I periodically mock the crazy statists of California. The state is almost surely doomed to suffer a Greek-style fiscal chaos. The only unknown is whether Illinois will beat the Golden State into default.
But the scam may be coming to an end. Margaret Thatcher famously warned that the problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.
Well, that’s happening sooner in California because more and more people are deciding to leave the state.
Yet the moochers and looters than run the state aren’t learning the right lesson. They think that successful people are a pinata that can be endlessly beaten in the search for more revenue.
But there will come a point when they realize that the geese with the golden eggs are flying away. What will they do when reality slaps them in the face?
In a just and good world, they will realize they screwed up and reverse the horrible policies that crippled California. They will reduce the burden of government spending and replace the state’s class-warfare tax system with a simple and fair flat tax.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world. I’m worried that politicians in Sacramento will read the latest column by Walter Williams and not realize he’s being satirical. Walter starts out with a good description of what’s happening in the state.
California was once the land of opportunity, but it is going down the tubes. …people are already leaving California in great numbers. …roughly 225,000 residents leave California each year — and have done so for the past 10 years. They take their money with them. …California’s out-migration results in large shares of income going to other states, mostly to Nevada ($5.67 billion), Arizona ($4.96 billion), Texas ($4.07 billion) and Oregon ($3.85 billion). That’s the problem. California politicians can fleece people in 2012, but there’s no guarantee that they can do the same in 2013 and later years; people can leave.
He then speculates, tongue in cheek, about what sort of totalitarian measures a state government might take to prevent taxpayers from escaping.
…there might be a way for California politicians to solve their fiscal mess. They can simply stop wealthy people from leaving the state or, alternatively, like some Third World nations, set limits on the amount of assets a resident can take out of the state. …California [could] set up border controls to stop people, as East Germans did at Checkpoint Charlie, before they cross the state line… What California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris might do is sue Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Oregon in the federal courts for enticing, through lower taxes and less onerous regulations, wealthy California taxpayers.
Walter is joking, of course, but keep in mind that the federal government already has ventured into this territory with Orwellian laws such as “FATCA” that create a global reach for bad American tax policy.
And does anyone think the kleptocrats that run California will do the right thing so long as they have any hope that some new expansion of government power will prop up the welfare state for a few more years?
I’m predicting that California will continue its relative decline, particularly when compared to zero-income-tax states like Texas, followed by a nightmare scenario as the special interests groups and their political lackeys look for some way of prolonging the scam.
P.S. Here’s some anti-California humor, including a cartoon that’s very relevant for the upcoming tax-hike referendum, an amusing joke feature Texas and a coyote, a Humpty Dumpty cartoon, a photo that shows the California bureaucracy in action, and a cartoon featuring archaeologists from the future.