Tonight’s State of the State address, given by Governor Gavin Newsom from Sacramento, was the self-aggrandizing festival of vague talking points that Californians have come to expect from the office. “California does democracy like nowhere else in the world.” And we certainly do—A democracy that is completely out of touch with the needs of its citizens, their economic struggles, or the restrictions on their freedoms not known in any other state.
Governor Newsom loves to compare the policies and hardships of California to Texas and Florida. He loves to tout the draconian measures he enforced upon us as measures that “saved lives.” These restrictions on California not only put lives at risk, they devastated the lives of millions of its citizens, small businesses, and industries that will never return. Many in our state have perhaps come to think of our day-to-day lives as normal. To those many, it would do well to look at the rest of the nation and realize that these policies are not normal and did not have the results the Governor claims. As we know now in 2022, this discrepancy can be seen by simply following the science. Perhaps the Governor would do well to, for perhaps the first time, look at the numbers between those two states. California surpassed Texas in COVID cases per million and did so with aggressive and apparently deadly policies that Texas did not implement. California surpassed both Texas and Florida in the total number of COVID deaths, two states that did not impose mandates and are often used by the Governor as examples of states with swaths of deaths and apocalyptic results because they ensured their people retained their basic human freedoms.
Meanwhile, gas prices in California have risen to levels that exceed even those of fictional Hollywood apocalyptic landscapes. The Governor’s solution was, as expected, a plan to increase the availability of oil and its production and ease the hardships of Californians. No, just kidding. He, like Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, offered solutions to the drastic rise in oil prices by repeating that this was just another reason why those struggling to fill up their gas tanks should buy electric cars. A job working for the governor is no doubt difficult to achieve, but it would be a service to the state for someone to point out to Mr. Newsom that those who cannot afford to drive to work cannot afford to go out and buy an electric car. Californians do not have $60,000 in disposable income to spend every time a financial crisis hits. These are the same people who saw no problem with shutting down businesses and livelihoods for over a year, with a hearty “thoughts and prayers” to the millions who could not afford rent or groceries.
It is unconscionable that the Governor, in these extreme times, would flat out refuse to give in to “petro-dictators” and assert that we cannot take active measures to reduce the hardships at the pump because we have wildfires. Perhaps giving into petro-dictators is a bigger issue to him than protecting his friends at PG&E from any legal liability from the wildfires we know they caused. In a state with the highest gas taxes in the nation, and with prices that have surpassed even those of Hawaii, a refusal to do anything to ease the lives of Californians is despicably out of touch, which one would think a governor who went through a recall election in part because of such out of touch policymaking would be more aware of.
Governor Newsom has also again proven that fiscal hardship of Californians is of no concern of this, or that they don’t matter if they don’t affect him. He touts that California issued the largest tax rebate in history, which combined with our $31 billion budget surplus, is not a point towards his administration’s benevolence, but rather of a monstrous hoard that would make Smaug and the Sheriff of Nottingham reconsider their positions. It is not benevolence to return money stolen. It is not benevolence to tax your citizens $31 billion in excess. And it is not benevolence to call a $600 check benevolence. It is time for Californians to see their taxes lowered and thus provide them with a stimulus that King Gavin would otherwise never allow his hoard to bleed. Perhaps the emphasis on blaming climate change for every problem and as a reason to not take any actions has blinded Sacramento to the fact that these are the rainy days the eponymous fund.
The Governor claims “We know that government cannot be the entire solution, but we know that government has always been part of the solution.” And as most of the nation can attest to, this may actually be true for California. Because our solutions have not worked. Our government has made our metrics worse across the board. For a speech that often started each talking point with “think about this,” perhaps the Governor could benefit less from thinking and more from doing. This is why, now more that ever, it is important to support Libertarian policies and candidates. It is time to recognize that millions of Californians struggle each and every day, and in turn issue pauses, preferably outright removals, of inane taxation such as the 51 cent per gallon gas tax, financial penalties for not having health insurance, and others that take away inordinate percentages of our paychecks while the government sits on a $31 billion surplus. Let us continue to ease pointless housing restrictions that greedily restrict the private sector’s ability to solve homelessness. Let us never again be forced to sacrifice our bodily autonomy and call those restrictions what they are. Let us never again threaten police action on those who are trying to save and maintain their life’s work – be it businesses or careers – and call the easing of these reactions “job creation.”
Think about that.
Libertarian Party of California