Michael Ramirez Essay: From Bad to Worse
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by Michael P. Ramirez, December 3, 2023
Just when you thought things could not be worse for America under another Biden term, the prospect of a Gavin Newsom presidency emerges from the depths of the president’s latest polls.
The attention-seeking Governor grabbed more headlines in a debate with Governor DeSantis on Fox News.
It was billed as the battle of governors, the Red State vs Blue State debate. It pitted Newsom’s deep blue liberal policies against DeSantis’ deep red conservative ones.
The debate went about how you might expect it. Untethered, it featured more of Governor DeSantis, Governor Newsom, and Fox host Sean Hannity talking over each other than anything else. But it provided a brief glimpse into some of Newsom’s progressive policies and the impact they have had on his constituents.
The most reassuring thing Newsom said during the entire debate, was pledging not to run for president in 2024… but like everything else he said, it must be taken with a Pacific Ocean of salt. Being from California, trust me, his policies have been more like rubbing salt into your wounds.
Newsom may look and sound like slick polished chrome, that is until you rub off the fake metal coating and reveal the plastic underneath. Tasked with defending his state record, he was doomed from the start.
California is seen more and more by progressives as the blueprint for our nation. California’s governor has paired with a supermajority of Democrats in his state legislature to implement every liberal desire they have.
It is a liberal’s dream and a taxpayer’s nightmare.
California should be a dream. It is the largest state with the largest population, 39.24 million. It is 12% of our national population. If it were a country, California would have the 5th largest economy in the world, only behind the U.S., China, Japan, and Germany. But California ranks 30th in employment to population ratio in the nation. At 13.2%, California has the highest poverty rate in America. In 2023, 31.1% of Californians are poor or near poor.
Housing and Homelessness were two of Newsom’s priorities in 2019. Both are worse today.
California has 30% of the nation’s homeless, 50% of them sleep outside. Since 2020, the national average has increased by 0.4%. California’s homeless population increased by 6%. California, Vermont, and Oregon share the highest homeless rate in America.
California is 49th in housing affordability. The average median-priced home in October 2023 is $840,360, a .4% decrease from September. According to the California Association of Realtors, fewer than 1 in 5 or 16% of Californians can afford to buy a median-priced single-family home.
These are the results when Governor Newsom prioritizes things.
So, what happened to the California Dream?
Long before the Mamas and the Papas sang about California Dreamin’ in 1966, hundreds of thousands rushed to the state in search of the American dream during the Gold Rush in 1848. California was seen as a land of opportunities, new beginnings, jobs, and steady sunshine.
People are now leaving California in bigger numbers. California had negative population growth in 2021 and 2022. Between July 2021 and July 2022, in just one year, more California residents fled to other states than the entire amount of people who came for the gold rush between 1848 and 1852.
It’s now a California exodus. A quick look at RentCafe, a cost-of-living calculator site, provides a few clues as to why. The cost of living in California is 42% higher than the national average.
Compared to the national average:
Housing (buy and rent) is 101% higher.
Utilities (monthly) are 22% higher.
Food is 17% higher.
Healthcare is 9% higher.
Transportation is 27% higher.
Goods and services are 10% higher.
A recent study by the Pew Research Center confirms this. California has the highest cost of living in the country. It also has the highest state income tax and the highest state sales tax rate.
A CALmatters report states, “…California ranks fairly high in overall taxation: 10th highest both per capita and as a percentage of personal income, based on the latest available data from the U.S. Census.”
While residents are fleeing California, criminals are getting bolder. You‘ve seen the videos of the daylight crime raves causing retail stores to close across the state. In the name of progressive sentencing reforms, criminals are no longer being held accountable. Liberal crime policies, jail release, early parole, and bail reforms have continued to turn California into a haven for crime.
California ranks 17th in the nation in violent crimes. That is a 6.1% increase in reported violent crimes and a 6.2% increase in property-related crimes from 2021 to 2023. California has the third-highest vehicle theft rate in the nation. In that same time period, motor vehicle robberies increased by 33.5%, and drug offenses increased by 1%.
They can steal all the cars they want because our energy costs will eventually make them too costly to run.
Remember last year? Right in the middle of record inflation, California’s soaring energy increases were 1.7% faster than the rest of the country, while residential prices were expanding at 2.7 times the national rate. On top of that, Governor Newsom has pledged 100% zero-carbon electricity generation and a carbon-neutral state by 2045. The California Utilities Commission will add gigawatts of renewables and batteries, and upgrade the state transmission grid for the low cost of about $80 billion. That’s about $2,005 cost per person… if they don’t exceed those projections.
To put that in perspective, the initial cost of California’s High-Speed rail fifteen years ago was $33 billion. Not a single train has run yet. A November update now projects that cost to rise to $128 billion.
Where does all this money come from? Businesses and the wealthy are the largest contributors to state revenue. These policies, high taxes, exorbitant housing, and cost of living increases are driving the tax base away. Irresponsible state spending, the disappearance of federal COVID giveaways, and a decline in state revenue have turned a $97.5 billion state surplus into a $31.5 billion deficit.
My band played a gig in Needles, California at the end of this summer. Just across the state line, in Arizona, gas prices were around $3.15 cheaper per gallon. That’s’ worth screaming about.
From Bad To Worse
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