Monday, May 20, 2024

California Must Atone for Its Privileged Geography

In the midst of dealing with a $25 billion budget deficit, California Governor Gavin Newsom shows no signs of turning off the free money spigot that left the state drowning in red ink.

On the back of his $9.5 billion “middle class” tax refund targeted to fight inflation by creating more of it, Newsom plowed $54 billion into an ill-conceived climate change bill that targets Californians with draconian measures that will make their lives more miserable while doing little to address the effects of climate change. Between stimulus payments, climate change nonsense, free healthcare and money to illegal aliens, we know California has money to waste, and it’s time to put an end to it.

The Unfairness of California’s Privileged Geography

Gavin Newsom is always ready to preach sanctimony when it comes to “fairness’ and “privilege,” something he’s very familiar with. After all, his father was a state judge who served as general counsel for Getty Oil. Still, Newsom is quick to acknowledge his privilege since he believes he will gain favor with woke zealots by admitting it. It doesn’t hurt that when Newsom discusses the subject, he gets teary-eyed, which he hopes will convey his faux shame.

Yet, for someone so intent on righting the wrongs of the past, Newsom conveniently ignores the greatest privilege and unfairness in the country, namely, the state of California itself. That’s right, the worst example of privilege exploitation comes from those who squander California’s natural riches, which are solely the byproduct of extremely favorable geography.

You see, Gavin Newsom and his woke cronies know they have done nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, to account for the prosperity the California treasury enjoys. Take a look at the numerous benefits that allow for continued state government malfeasance.

  • Coastal proximity
  • Unique proximity to Asian markets (specifically China)
  • The two busiest container ports in the country (Long Beach and Los Angeles)
  • Home to world-renowned universities, including Stanford, Cal Berkeley and the California Institute of Technology
  • Home too many of the world’s largest venture capital firms
  • A large existing skilled workforce
  • Exceptional weather
  • Sheer land mass

Despite this bounty, Newsom has somehow turned large regions of the state into third-world stench holes. Nearly 500,000 Californians have relocated to other states in just the last two years, including Arizona, where people would rather endure 110-degree heat than further subject themselves to Newsom’s psychotic woke policies.

But I digress…

Time for California to Pay its Fair Share

Gavin Newsom likes the idea of reparations. In 2020, he signed Assembly Bill (AB) 3121, which formed a committee to study the history of slavery in the United States and the extent of California’s culpability. The goal, ostensibly, is to determine how much the state benefited from slave activities, and thus, how much the current black population should be recompensed for sins against their great-great-great grandparents.

Yet, if Californians truly want to unburden themselves from privilege-related guilt, there are far more pressing reparation needs, and that begins with states that do not enjoy the same unfair geographic advantages as California.

Let’s take Arkansas, for example.

Arkansas has the fourth highest poverty rate in the country (19.6%). The state is landlocked, so it has no access to international shipping or the robust tourist industry that comes from being a coastal state. They don’t have a single university ranked in the top 100 (California has two in the top five), which ultimately leads to a skilled workforce ranking of 47 out of 50 (California is ranked seventh). Arkansas has the eighth worst healthcare system, while Californians enjoy the seventh best level of care. Whether it’s food scarcity, literacy, obesity, high school graduation rates, access to clean water, unemployment or social service access, California ranks substantially higher than Arkansas, and many other poor states, for that matter.

By any measure, through no fault of its own, Arkansas is not on a level playing field with California, New York or other coastal states privileged by geography, and its time this unfair situation is remedied.

There are those who will argue that California has a negative net balance of payments, which is the amount the state pays in federal taxes versus what it receives in federal benefits. While it is true Arkansas receives more than it pays in, California’s numbers are chump change when compared to the total state budget. In 2019, California had a balance of payments in federal taxes of $-13.8 billion while Arkansas received $12.7 billion more than it paid in. However, California’s total budget in fiscal 2019 was $215 billion, which included a surplus of 17.5 billion.

Instead of frivolous and lavish spending on free healthcare, free payouts to illegal aliens, misguided climate change initiatives and over generous SNAP benefits, California could be sending that money to Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas where it’s sorely needed.

A Wealth Tax for States with Unfair Advantages

Some might call this effort farcical, but in today’s woke environment of wealth confiscation in the name of fairness, a luxury tax on states with abundance due to favorable geography is fair and equitable.

For example, a tax of 10% on a wealthy state’s topline revenue number would be a good place to start. In California’s case, that would be $29.6 billion for fiscal 2023, given to less fortunate states based on comprehensive metrics accounting for their location disadvantages.

I expect woke progressives in California and other wealthy liberal states to embrace this plan and voluntarily begin redistributing their riches to those states who are less fortunate. After all, as we’re constantly reminded by Woke, we must enact more rules and laws until we’re assured that no one is better off financially than the poorest person among us, since all wealth disparity is due to privilege and racism.

Well, privileged Governor Newsom from privileged California, it’s time to step up and walk the walk. Pony up the 10% and don’t complain. As you point out ad nauseum, we all have to pay our fair share.

Let’s see how your liberal country club buddies like this idea…