“It’s now illegal in California to shower and do laundry on the same day,” my husband read out loud to me a few weeks ago.
“How are they going to police that?” I wondered.
“It doesn’t matter,” he replied. “California is so out of touch with reality that it just doesn’t matter anymore.”
It saddens me to watch my former home state implode, but that’s precisely what is happening. California has been called the world’s largest insane asylum, and as headline piles upon headline illustrating the latest madness, the description seems apt.
It’s no wonder people are fleeing the Golden State in droves. What is the incentive to stay when taxes are sky-high, regulations are draconian and capricious, crime is rampant, infrastructure is crumbling, and politicians are so out of touch with reality they think they can make it illegal to shower and do laundry on the same day?
Housing prices, of course, are famously irrational. In Sunnyvale, a modest 848-square-foot home on a tiny lot gained national notoriety for its selling price. “After being listed in March for $1.45 million, it sold within 48 hours for $2 million, or $2,358 per square foot,” noted ZeroHedge. “With Sunnyvale’s 1.25 percent property tax, the new owners are paying $2,083 per month, or $250,000 every 10 years.”
It’s more than just the insane cost of living in the state. Many people are also fleeing the insane policies. Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel (a co-founder of PayPal and an early Facebook investor) says it’s one thing for a culture to be “quite liberal” and another for it to be “totalitarian.” Dissenting opinions are not permitted. If you don’t believe me, walk onto any California college campus with a MAGA hat and see how long you last.
The Golden State imposes a level of control on its citizens that boggles the mind. Try starting a business. Or purchasing a firearm (don’t even think about getting a concealed carry). Or homeschooling your kids. Or renovating (much less building) a house. I know a fellow who was required to get a city permit to paint his bathroom.
Above all, California is a place of crushing expenses and horrific financial mismanagement. In 2017, the Mercury News reported the state received “record revenues” from taxes, yet faced a budget deficit of over $1 billion. The state’s schools and infrastructure rank among America’s worst.
“Many of the state’s wealthiest residents support high taxes, no-growth green policies and subsidies for the poor,” reports the Mercury News. “They do so because they reside in apartheid neighborhoods and have the material and political wherewithal to become exempt from the consequences of their own utopian bromides.” (Think Nancy Pelosi.)
Additionally, the state is pushing an unwanted $100 billion – that’s billion, with a “b” – high-speed rail line connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles, while ignoring outdated highways and crumbling bridges.
To add to the woe, consider these “troubling and eye-opening statistics” collected by professors Boskin and Cogan of Stanford University:
Between 1985 and 2005 the population in California grew by 10 million people. And it is, and still remains, the most populous state in the union. But here’s the significant point: Out of the 10 million new residents that moved into the state of California, we only got 150,000 new taxpayers. So, in other words, 98.5 percent of that 10 million population influx are non-taxpayers. So you have a tax base of 1.5 percent that is supporting the other 98.5 percent; and the statistics get even better. … California has 12 percent of the nation’s population, but it has one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients. One out of 5 residents of Los Angeles are on welfare. [Emphasis added.]
This is not, to put it mildly, a sustainable situation.
The tragic part of California’s decline is how many decent, hardworking citizens are caught in the middle. They’re the ones dealing with the crime, the bureaucracy, the cost of living, the regulations (showers and laundry!), the hostility toward anything but far-left opinions and the governmental incompetence.
Historian and scholar Victor Davis Hanson described what it is like dealing with the day-to-day lawlessness that comes from a state unable or unwilling to make illegal immigrants comply with laws, everything from confining vicious dogs to driving to dumping trash. “The California solution is always the same: the law-abiding must adjust to the non-law-abiding,” he notes wearily. “In California, civilization is speeding in reverse. … And how do Californians adjust? They accept a few unspoken rules of state behavior and then use their resources to navigate around them.”
These unspoken rules punish citizens for minor infractions (to raise revenues) while ignoring massive felonies committed by illegals. The rich trumpet the plight of the poor while walling themselves in expensive gated communities and sending their children to elite private schools. And above all, the vast (more conservative) inland areas are politically shackled by policies instigated by liberal coastal cities.
“Californians, both the losers and beneficiaries of these unspoken rules, have lost confidence in the equal application of the law and indeed the idea of transparent and meritocratic government,” concludes Hanson. “In a state where millions cannot be held accountable, those who can will be – both to justify a regulatory octopus, and as social justice for their innate unwarranted privilege.”
California is the embodiment of Margaret Thatcher’s famous quote, “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” It is depressing that even with the evidence of years of repeated collectivist failure, people keep trying to make a communist silk purse out of a rotting sow’s ear.
With so many Californians understandably fleeing the state, many are unfortunately dragging the problems with them. In fact, it’s become a verb – “to Californicate” – when people leave and settle in another place and promptly begin implementing the failed policies that led to their fleeing California in the first place.
Just keep this in mind: If you decide to leave the socialist stench of the Golden State – and I wouldn’t blame you in the slightest – please remember why you left. Don’t Californicate your new home.