Thursday, January 14, 2010

California Turned Upside Down?

California has been in the forefront of every loony government scheme to fool the public for a decade or so. The government in Washington DC regularly follows California over the cliff. A recent example designed to guide the federal government into complete economic collapse was California's rush to make California an eco-paradise by imposing totally unrealistic cap and trade policies on its citizens during the height of an economic meltdown. If you're going to go broke, you might as well go completely broke.

But don't entirely despair of the formerly Golden State. California has for many years taken the lead in squelching over-reaching government by exercising its state constitutional provisions for votes of, by and for the people. One of the few things from California's radical progressive area of the early twentieth century that has frequently been used for good is the initiative process. After following certain legal hurdles regarding wording, single-topic, and signature-gathering, the people can put a proposed law on the ballot which often openly defies the willfulness of the legislature.

In a drunken orgy of taxation, spending and hare-brained schemes which pushed California to the brink of destruction by misusing California's abundant resources, creativity and high employment rates, the green legislators imposed horrific fuel and energy penalties on California's most productive industries. Not understanding that the 5% unemployment rate of that time would be driven upward by their actions, the airy-fairy legislators also forgot to prepare for a national recession of epic proportions which would drive unemployment even higher.

Nevertheless, nothing was learned, and the legislature has refused to consider any modification of the idiotic state government restrictions which were imposed in better times. That has been given the stamp of approval by RINO governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who blithely promoted even more draconian restrictions after California's unemployment rate had already reached 10%. We're not only going to be completely fuel-efficient and driving hydrogen powered cars within ten years, but we're going to do it without any money to purchase the cars, since we'll all be unemployed and broke.

Actually, there would be a few geniuses who would still have plenty of money. Those would be the cap 'n tax California versions of Al Gore who will get much richer by brokering the big bucks carbon tradeoffs that accompish nothing, favor only the ultra-rich, do nothing to improve the ecology, and destroy entire industries at a single bound.

California State University at Sacramento was commissioned to do a study of the costs of this greening of California, and reached the following conclusions. The implementation costs could easily exceed $100 billion, and would raise the cost of living for the average family by $3,857 per household for every year through the year 2020. The current situation is no better than the future. Another study by CSU Sacramento, this time commissioned by the green RINO governor himself addressed current costs as follows: "the direct cost of current California regulation is $175 billion, or nearly twice the size of the state general budget and about $134,000 per small business each year. The Golden State already has the second most business-unfriendly regulatory climate in the nation, after New Jersey (and before cap and trade law)." New Jersey has just elected a governor sworn to undo much of the nonsensical and destructive legislation there, but California cannot count on the same thing.

Currently California's unemployment rate is at 12.3% with 2.25 million Californians out of work. The state budget is a nightmare of red ink, and the governor thinks the solution is to go to Washington DC with hat in hand and beg for more newly-printed money to be sent California's way. Although Ahnuld did weakly suggest a moratorium on green laws, the legislature roundly rejected his suggestion and he meekly collapsed.

Recognizing that his colleagues were all suffering from ecomania and would never support a legislature-sponsored referendum, state Republican Assemblyman Dan Logue is taking his case for suspending all the green laws, particularly cap and trade, to the people directly. Last week, he began collecting the required signatures on a state proposition (called an initiative) which would halt the implementation of those laws until the state unemployment rate has descended to 5.5%.

California is a testing-ground for new ideas, many good, many bad. It has been the nature of the nation to follow California's lead for nearly half a century now. California was the first state to pass cap and trade laws, and very early in the entire process of eco-fundamentalism. Other states have followed, and the failure of the agenda should have been a warning to the federal government. Instead, we have a Congress and an administration that wants to jump off the same cliff that California led them to.

Perhaps this is a chance for California to lead the nation back from the brink. Al Gore's monstrous cap and trade scheme could spell the end of American economic leadership for decades to come, if not permanently. His crazed "earth in the balance theory" is his own twisted version of climatological junk science, but California showed him how to accomplish his goals. If Assemblyman Logue succeeds in getting his initiative on the ballot and better yet, getting it passed, it would have huge national implications. Once California has come to its senses, removed crippling restrictions from industry and given the taxpayers a huge break, those unemployment numbers will begin an inexorable slide downwards. Having succeeded in reinvigorating California industry and restoring fiscal health to the state, the chances of the onerous laws being reinstated when the unemployment rate drops to the threshold 5.5% become ever slimmer.

The best wealth-sharing is the kind created by a healthy economy and greater revenue streams produced by lower taxes and freedom to conduct businesses which are clean rather than perfect. Liberal newspapers such as the Sacramento Bee have supported these obnoxious restrictions on productivity, but even they admit that "policy makers should be candid about the real costs current legislation is implementing. Industries that are energy-intensive will move elsewhere." Scientists and economists who are working from real facts and figures rather than pseudo-science predictions of impending disaster point out that the current green legislation in California will have an infinitesimal impact on global temperatures and air quality, but the economic impact makes the state even less attractive to start or expand a business.

Logue's initiative is far greater than even he imagines. If the greenest of states rejects further expansion of the green laws and stops implementation of laws created in never-never land, it will be a road map for other states, and ultimately the federal government. The distinct likelihood of an early California economic recovery resulting in large part from this initiative would become apparent very quickly to voters nationwide who think that green legislation means returning to the caves and candlelight. Once the downturn has been reversed and repaired, California can re-think its entire ecological agenda, and usher in an era of sound science, good business practices, realistic and attainable energy goals, and policies which take human beings into account in the equations.

I encourage my fellow Californians to look for the Logue initiative petitions to show up in their neighborhoods. I know that I will be volunteering to assist in the petition drive (something I haven't done in years). It would be extremely soul-satisfying to participate in a California transformation that produces admirable success after years of my state being a national laughingstock. The ability of the people of the state to spit in the eye of the nutcases in Sacramento is one of California's great strengths. I'm drinking lots of liquids in preparation for the opportunity to do so.

12 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

California is a playground for liberal ideas. And not surprisingly, those horrible ideas drive the state into bankruptcy. Then the answer of the goofy liberal whackos is to try more liberal ideas.

Sorry Lawhawk, but California gets what it deserves, and it makes an excellent for the rest of us of what will go wrong when liberals run a place.

Tennessee Jed said...

Hawk, although I salute your caring enough to try, I just don't think California would pass such an amendment. I hope I am wrong.

StanH said...

Good luck with your efforts Lawhawk, you have a lot of work to do, my friend, and it will take dedication from the citizens of CA to change that state back into the beacon of America.

A silly aside! Perhaps you have a new mission for the Boiler Room Elves, force magnifier? Those little rascals can be rough, just what you need to scare the liberal elites in the Bay area to their senses, “your signature, or we’ll pee in your tofu!”

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: All the drunken-sailor spending and crazed government programs were bad enough. But I just find it inconceivable that when the state has run out of money, resources and income, the legislators decide the answer is to spend more money and create more crazed government schemes. It's like the old joke about the not-too-bright shopper whose check bounces and says "I can't be out of money, I still have checks left."

LawHawkSF said...

Tennessee: One thing you can count on in California. If the idea sounds crazy and impossible enough, stand back, it might just happen. It's an off-year election, those of us who are stuck here are really torqued-off, and California is the state that passed Prop 13 a couple of decades ago severely limiting property tax increases. Voter rebellion is in the wind, the entire San Joaquin Valley is one step away from marching to Sacramento and lynching the lawmakers, and the middle-class is preparing for one last round of sanity before abandoning the state entirely. I'm giving the intitiative a 50/50 chance of succeeding.

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: Thanks for your support. The San Francisco Bay Area is the only part of the state that is hardcore leftist and will vote heavily against an initiative like this. Los Angeles is soft-core left, and can frequently be turned around. San Diego leans conservative. The rest of the state generally opposes tax increases and government programs, and is fully energized right now (particularly the farmers and farm workers suffering under the tyranny of the Delta smelt). This thing genuinely has a chance to work.

I'll check with Andrew about enlisting the Boiler Room Elves. He's on much friendlier terms with them than I am. I found an old SEIU ad on the floor downstairs and went ballistic on them. LOL

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--I noticed that one of your favorite conservatives has dropped out of the governor's race and is now going for the Republican nomination to replace Barbara Boxer. Chances??????

LawHawkSF said...

HamiltonsGhost: Yep. Tom Campbell is in the senatorial race. I'll be discussing it in tomorrow's Diary. I'll be voting for him, but his chances are not particularly good.

CalFederalist said...

Lawhawk. This will either be Campbell's swan song, or his ultimate revenge for the drubbing he took the last time he ran against Boxer. I'll wait to see your diary before I comment any further.

LawHawkSF said...

CalFed: It will probably be a week or so before we really know if the Campbell campaign has legs. We'll see, and I'll update as the news comes in.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, You act surprised, but that behavior is absolutely consistent with the behavior that created the problem. I'm not at all surprised.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: Hardly surprised, merely bemused. As the liberals say, "we've been de-sensitized."

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