By Rebekah Rast
When you add together a $13 billion budget deficit, a business climate ranked No. 48 out of 50 and a place where one of four U.S. welfare recipients calls home, you get the State of California.
Once bustling with innovation and productivity, citizens and businesses alike are now participating in a mass exodus from the Golden State.
But how can a state that has done nothing but follow in the footsteps of Big Government, Big Labor and a highly touted progressive agenda, much like the path the entire country is on, turn out so badly? Could it be that the ruling Nanny State doesn’t know best?
Since this is a state where the government is deeply involved in each of its citizens’ lives, lining up very nicely with how this administration would like to rule, a glimpse into California paints a vivid picture for where America is headed.
A look at the numbers gives insight into the state’s toxic business environment. California’s population of a little more than 37 million people boasts an unemployment rate of 11.3 percent in November, much higher than the national average. Its three largest pension systems for public employee union workers have promised $500 billion in unfunded pension liabilities to its retirees. Using higher pension gap numbers, the state is in an overall debt hole of more than $612 billion — the highest debt held by any state in the nation.
Yet, California Gov. Jerry Brown’s big fix for the state: raise taxes on the state’s “rich” citizens while increasing government spending. This should sound familiar as a very similar proposal has been brought up in the White House and by some in Congress to be applied on a national level.
Instead of tackling legitimate problems the state faces, i.e. budget problems, pension shortfalls and why big and small businesses alike are leaving the state in droves, it continues to burrow its way into the lives of its citizens through silly, harmful and foolish laws.
Laws like the one summed up by Investor’s Business Daily that require children younger than 8, except for those taller than 4 feet 9 inches, to sit in booster seats in cars when the previous law allowed 6-year-olds to be out of booster seats.
The article goes on to state:
“Now children who had moved out of cars seats are being forced back into them. Actually, the law is more authoritarian – and offensive and infuriating – than it is silly. It assumes that wise lawmakers have a greater interest in children’s safety than their parents do. It also expands the state’s supervisory role over adults while decreasing their status as free citizens.”
The list of over-regulation and needless laws goes on. Californians of any age can no longer purchase alcohol in self-checkout lines at grocery stores, the legislature took it upon itself to redefine the hot dog so as to better clarify a cooked sausage versus an uncooked one, and it even proposed legislation that would force hotels to use fitted sheets rather than the normal flat sheets most use.
When this is what California’s full-time legislature is busy with, is it any wonder the legislature can’t fix its own state? California is interested in spoon-feeding its citizens making them completely dependent on government and involving itself into every facet of their lives. It loves to spend, spend, spend and when it runs into trouble its solution is to raise taxes rather than ridding itself of its own insidious corruption of lifetime bureaucrats.
What we can learn from California is that the government does not know best. And the whole of America cannot afford to go the way of the Golden State.
Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government (ALG) and NetRightDaily.com. You can follow her on twitter at @RebekahRast.