance to pack my bags.

BevfromNYC said...

Can't we just sign over California to China to pay down some of our debt? What if they try to foreclose and want to take one of our other 59 more useful states?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, that is hilarious!

"Dear China,

We are hereby defaulting on those bonds we sold you. To make it up to you, however, enclosed please find the deed to California.

Best wishes,
Uncle Sam"

LOL!!

And sqt, don't worry, we can give you guys notice -- just don't tell your liberal neighbors.

LawHawkSF said...

SQT and StlDan: Not to worry, I can pack fast, and I already have my escape route planned. The underground railroad in Nevada and Arizona remain in constant contact with me.

StanH said...

As the old cliché goes, “would the last American to leave California please bring the flag!”

StlDan said...

Stan, I will offer an armed escort to bring the flag back and we can stop and get Lawhawk while were at it.

Bev, when you offer CA. make sure they know it's F.O.B. our our dock.

StanH said...

Yeah Hawk, be ready we’ll be coming in low and fast have your weapon at the ready, ha.

AndrewPrice said...

ROFLMAO! This is some of the funniest stuff I've seen in a while. The underground railroad, an armed escort to bring out the flag, and F.O.B.! LOL!

I love the fact that we, as Americans, are so good at laughing in the face of adversity! Fantastic!

StlDan said...

I have no association with this program, however if you want to hear one fired Gal and a leader in the Teaparty and #tcot revolution on Tweeter stream her show at 8-10 PM central time, on Sundays http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=19445

She also has a live chat/blog where we all meet. I will find the link if anyone is interested. She is a very fresh voice and a nice face for the new Republican party. Her name is Dana Loesch, don't know if anyone has heard of her yet, but I am sure you will.

StlDan said...

Sorry I posted the wrong streaming link. Here's the good one.http://www.971talk.com/login.aspx?Destination=%2fstation%2fstreaming.aspx

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