In 1965, The Mamas and The Papas released “California Dreamin,” one of the most iconic pop songs of the 20th century. The chorus, both infectious and instantly recognizable, has the singer envisaging the safety and warmth of L.A.
Longing to leave the cold weather behind, the vocalist finds himself “dreaming” of California.
Fast forward a half century, and the Californian dream has turned into a nightmare.
The Golden State finds itself in a sorry state; now, an increasing number of people are dreaming of leaving California behind. Once a bastion of freedom, the state has devolved into something truly tragic—with delusional policies, a fixation on socialist reforms, rising levels of unemployment, and a huge housing crisis.
As the author Joel Kotkin recently noted, with Gavin Newsom safe “and the Democrats ever more dependent on their public sector union allies (who helped mightily with the recall), expect new initiatives to drive out business.”
California’s policymakers seem intent on stifling the state’s economy. And they’re very much succeeding in their ill-advised endeavors.
Tesla Inc., the biggest electric carmaker on the planet, is leaving California. On Oct. 7, at Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting, Elon Musk announced plans to move the company’s headquarters to Austin, Texas. The reasons for the move are many, but Musk criticized California’s expensive housing and bureaucratic red tape. Considering Musk once called California’s covid-related policies “fascist,” the move should come as no surprise. After all, who wants to live in a “fascist” state?
Doing business in California is extremely difficult. In fact, getting anything done appears to be an obstacle of epic proportions.
For example, in 2018, the comedian Bill Maher, the host of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” applied to get solar panels installed on his garden shed. It seemed like a simple procedure. However, three years after he applied, Maher still found himself without the panels.
Why? Because of Kafkaesque-like policies. California is plagued by bloated bureaucracy and asinine laws.
‘Common Prosperity’ and the Death of Commonsense
It seems policymakers in California are keen to implement their own version of China’s “common prosperity.” Earlier this year, before the recall election, a number of far-left legislators floated the idea of a new wealth tax. If implemented, we’re told, it would raise somewhere in the region of $22 billion every 12 months.
However, as the journalist John Coupal wrote, such a tax hike would be an unmitigated disaster, largely because its aims are detached from economic reality.
According to the author, the idea was first introduced by Alex Lee, “California’s youngest member of the Assembly.” Lee, 25, “still lives with his mother in the San Francisco Bay area.” This is not to take a cheap shot at a young man who still lives at home. But, I ask, is Lee really qualified to spearhead such an aggressive tax hike?
Furthermore, as Coupal noted, of all the states in the country, California already has the highest income tax. Moreover, it’s also home to “the highest state sales tax rate in America and the highest gas tax in America.”
Lee, like other policymakers in California, needs to recognize the difference between taxing the rich and eating the rich. A new wealth tax would do the latter, rather than the former.
This is not to say that the well-off shouldn’t pay their fair share; they most certainly should. Surely, though, there are better ways of addressing matters of inequality. When faced with such aggressive taxes, why would anyone choose to chase success in California, especially when policymakers look to punish the highest achievers?
In an op-ed for The Hill last fall, Chris Talgo told American readers that California’s “embrace of socialism should serve as a warning” for the country. “Over the past few decades,” he warned, the state’s willingness to embrace socialist policies “should serve as a canary in the coal mine” for lawmakers across the land.
To quote Winston Churchill: “There can be no doubt that Socialism is inseparably interwoven with Totalitarianism and the abject worship of the State. This State is to be the arch-employer, the arch-planner, the arch-administrator and ruler, and the arch-caucus boss.”
As we all know, nothing good comes from socialism, or “communist-lite” governance.
With one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, California is fast becoming a wretched place to live. Considering the median price of a single-family home now stands at $827,940, is it any wonder that California has a homelessness crisis?
With more than 160,000 living on the streets, cities like Los Angeles and San Diego now mirror refugee camps, with tent encampments littering the street. With no access to toilets, people are quite literally defecating on sidewalks. Not surprisingly, an increase in homelessness has brought a surge in drug overdose deaths. Sadly, a suffocating air of desperation sweeps through California.
The Golden State, the equivalent of a car with faulty brakes, is currently being driven off the edge of a cliff. Somewhat inevitably, every socialist dream ends in a nightmare.
California, once a formidable state, is on fire, both literally and metaphorically. Socialist policies won’t help extinguish the flames.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.