MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Gavin Newsom’

Don’t ‘Californicate’ The Rest Of America – Issues & Insights

Posted by M. C. on November 20, 2020

It isn’t pretty, but that’s precisely where California is now. Other states should be concerned. As Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds observes, some tax refugees from California and other “migrants from high tax states might bring their political attitudes with them, moving to new, low-tax states for the economic opportunity but then supporting the same policies that ruined the states they left.”

Never mind that the party for his buddy, himself a lobbyist, also included a bunch of medical industry lobbyists. The photos show not only more people in attendance than allowed under state guidelines, neither the governor nor his wife were wearing masks.

Newsom called it a “bad mistake.” A better term might be rank hypocrisy, as Newsom himself admitted: “I should have stood up and … drove back to my house … the spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted,” he said. “ I need to preach and practice, not just preach.”

Nice words, but Newsom isn’t alone in his two-faced behavior. This week, a handful of California legislators are enjoying an expenses-paid five-day vacation in Hawaii, where they’re attending the annual Independent Voter Project conference at a high-end resort.

https://issuesinsights.com/2020/11/19/dont-californicate-the-rest-of-america/

By I & I Editorial Board

Photo: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

California was once a shining exemplar of everything a state should be — inventive, creative, energetic, freewheeling, fast-growing and conservative. No more. Today, it’s a giant welfare economy run by far-left kleptocrats and union shills who can’t even keep the lights on. As hundreds of thousands of Californians flee the once-Golden State, the rest of America should ask itself: Will they bring their politics with them?

Put another way, will California’s broken model be adopted by much of the rest of the country, turning reliably red states blue and seeding the nation with high taxes, more rules, corrupt politicians, and slow growth?

We hope not, but given the 2020 election, it’s not an idle question. California’s political class is widely regarded as among the most corrupt, irresponsible, hypocritical, hard left and incompetent of any comparable group of state politicians in the country, which is saying a lot.

The troubles have been on full display this week.

A week after imposing sweeping new restaurant closures across much of the state and telling Californians not to gather in groups for Thanksgiving, California Gov. Gavin Newsom admitted on Monday that he attended a birthday party for an old friend at an ultra-swank Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry.

Never mind that the party for his buddy, himself a lobbyist, also included a bunch of medical industry lobbyists. The photos show not only more people in attendance than allowed under state guidelines, neither the governor nor his wife were wearing masks.

Newsom called it a “bad mistake.” A better term might be rank hypocrisy, as Newsom himself admitted: “I should have stood up and … drove back to my house … the spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted,” he said. “ I need to preach and practice, not just preach.”

Nice words, but Newsom isn’t alone in his two-faced behavior. This week, a handful of California legislators are enjoying an expenses-paid five-day vacation in Hawaii, where they’re attending the annual Independent Voter Project conference at a high-end resort.

The Associated Press says the event “includes policy discussions and schmoozing with corporate sponsors.”

“Organizers booked about 50 rooms and have about 120 people staying at the Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui’s southwest shore,” the AP reported.

In short: One set of rules for average Californians, who have just had a new, strict lockdown imposed, and another for the state’s political elite.

These are just the most recent examples of the misrule and mismanagement of California, which has become a de facto one-party state under the Democrats, who were way ahead of the national curve in turning the state’s elections into fraudulent farces that encourage cheating which systematically benefits their party.

Faced with such poor governance, many Californians have said, “Enough!”

With taxes soaring, quality of life plunging as violent crime and homelessness surge, home prices out of reach, nonsensical government regulations spreading, an increasingly heavy-handed government and a slumping job market, California now ranks 47th out of 50 states on the widely followed Economic Freedom Index issued annually by Canada’s Fraser Institute.

As their future prospects dim, many longtime and even native Californians are leaving for better times in neighboring states such as Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Utah and New Mexico.

More recently, the departing have moved even farther away, relocating in Texas, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama. It’s a “reverse Beverly Hillbillies” migration.

From 2007 to 2016, some 7 million Californians (gross total) left the state, most of them middle-class or upper-class in income. In 2018 alone, the number of economic and quality-of-life refugees surged by nearly 700,000, and the flood appears to be continuing today.

Here’s the problem. It’s one thing to move from a state because it’s going in the wrong direction. It’s quite another to move and not understand that you had something to do with it.

Looking at California’s surrounding states, once bright red in their political hue, there’s an increasing amount of purple and even blue. Former Californians who didn’t like what happened in their state have held on to their foolish leftist voting habits and beliefs, and repeated the pattern elsewhere.

In short, Cali, not to mention New York and other high-tax, high-regulation states that punish businesses and citizens alike, are hemorrhaging citizens to more-friendly states around the country.

The trends in California are especially ominous. As City Journal’s Steve Malanga pointed out in a piece earlier this year dubbed “Calculating the Californication,” a Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, found that 52% of those living in California were considering moving elsewhere.

Among those, more than 71% blamed soaring housing costs and 58% cited high taxes, while almost half pointed to the state’s increasingly radical left, toxic political environment — everything from the “cancel culture” and rampant political correctness, to a reliance on green energy, a crackdown on religion, the release of violent felons, and a decaying, union-run education system that teaches kids to hate America but not basic skills.

As evidence of the latter, one need only point to a recent headline: “Huck Finn, To Kill A Mockingbird, Other Classic Books Banned In California Schools For ‘Racism.’ ” Any wonder that a majority of confused, ignorant young people now embrace socialism and its ideas, while rejecting the greatest wealth- and freedom-creating system ever?

As for those who are leaving, numbers don’t lie.

“Conservatives and moderates are the most unhappy with the state and most anxious to leave,” says Malanga. “Liberals, by contrast, are mostly staying put, and some think life in California is just great. Only 38% of Democrats said that they were considering leaving, compared with 55% of independents and 71% of Republicans.”

As Michael Anton wrote in his recent book, The Stakes: America at the Point of No Return,” which details California’s dystopian government and dysfunctional political culture:

In barely one generation … California was … transformed into a left-liberal one-party state, the most economically unequal and socially divided in the country, ostensibly run by a cadre of would-be Solons in Sacramento and in the courts, but really by oligarchic power concentrated in a handful of industries, above all Big Tech and Big Hollywood.

The middle class — what’s left of them — continue to flee high taxes, higher costs, cratering standards of living, declining services, deteriorating infrastructure, worsening quality of life, and an elite that openly despises them and pushes policies to despoil and dispossess them.

It isn’t pretty, but that’s precisely where California is now. Other states should be concerned. As Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds observes, some tax refugees from California and other “migrants from high tax states might bring their political attitudes with them, moving to new, low-tax states for the economic opportunity but then supporting the same policies that ruined the states they left.”

American states, beware. Take in as many Californians as you wish. But don’t accept California’s far-left, utterly broken governance and cultural model. It’s not “progressive” in any true meaning of the word. And once adopted, it will ruin your own state.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Great California Exodus | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on October 13, 2020

Not only is California going through power shortages but also suffering a government-induced water shortage. The state allowed clean fresh water to travel from rivers into the Pacific Ocean, refusing to consume the natural resource as part of efforts to appease green zealots. The other problem is that farmers are exempt from water restrictions and do not pay market prices. And yet residents can face fines of up to $500 per day if they take a long shower.

https://mises.org/wire/great-california-exodus?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=0ca5137676-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-0ca5137676-228343965

Andrew Moran

German author Franz Kafka wrote in The Metamorphosis, “There is an infinite amount of hope in the universe…but not for us.” The legendary writer might as well have been writing about the state of California, a progressive wasteland that is the personification of everything wrong with leftist orthodoxy. In the mid-nineteenth century, when it became a state, tens of thousands of people headed west. Today, those with a modicum of judgment and respect for their pocketbook are heading anywhere that is not named California, attempting to flee the incompetent mismanagement of Governor Gavin Newsom and his Democratic friends in Sacramento on every subject, from the economy to civil liberties.

The Exodus: A Primer

 California may be the most populous state in the Union, but it could transform into the exodus capital of America. The Golden State has witnessed its population stall, declining slightly from 39.96 million to 39.78 million in the second half of 2019, according to the Department of Finance.

Growth has slowed close to zero or even declined in most coastal counties. The San Francisco Bay Area advanced, and counties east of Los Angeles witnessed modest growth. However, Los Angeles County shed residents for the second consecutive year in 2019. It is unclear how severe the population drop is in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic and the state government’s proposed tax hikes.

Contrary to internet mythos, it is not only high-income earners who are packing up their things and saying goodbye to Newsom. Studies, including one from the Public Policy Institute of California and another by the Empire Center for Public Policy, have found that poorer households are more likely to flee than their affluent counterparts. But considering the policing being proposed or enacted, it is safe to say that the wealthy have no reason to be some of the left behinds.

California Nightmarin’

In August, California Democrats proposed a significant tax hike on the wealthy. The Assembly legislation includes raising the top income tax rate to 16.8 percent, retroactive to January of this year. It would boost the top rate to 14.3 percent for households earning more than $1 million, 16.3 percent on income over $2 million, and 16.8 percent on income above $5 million. A separate bill would slap a 0.4 percent tax on assets topping $30 million.

While this is damaging to the economy and may be considered isolated to the rich, everything else that California is doing is hurting and will continue to hurt everybody else.

 Newsom recently signed an executive order that phases out the sale of all gasoline-powered automobiles by 2035. The EO will still permit these cars to be owned and sold on the used car market, but the measure will certainly push consumers to switch to the heavily subsidized electric vehicle market.

In a statement, Newsom also endorsed a ban on petroleum fracking. However, instead of taking executive action, he urged the California Legislature to adopt prohibitions or restrictions on fracking. This could potentially impact the more than 360,000 people who are employed in the oil and gas sector.

Despite being one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the world, California is mirroring Venezuela by enduring rolling blackouts. For the first time in nearly twenty years, California is launching planned blackouts, prompting the governor to concede that the state needed to “sober up” about renewable energy sources failing to offer enough power for millions of residents at peak demand.

Although local left-leaning politicians and the mainstream press will allude to the widespread wildfires as evidence of climate change, it has been years of gross negligence contributing to the disaster. As Liberty Nation wrote in January 2019:

Most forests are engulfed in dead trees. The saplings are crushed together and consume the water that old-growth trees need, causing them to endure an infestation of pests and a precipitous slide to death. What is necessary is thinning, which can be performed by private logging firms.

Not only is California going through power shortages but also suffering a government-induced water shortage. The state allowed clean fresh water to travel from rivers into the Pacific Ocean, refusing to consume the natural resource as part of efforts to appease green zealots. The other problem is that farmers are exempt from water restrictions and do not pay market prices. And yet residents can face fines of up to $500 per day if they take a long shower.

California has even targeted freelancers as part of politicians’ crusades to save them from the free market’s vile exploitation. Last year, the governor signed into law AB5, a bill that would mandate companies to reclassify freelancers and contingent workers as full-time employees. Organized labor celebrated, but the laborers were outraged—and with good reason. In the immediate aftermath of the legislation, businesses let go of their freelancers, while professional freelancers lost thousands of dollars in income. The state has pivoted slightly, but instead of fully conceding the error of its ways, lawmakers insist AB5 is great.

Despite facing a tremendous budget gap and a pension crisis, the state is hatching a plan for slavery reparations.

And, worse, this is all in addition to the plethora of Coronavirus restrictions Newsom and his pals at the local level have introduced over the last six months.

The list of boondoggles, blunders, and botches can go as long as the lineup to the exit door.

#DontCaliforniaMyArizona

The situation in California has had a snowball effect. Every progressive prescription that has done more harm than good has converted the snowball into an avalanche, leading folks to the nearest exit. They want to hop off the ultraleftist train and find greener pastures. Many prominent figures are either waving goodbye or grieving about the situation. Ben Shapiro and The Daily Wire team have packed up their supplies and are headed to Nashville. Joe Rogan grabbed his cowboy hat and supply of DMT and sought refuge in Texas. Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Mookie Betts griped that the tax rates are crazy. Will you be next? If you have left-leaning views and travel to Texas or Arkansas, be sure to remember the hashtag #DontCaliforniaMyArizona.

Originally published by Liberty Nation. Author:

Andrew Moran

Andrew Moran is the Economics Correspondent at LibertyNation.com and is the author of The War on Cash. You can find more of his work at AndrewMoran.net.

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

California’s Looming ‘Green New Car Wreck’ | Watts Up With That?

Posted by M. C. on October 3, 2020

And it isn’t just me saying this. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agrees. In a letter sent by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to Gavin Newsom on September 28, Wheeler wrote:

“[It] begs the question of how you expect to run an electric car fleet that will come with significant increases in electricity demand, when you can’t even keep the lights on today.

“The truth is that if the state were driving 100 percent electric vehicles today, the state would be dealing with even worse power shortages than the ones that have already caused a series of otherwise preventable environmental and public health consequences.”

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/10/02/californias-looming-green-new-car-wreck/

Anthony Watts

Governor Newsom announces major climate initiative, September 23, 2020. (Screenshot via California Gavin Newsom)

On September 23, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that will ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars in the Golden State by 2035. Ignoring the hard lessons of this past summer, when California’s solar- and wind-reliant electric grid underwent rolling blackouts, Newsom now adds a huge new burden to the grid in the form electric vehicle charging. If California officials follow through and enforce Newsom’s order, the result will be a green new car version of a train wreck.

Let’s run some numbers. According to Statista, there are more than 15 million vehicles registered in California. Per the U.S. Department of Energy, there are only 256,000 electric vehicles registered in the state—just 1.7 percent of all vehicles.

Using the Tesla Model3 mid-range model as a baseline for an electric car, you’ll need to use about 62 kilowatt-hours (KWh) of power to charge a standard range Model 3 battery to full capacity. It will take about eight hours to fully charge it at home using the standard Tesla NEMA 14-50 charger.

Now, let’s assume that by 2040, five years after the mandate takes effect, also assuming no major increase in the number of total vehicles, California manages to increase the number of electric vehicles to 25 percent of the total vehicles in the state. If each vehicle needs an average of 62 kilowatt-hours for a full charge, then the total charging power required daily would be 3,750,000 x 62 KWh, which equals 232,500,000 KWh, or 232.5 gigawatt-hours (GWh) daily.

Utility-scale California solar electric generation according to the energy.ca.gov puts utility-scale solar generation at about 30,000 GWh per year currently. Divide that by 365 days and we get 80 GWh/day, predicted to double, to 160 GWh /day. Even if we add homeowner rooftop solar, about half the utility-scale, at 40 GWh/day we come up to 200 GW/h per day, still 32 GWh short of the charging demand for a 25% electric car fleet in California. Even if rooftop solar doubles by 2040, we are at break-even, with 240GWh of production during the day.

Bottom-line, under the most optimistic best-case scenario, where solar operates at 100% of rated capacity (it seldom does), it would take every single bit of the 2040 utility-scale solar and rooftop capacity just to charge the cars during the day. That leaves nothing left for air conditioning, appliances, lighting, etc. It would all go to charging the cars, and that’s during the day when solar production peaks.

But there’s a much bigger problem. Even a grade-schooler can figure out that solar energy doesn’t work at night, when most electric vehicles will be charging at homes. So, where does Newsom think all this extra electric power is going to come from?

The wind? Wind power lags even further behind solar power. According to energy.gov, as of 2019, California had installed just 5.9 gigawatts of wind power generating capacity. This is because you need large amounts of land for wind farms, and not every place is suitable for high-return wind power.

In 2040, to keep the lights on with 25 percent of all vehicles in California being electric, while maintaining the state mandate requiring all the state’s electricity to come from carbon-free resources by 2045, California would have to blanket the entire state with solar and wind farms. It’s an impossible scenario. And the problem of intermittent power and rolling blackouts would become much worse.

And it isn’t just me saying this. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agrees. In a letter sent by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to Gavin Newsom on September 28, Wheeler wrote:

“[It] begs the question of how you expect to run an electric car fleet that will come with significant increases in electricity demand, when you can’t even keep the lights on today.

“The truth is that if the state were driving 100 percent electric vehicles today, the state would be dealing with even worse power shortages than the ones that have already caused a series of otherwise preventable environmental and public health consequences.”


California’s green new car wreck looms large on the horizon. Worse, can you imagine electric car owners’ nightmares when California power companies shut off the power for safety reasons during fire season? Try evacuating in your electric car when it has a dead battery.

Gavin Newsom’s “no more gasoline cars sold by 2035” edict isn’t practical, sustainable, or sensible. But isn’t that what we’ve come to expect with any and all of these Green New Deal-lite schemes?

I acknowledge the help of Willis Eschenbach in checking the numbers for this article.


Anthony Watts is a senior fellow for environment and climate at The Heartland Institute. He is also an owner of an electric vehicle in California.

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Erie Times E-Edition Article-Progressives inflict progress in California

Posted by M. C. on September 19, 2020

Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation requiring all 430,000 undergraduates in the California State University system to take an “ethnic studies” course, and there may soon be a similar mandate for all high-school students. “Ethnic studies” is an anodyne description for what surely will be, in the hands of woke “educators,” grievance studies.

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=02be34d5b

California, our national warning, shows how unchecked progressives inflict progress. They have placed on November ballots Proposition 16 to repeal the state constitution’s provision, enacted by referendum in 1996, forbidding racial preferences in public education, employment and contracting. Repeal, which would repudiate individual rights in favor of group entitlements, is part of a comprehensive California agenda to make everything about race, ethnicity and gender. Especially education, thereby supplanting education with its opposite.

The 1996 ban on preferences was not intended to, and did not, end all measures to increase the participation of minorities and women in the state’s post-secondary education, or in doing business with the state government. So, Proposition 16 should be seen primarily as an act of ideological aggression, a bold assertion that racial and gender quotas — identity politics translated into a spoils system — should be forthrightly proclaimed and permanently practiced as a positive good.

California already requires that by the end of 2021 some publicly traded companies based in the state must have at least three women on their boards of directors, up from the 2018 requirement of one woman. Last month, the legislature mandated that by the end of 2021 at least one director shall be Black, Latino, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Alaskan Native, or identify as LGBTQ. And by 2022, boards with nine or more directors must include at least three government favored minorities.

Where will this social sorting end? Proposition 16’s aim is to see that there is no end to the industry of improvising remedial measures to bring “social justice” to a fundamentally unjust state, and nation. The aim is to dilute, to the point of disappearance, inhibitions about government using group entitlements — racial, ethnic and gender — for social engineering. Most important, Proposition 16 greases the state’s slide into the engineering of young souls.

They are to be treated as raw material for public education suffused with the spirit of Oceania in George Orwell’s “1984”: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” Progressives have a practical objective in teaching the essential squalor of the nation’s past. The New York Times’s “1619 Project” — it preaches that the nation’s real founding was the arrival of the first slaves; the nation is about racism — is being adopted by schools as a curriculum around the nation. If the past can be presented as radically wrong, radical remedies will seem proportionate.

Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation requiring all 430,000 undergraduates in the California State University system to take an “ethnic studies” course, and there may soon be a similar mandate for all high-school students. “Ethnic studies” is an anodyne description for what surely will be, in the hands of woke “educators,” grievance studies.

Discussions of the proposed high-school requirement are being conducted in the progressive patois about “collective narratives of transformative resistance” in the “postimperial life” of a nation groaning under the bondage of capitalist, patriarchal and other “systems of power.” Students will be taught to become “positive actors,” with the government’s public-education bureaucracy stipulating what political positions are and are not “positive.”

Coming in the context of such measures, Proposition 16’s proposed repeal of the ban on racial preferences should be understood as repealing all scruples about the government- approved groupthink that Orwell warned against in “1984.” In this enterprise, California progressives have company.

Writing in the British journal Standpoint, Charles Parton, with 22 years of diplomatic experience working in and on China, explains that President Xi Jinping’s hostility to freedom’s prerequisites includes root-and-branch rejection of education, understood as the development of individuals’ abilities to think critically. Xi, who calls teachers “engineers of the soul,” wants education to be, Parton says, “collective, ideological and political.” The Chinese Communist Party says education begins by “grasping the baby,” primary school promotes “loving” the party, socialism and the collective, secondary schools inculcate “the ideology of socialist builders,” and universities must be, in Xi’s words, “CCP strongholds.”

The CCP’s and California’s indoctrinators differ somewhat concerning the particular mentalities they aim to impose. But both groups would extinguish actual education — teaching individuals how, as opposed to what, to think.

The principal difference is that the CCP is more candid than California is about replacing thinking with the regurgitation of governmentstipulated orthodoxies.

In 1932, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis celebrated how a single state “may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” Or as a warning to it. George Will is a Washington Post columnist. Email him at georgewill@washpost.com.

George Will

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why U.S. Wildfires Hit California More Than the Southeast | Intellectual Takeout

Posted by M. C. on September 18, 2020

The wildfires are a reminder of an unpleasant reality: governments are poor stewards of the environment.

Looking elsewhere for a solution.

https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/why-u-s-wildfires-hit-california-more-than-the-southeast/

By Jon Miltimore

California wildfires continue to blaze in one of the worst fire seasons in recent memory. While California fires are nothing new, government data show the damage has been substantial.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says that since August 15, when California’s fire activity accelerated, there have been at least 24 fatalities and more than 4,200 structures destroyed. (Ten people have also died in Oregon, CNN reports.) So far in 2020, California wildfires have burned more than 3.2 million acres of land – an area roughly the size of Connecticut.

As the fires rage, politicians argue over what (and who) is to blame.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti say climate change is the culprit, while President Donald Trump says the fires are the result of poor land management.

These answers are not mutually exclusive, of course, and evidence suggests that both poor land management and California’s high temperatures and arid climate have played a role.

While addressing California’s extreme temperatures is difficult, especially in the short term (unless you’re a member of the X-Men named Storm), evidence suggests immediate solutions are available to improve state and federal forestry management.

Excessive Extinguishing

Citing the fires scorching the West, The New York Times last week ran an article that stated it was time for government agencies to rethink their fire management policies.

“For over a century, firefighting agencies have focused on extinguishing fires whenever they occur. That strategy has often proved counterproductive,” the Times reports. “Many landscapes evolved to burn periodically, and when fires are suppressed, vegetation builds up thickly in forests. So when fires do break out, they tend to be far more severe and destructive.”

This was precisely what economist Jairaj Devadiga pointed out in a 2018 FEE article that examined why California’s wildfires historically have been much worse than those of Baja California, where fires are allowed to burn naturally at low intensity, regularly clearing out forest floors and limiting the spread of large conflagrations.

Though the Times doesn’t mention Baja California, the paper does endorse the Mexican state’s strategy of allowing fires to burn naturally to eliminate vegetation, pointing out that experts attribute the tactic to the more successful fire prevention approach found in the Southeastern United States.

Scientists who study wildfires agree that allowing forests and grasslands to burn periodically — by, say, intentionally setting smaller fires under controlled conditions — can be a more effective way to clear out vegetation. In Ponderosa pine forests, for instance, low-level fire can nurture ecosystems and help prevent destructive large-scale fires from breaking out.

This already occurs in the Southeastern United States, where officials use prescribed fires to burn millions of acres each year. While the region still sees destructive blazes — like Tennessee’s drought-fueled Great Smoky Mountains fires in 2016, which killed at least 14 people — experts credit the use of controlled burns with sparing many Southeastern communities from fire damage.

Contrary to Western states, “fire is widely accepted as a tool for land management in the Southeast,” fire scientist Crystal Kolden told the Times. This is in stark contrast to California, where just 50,000 acres were intentionally burned in 2017. (As a point of reference, academics estimate between 4.4 million and 11.8 million acres of forest burned annually in prehistoric California.)

Fortunately, it appears that political leaders are beginning to recognize the problem. In August,

Newsom signed a memo acknowledging California needs more preventive fire.

While this is a step in the right direction, federal regulations could prove an obstacle to the strategy.

As Sam Rutzick at Reason point outs, the Clean Air Act of 1990 treats the smoke from a controlled burn as a pollutant (in contrast to a wildfire allowed to burn) and the National Environmental Policy Act requires “a couple-thousand-page document analyzing every single conceivable impact to the environment that the (burn) plan might have.”

Ownership vs. Stewardship

The wildfires are a reminder of an unpleasant reality: governments are poor stewards of the environment.

 

As the economist Holly Fretwell has observed, it has become conventional wisdom that government officials know best when it comes to protecting the environment. But the reality is government officials and bureaucrats operate under incentive structures and management systems that often run counter to effective land management.

Unlike private landowners, they have little incentive to be prudent long-term stewards of the land, which is why, Fretwell points out, “almost one-third of the acreage managed by the Forest Service is at high risk of catastrophic wildfire.”

The truth is federal agencies are much better at enforcing regulations than providing meaningful land stewardship. This is one of inherent problems when lands are owned collectively. As FEE’s Webb Beard has observed, echoing Aristotle, when something is owned by everyone, it is effectively owned by no one. The incentive to maintain or improve it is removed because these decision-makers do not benefit from prudent stewardship, and often do benefit from imprudent exploitation, neglect, and virtue-signaling but counterproductive “protection.”

This is why many economists see property rights as a solution to federal land mismanagement. When individuals own something, they have incentive to maintain it and protect it effectively, evidenced by the strong record of private property owners who have turned around threatened ecosystems.

“Ted Turner and buffalo ranchers brought the buffalo population back from the brink of extinction because of property rights. Fishermen almost fished the population of British Columbia halibut into extinction, and property rights brought their population back,” Beard wrote. “In many regions of Africa, trophy hunting helps to keep populations of certain animals from dipping to extinction levels and helps to fund conservation.”

If you’re wondering why you rarely hear of wildfires ravaging Texas, consider this fact: 95 percent of Texas’ land mass is privately owned.

As the Times points out, effectively managing wildfires will require “a cultural shift” in thinking.

This means finally accepting the efficacy of prescribed burning, but it also means decentralizing the process and allowing more private ownership and more localized stewardship over these lands.

As Dr. Kolden points out, indigenous populations have a long track record of using fire effectively to manage forested areas.

“We should be empowering the people who know how to do this,” Kolden told the Times.

This is no small matter. It’s not exactly the hallmark of government agencies and bureaucrats to acknowledge that others might have more local knowledge and expertise to solve a problem than they do.

There’s also the matter of addressing federal regulations that make it difficult for state agencies to use controlled burning as a tool (though simply eliminating policies that call for automatically extinguishing natural blazes is a step in the right direction).

It should also be acknowledged that no solution will immediately solve California’s wildfire problem. The journal Nature Sustainability published a report in February stating the Golden State would have to burn 20 million acres of forested land to restore forest health. You don’t solve a century’s worth of mismanagement overnight.

The good news is, as Elizabeth Weil noted in a recent ProPublica article, “we know how to prevent megafires.” The solution is ending aggressive fire suppression and empowering individuals who understand land management.

Lenya Quinn-Davidson, a fire adviser for the University of California Cooperative Extension and director of the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council, said this means embracing the hands-off fire prevention culture of the Southeast.

“Your average person goes out back with Grandpa, and they burn 10 acres on the back 40 you know, on a Sunday,” Quinn-Davidson told Weil.

In other words, it means relinquishing control, which is something politicians and bureaucrats have a hard time doing, especially in the Golden State.

That may be the biggest hurdle for preventing disastrous wildfires in California.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has appeared in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Washington Times.

Be seeing you

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday said there could be a potential third wave of the coronavirus and policymakers need to be “humbled” by what they do not know about SARS-CoV-2.

Posted by M. C. on May 18, 2020

So says the head policy maker.

He does a lot of talking for someone who admits he doesn’t know much.

Woe is Kalifornia.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/05/17/gavin-newsom-worried-about-potential-third-waves-of-coronavirus/

Gavin Newsom Worried About ‘Potential Third Waves’ of Coronavirus

by Tony Lee

…“But, look, I’m a father of four kids, and deeply anxious about their health and safety, as every parent watching is as well. And so it’s just another proof point. Those that claim we know what we know about this pandemic, it was 90 days ago no one even knew the word Covid, let alone what corona actually meant,” he continued. ” And so we are in a situation where, every day, we have to be humbled by what we don’t know, and we have to be open to argument, interested in evidence. You cannot be ideological about this disease, and nor — forgive me for belaboring — can we be naive.”…

Be seeing you

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rent Control Is Nuts – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on May 18, 2020

And according to Assar Lindbeck, a Swedish economist, “In many cases, rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city except for bombing.” Almost as a follow up, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach averred: “The Americans couldn’t destroy Hanoi, but we have destroyed our city by the very low rents.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/05/walter-e-block/rent-control/

By

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY, 14th District) has called for nation-wide rent control. AOC’s plan is to not allow rent increases larger than 3% per year. This is somewhat surprising, given that she majored in economics at prestigious Boston University. I – along with virtually every other economics professor in the country — am always at great pains to present in my introductory to micro-economics courses the familiar supply and demand diagram. It demonstrates that rents below equilibrium levels create shortages. I suppose she missed that lecture. If so, she really should have obtained the class notes from someone else, and/or perused her introductory textbook.

Senator Bernie Sanders has, if anything, done her one better: he is calling for a national rent control policy. California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed into law a policy along similar lines: rent increases shall be limited to 5% annually, in addition to any inflationary increases; this is coupled with making it more difficult to evict tenants.

Present New York City policy is very much in keeping with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s plan. It has recently worsened its previous rather Draconian rent control legislation. The presumed aim is to help tenants. But, there is something in economics called “unintended consequences.” Translation: “the plans of mice and men often go astray.”

Suppose, instead of exacerbating its rent control regulations, that the city council of this great city had tried this sort of thing with a different consumer good. Suppose the Big Apple had passed a law placing a ceiling of $1 on a fast food meal.The obvious result would be that McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s and their ilk would pretty much vacate the entire city. Posit that the city council mandated that gas stations charge no more than $1 per gallon. A similar result would ensue. Denizens of the New York City would be greatly inconvenienced.

Mr. DeBlasio would never institute any such ridiculous initiative. He would be laughed out of office if he did. Why, then, does the mayor think he can get away with inculcating analogous rules for residential real estate? This is because while burger and gas emporiums can easily locate elsewhere, the same is not true for buildings. If the owners had their ‘druthers, and this were economically and legally possible, they would hoist their real estate holdings upon onto giant wheeled vehicles, and roll them out of the city as soon as possible. New York City would then have no more accommodation for tenants than it would have fast food outlets or gas stations, under our hypothetical contrary to fact scenarios.

Of course, landlords can do no such thing, much as they would like to; heck, they would give their eye teeth to be able to cock a snook at the politicians in this manner.

But this inability of landlords does not mean that rent controls have no adverse effects upon local residents. They can certainly build less new capacity than would otherwise be the case. They may be legally compelled to upkeep and maintain presently existing apartments, but they will do so only reluctantly. “The customer is always right” which prevails in most industries, and will continue to do so for commercial and industrial real estate, which lack such unwise price controls, but will not apply to residential units. They will fight like the dickens to convert their holdings to condominiums and cooperatives. They will have incentives to – how can I put this delicately – not to be too unhappy if their buildings accidentally catch fire. Do we really want to promote such incentives, whether or not they actually become implemented?

Vacancy rates will plummet even further, with these new dispensations. This will have negative repercussions on labor mobility, when occupants fear to give up their rent controlled units. There will be a tendency to convert apartments to stores, to industrial and commercial uses. New laws will have to be enacted to prevent this, and will not be totally successful. Landlord – tenant relations will plummet even further (not of course for non-controlled, non-residential units.) New York City already has special courts charged with solving these confrontations. This is something not at all needed in any other industry. These costs are substantial, and the money misallocated in this direction could have been far more wisely spent.

The economics profession is not unified on too many issues, but this one is an exception. Opposition to rent control stretches all the way from Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek on one stretch of the political spectrum, to several scholars on the very opposite side. For example, in the view of Nobel Prize winner in economics Gunner Myrdal, “Rent control has in certain western countries constituted, maybe, the worst example of poor planning by governments lacking courage and vision.” And according to Assar Lindbeck, a Swedish economist, “In many cases, rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city except for bombing.” Almost as a follow up, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach averred: “The Americans couldn’t destroy Hanoi, but we have destroyed our city by the very low rents.”

It is urged in favor of this policy that tenants are poorer than property owners, and, often, are compelled to spend an inordinate percentage of their salaries on rent. But, with fewer buildings being constructed, and more of them falling into disarray due to reduced maintenance, upward pressure on rent levels, paradoxically, will tend to be the result. It is an economic truism that the less supply, other things equal, the higher the price. There are no exceptions for housing, or based on the fact that this expenditure plays a large role in the budgets of poor and middle class householders.

In any case, we do not single out textile manufacturers and insist they alone help clothe the impoverished, that only grocers and restaurants feed them, that automobile, air conditioner and television purveyors all on their own make these products available to those who cannot afford them. All of these income transfers come out of general funds. I do not at all favor any of these policies, but fair is fair. Why should housing be any different? Why should landlords, alone, have to bear the entire burden of housing the poor?

Not only should these latest violations of private property rights be rescinded, but the entire notion that rent control can alleviate housing shortages and high fees should be confined to the dust bin not only of history, but of economics too. From a legal point of view, this is a taking. Landlords should be compensated for this seizure of the (value of) their property.

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ground Control to Planet Lockdown: This Is Only a Test — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on April 4, 2020

The absolutely key issue is how the West was caught completely unprepared for the spread of Covid-19 – even after being provided a head start of two months by China, and having the time to study different successful strategies applied across Asia.

There are no secrets for the success of the South Korean model.

South Korea was producing test kits already in early January, and by March was testing 100,000 people a day, after establishing strict control of the whole population – to Western cries of “no protection of private life”. That was before the West embarked on Planet Lockdown mode.

Forced vaccination and ID implants

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/04/02/ground-control-planet-lockdown-only-test/

Pepe Escobar

As much as Covid-19 is a circuit breaker, a time bomb and an actual weapon of mass destruction (WMD), a fierce debate is raging worldwide on the wisdom of mass quarantine applied to entire cities, states and nations.

Those against it argue Planet Lockdown not only is not stopping the spread of Covid-19 but also has landed the global economy into a cryogenic state – with unforeseen, dire consequences. Thus quarantine should apply essentially to the population with the greatest risk of death: the elderly.

With Planet Lockdown transfixed by heart-breaking reports from the Covid-19 frontline, there’s no question this is an incendiary assertion.

In parallel, a total corporate media takeover is implying that if the numbers do not substantially go down, Planet Lockdown – an euphemism for house arrest – remains, indefinitely.

Michael Levitt, 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry and Stanford biophysicist, was spot on when he calculated that China would get through the worst of Covid-19 way before throngs of health experts believed, and that “What we need is to control the panic”.

Let’s cross this over with some facts and dissident opinion, in the interest of fostering an informed debate.

The report Covid-19 – Navigating the Uncharted was co-authored by Dr. Anthony Fauci – the White House face of the fight –, H. Clifford Lane, and CDC director Robert R. Redfield. So it comes from the heart of the U.S. healthcare establishment.

The report explicitly states, “the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.”

On March 19, four days before Downing Street ordered the British lockdown, Covid-19 was downgraded from the status of “High Consequence Infectious Disease.”

John Lee, recently retired professor of pathology and former NHS consultant pathologist, has recently argued that, “the world’s 18,944 coronavirus deaths represent 0.14 per cent of the total. These figures might shoot up but they are, right now, lower than other infectious diseases that we live with (such as flu).”

He recommends, “a degree of social distancing should be maintained for a while, especially for the elderly and the immune-suppressed. But when drastic measures are introduced, they should be based on clear evidence. In the case of Covid-19, the evidence is not clear.”

That’s essentially the same point developed by a Russian military intel analyst.

No less than 22 scientists – see here and here – have expanded on their doubts about the Western strategy.

Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, Professor Emeritus of Medical Microbiology at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, has provoked immense controversy with his open letter to Chancellor Merkel, stressing the “truly unforeseeable consequences of the drastic containment measures which are currently being applied in large parts of Europe.”

Even New York governor Andrew Cuomo admitted on the record about the error of quarantining elderly people with illnesses alongside the fit young population.

The absolutely key issue is how the West was caught completely unprepared for the spread of Covid-19 – even after being provided a head start of two months by China, and having the time to study different successful strategies applied across Asia.

There are no secrets for the success of the South Korean model.

South Korea was producing test kits already in early January, and by March was testing 100,000 people a day, after establishing strict control of the whole population – to Western cries of “no protection of private life”. That was before the West embarked on Planet Lockdown mode.

South Korea was all about testing early, often and safely – in tandem with quick, thorough contact tracing, isolation and surveillance.

Covid-19 carriers are monitored with the help of video-surveillance cameras, credit card purchases, smartphone records. Add to it SMS sent to everyone when a new case is detected near them or their place of work. Those in self-isolation need an app to be constantly monitored; non-compliance means a fine to the equivalent of $2,800.

Controlled demolition in effect

In early March, the Chinese Journal of Infectious Diseases, hosted by the Shanghai Medical Association, pre-published an Expert Consensus on Comprehensive Treatment of Coronavirus in Shanghai. Treatment recommendations included, “large doses of vitamin C…injected intravenously at a dose of 100 to 200 mg / kg per day. The duration of continuous use is to significantly improve the oxygenation index.”

That’s the reason why 50 tons of Vitamin C was shipped to Hubei province in early February. It’s a stark example of a simple “mitigation” solution capable of minimizing economic catastrophe.

In contrast, it’s as if the brutally fast Chinese “people’s war” counterpunch against Covid-19 had caught Washington totally unprepared. Steady intel rumbles on the Chinese net point to Beijing having already studied all plausible leads towards the origin of the Sars-Cov-2 virus – vital information that will be certainly weaponized, Sun Tzu style, at the right time.

As it stands, the sustainability of the complex Eurasian integration project has not been substantially compromised. As the EU has provided the whole planet with a graphic demonstration of its cluelessness and helplessness, everyday the Russia-China strategic partnership gets stronger – increasingly investing in soft power and advancing a pan-Eurasia dialogue which includes, crucially, medical help.

Facing this process, the EU’s top diplomat, Joseph Borrell, sounds indeed so helpless: “There is a global battle of narratives going on in which timing is a crucial factor. […] China has brought down local new infections to single figures – and it is now sending equipment and doctors to Europe, as others do as well. China is aggressively pushing the message that, unlike the U.S., it is a responsible and reliable partner. In the battle of narratives we have also seen attempts to discredit the EU (…) We must be aware there is a geo-political component including a struggle for influence through spinning and the ‘politics of generosity’. Armed with facts, we need to defend Europe against its detractors.”

That takes us to really explosive territory. A critique of the Planet Lockdown strategy inevitably raises serious questions pointing to a controlled demolition of the global economy. What is already in stark effect are myriad declinations of martial law, severe social media policing in Ministry of Truth mode, and the return of strict border controls.

These are unequivocal markings of a massive social re-engineering project, complete with inbuilt full monitoring, population control and social distancing promoted as the new normal.

That would be taking to the limit Secretary of State Mike “we lie, we cheat, we steal” Pompeo’s assertion, on the record, that Covid-19 is a live military exercise: “This matter is going forward — we are in a live exercise here to get this right.”

All hail BlackRock

So as we face a New Great Depression, steps leading to a Brave New World are already discernable. It goes way beyond a mere Bretton Woods 2.0, in the manner that Pam and Russ Martens superbly deconstruct the recent $2 trillion, Capitol Hill-approved stimulus to the U.S. economy.

Essentially, the Fed will “leverage the bill’s $454 million bailout slush fund into $4.5 trillion”. And no questions are allowed on who gets the money, because the bill simply cancels the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for the Fed.

The privileged private contractor for the slush fund is none other than BlackRock. Here’s the extremely short version of the whole, astonishing scheme, masterfully detailed here.

Wall Street has turned the Fed into a hedge fund. The Fed is going to own at least two thirds of all U.S. Treasury bills wallowing in the market before the end of the year.

The U.S. Treasury will be buying every security and loan in sight while the Fed will be the banker – financing the whole scheme.

So essentially this is a Fed/ Treasury merger. A behemoth dispensing loads of helicopter money – with BlackRock as the undisputable winner.

BlackRock is widely known as the biggest money manager on the planet. Their tentacles are everywhere. They own 5% of Apple, 5% of Exxon Mobil, 6% of Google, second largest shareholder of AT&T (Turner, HBO, CNN, Warner Brothers) – these are just a few examples.

They will buy all these securities and manage those dodgy special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) on behalf of the Treasury.

BlackRock not only is the top investor in Goldman Sachs. Better yet: Blackrock is bigger than Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank combined. BlackRock is a serious Trump donor. Now, for all practical purposes, it will be the operating system – the Chrome, Firefox, Safari – of Fed/Treasury.

This represents the definitive Wall Street-ization of the Fed – with no evidence whatsoever it will lead to any improvement in the lives of the average American.

Western corporate media, en masse, have virtually ignored the myriad, devastating economic consequences of Planet Lockdown. Wall to wall coverage barely mentions the astonishing economic human wreckage already in effect – especially for the masses barely surviving, so far, in the informal economy.

For all practical purposes, the Global War on Terror (GWOT) has been replaced by the Global War on Virus (GWOV). But what is not being seriously analyzed is the Perfect Toxic Storm: a totally shattered economy; The Mother of All Financial Crashes – barely masked by the trillions in helicopter money from the Fed and the ECB; the tens of millions of unemployed engendered by the New Great Depression; the millions of small businesses that will simply disappear; a widespread, global mental health crisis. Not to mention the masses of elderly, especially in the U.S., that will be issued an unspoken “drop dead” notice.

Beyond any rhetoric about “decoupling”, the global economy is already, de facto, split in two. On one side, we have Eurasia, Africa and swathes of Latin America – what China will be painstakingly connecting and reconnecting via the New Silk Roads. On the other side, we have North America and selected Western vassals. A puzzled Europe lies in the middle.

A cryogenically induced global economy certainly facilitates a reboot. Trumpism is the New Exceptionalism – so that means an isolationist MAGA on steroids. In contrast, China will painstakingly reboot its market base along the New Silk Roads – Africa and Latin America included – to replace the 20% of trade/exports to be lost with the U.S.

The meager $1,200 checks promised to Americans are a de facto precursor of the much touted Universal Basic Income (UBI). They may become permanent as tens of millions of people will be permanently unemployed. That will facilitate the transition towards a totally automated, 24/7 economy run by AI – thus the importance of 5G.

And that’s where ID2020 comes in.

AI and ID2020

The European Commission is involved in a crucial but virtually unknown project, CREMA (Cloud Based Rapid Elastic Manufacturing) which aims to facilitate the widest possible implementation of AI in conjunction to the advent of a cashless One-World system.

The end of cash necessarily implies a One-World government capable of dispensing – and controlling – UBI; a de facto full accomplishment of Foucault’s studies on biopolitics. Anyone is liable to be erased from the system if an algorithm equals this individual with dissent.

It gets even sexier when absolute social control is promoted as an innocent vaccine.

ID2020 is self-described as a benign alliance of “public-private partners”. Essentially, it is an electronic ID platform based on generalized vaccination. And its starts at birth; newborns will be provided with a “portable and persistent biometrically-linked digital identity.”

GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, pledges to “protect people’s health “ and provide “immunization for all”. Top partners and sponsors, apart from the WHO, include, predictably, Big Pharma.

At the ID2020 Alliance summit last September in New York, it was decided that the “Rising to the Good ID Challenge” program would be launched in 2020. That was confirmed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) this past January in Davos. The digital identity will be tested with the government of Bangladesh.

That poses a serious question: was ID2020 timed to coincide with what a crucial sponsor, the WHO, qualified as a pandemic? Or was a pandemic absolutely crucial to justify the launch of ID2020?

As game-changing trial runs go, nothing of course beats Event 201, which took place less than a month after ID2020.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with, once again, the WEF, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, described Event 201 as “a high-level pandemic exercise”. The exercise “illustrated areas where public/private partnerships will be necessary during the response to a severe pandemic in order to diminish large-scale economic and societal consequences.”

With Covid-19 in effect as a pandemic, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was forced to issue a statement basically saying they just “modeled a fictional coronavirus pandemic, but we explicitly stated that it was not a prediction”.

There’s no question “a severe pandemic, which becomes ‘Event 201’ would require reliable cooperation among several industries, national governments, and key international institutions”, as spun by the sponsors. Covid-19 is eliciting exactly this kind of “cooperation”. Whether it’s “reliable” is open to endless debate.

The fact is that, all over Planet Lockdown, a groundswell of public opinion is leaning towards defining the current state of affairs as a global psyop: a deliberate global meltdown – the New Great Depression – imposed on unsuspecting citizens by design.

The powers that be, taking their cue from the tried and tested, decades-old CIA playbook, of course are breathlessly calling it a “conspiracy theory”. Yet what vast swathes of global public opinion observe is a – dangerous – virus being used as cover for the advent of a new, digital financial system, complete with a forced vaccine cum nanochip creating a full, individual, digital identity.

The most plausible scenario for our immediate future reads like clusters of smart cities linked by AI, with people monitored full time and duly micro-chipped doing what they need with a unified digital currency, in an atmosphere of Bentham’s and Foucault’s Panopticum on overdrive.

So if this is really our future, the existing world-system has to go. This is a test, this is only a test.

 

Be seeing you

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Coronavirus Counterfactual: What If Government Had Done Nothing? | RealClearMarkets

Posted by M. C. on March 21, 2020

Free people naturally prosper, and they do precisely because their individual wellbeing means so much to them. Had governments done nothing in response to the Coronavirus, individuals and businesses would have done much more, and done so without going out of business. The Ruling Class overseeing this crack-up deserves the mother of all comeuppances that goes well beyond losing in the next election cycle. The architects of this wholly avoidable debacle need to be publicly shamed and ridiculed.

The restaurant smoking ban laws in PA are a great example. Restaurants become mostly smoke free on their own. PA then passed laws and took the credit.

https://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2020/03/21/a_coronavirus_counterfactual_what_if_government_had_done_nothing_487172.html

By John Tamny

“The Pothole” is the title of episode 16, season 8 of the classic television series Seinfeld. In this one Jerry accidentally knocks girlfriend Jenna’s toothbrush into the toilet, only for Jenna to use it before Jerry can tell her about his accident. This rated a plotline given Seinfeld’s known aversion to germs. Readers can imagine where the story went. Seinfeld was surely a comedy defined by manufactured situations “about nothing,” but one reason the show was so popular (and still is) is that people could relate.

Certainly they could relate to Seinfeld’s obsessive aversion to germs. We all know people like this, or we are those people. These individuals never open doors by the door handle, wipe down tray tables and armrests on airplanes, and particularly if they have young kids, they require all visitors to wash or disinfect their hands upon entering their house or apartment.

In a work sense, most readers can probably remember their first job, or jobs. They paid hourly. If so, no doubt some can remember how holiday work paid double the hourly wage, or sometimes more. Eager to remain open for customers whose wants and needs didn’t and don’t cease on holidays, businesses pay workers extra to make sure they’ll serve their customers on days when most aren’t working.

These anecdotes have come to mind a lot while witnessing the mass shutdown of the U.S. economy on the city, state, and national level.  As this is being written, California’s 40 million residents are on lockdown per the order of Governor Gavin Newsom. The mayor of Hoboken (NJ) banned restaurants and bars from serving food, plus instituted a 10 pm to 5 am curfew. As all too many already know, Austin’s mayor canceled South by Southwest, thus devastating local businesses. On the national level, President Trump has ascribed to himself “wartime” powers, plus the federal government he leads is in the process of voting itself over $1 trillion to hand out to individuals and businesses.

About this extraction of enormous wealth from the U.S. economy, it barely rates mention that the Founders wrote the Constitution to severely limit the power of the federal government to do anything. Where then, is the outrage over a federal government set to spend $1 trillion? In fairness to the American people, it’s arguable they’re too stunned to protest after seeing politicians on all levels so rapidly take from them their ability to work and enjoy the fruits of their work. They’re told the crushing of the economy by the political class is “for their own good,” and that they should respect the “science” informing their decisions. Don’t the American people get it, politicians are fighting to save our lives! Since they are, we apparently must forfeit our liberty and prosperity.

Seemingly lost in all this alleged governmental beneficence is that people broadly get it. See once again Seinfeld. The episode was relatable because we yet again know all-too-many people who are exceedingly careful about being around the sick or those they presume to be germ carriers. This is true even in times free of viruses like Covid-19. Translated, people are self-regulating when it comes to their health. They don’t need a law.

That they don’t raises at this point a counterfactual question: what would have happened on the city, state and national levels if politicians had quite simply done nothing in response to the spreading virus? If so, does anyone seriously think that the death rate would be substantially higher, and that information about this potentially lethal virus wouldn’t have reached a population increasingly connected to the internet all day, and every day?

To the above, some might reply that rural types don’t always have internet access similar to that which cityfolk do, but then per demands of politicians around the world, they’re already isolated or socially distant. If our political minders are to be believed, their chosen isolation would make their being exposed to the virus highly unlikely assuming what’s even less likely: that they wouldn’t have been informed of the spread of a health-sapping virus well ahead of time.

So what of cities, and suburbs of cities? No doubt the risk of exposure would be greater for a variety of reasons, but then it’s safe to say that germaphobes in the best of times would be positively OCD in times like this. Not needing a law, they would socially distance themselves simply because that’s what they already do when viruses aren’t spreading.

Some will respond that others wouldn’t or won’t do as politicians demand. Yes, that’s true. And your point? Heroin is illegal, so is cocaine, but people still consume both. Lockdowns or none, some will disregard the risks that come with contracting Covid-19 much as they disregard the much-reported-on risks of heroin and cocaine use. Laws don’t factor with these individuals, at which point their interactions with one another, and potential infection with the virus, would have and realistically will provide crucial information about how rapidly the virus spreads, how lethal it is, etc.

What about businesses? What if there had been no lockdowns? It’s safe to say that many would have operated short-staffed as is with germaphobes top of mind. Rather than forced furloughs, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that a good percentage of workers on all levels of the economic food chain would have voluntarily opted out. Others fearful of contracting the virus would have used this time to take a well-needed and rather isolated vacation somewhere, including one of the “staycation” variety.

The main thing is that as opposed to businesses shutting down, it’s not unreasonable to contend that in concert with certain workers opting out or vacationing during the period of greatest Covid uncertainty, patronage of bars, restaurants, movie theaters, amusement parks, stadiums, arenas, hotels, motels, casinos and everything else would similarly decline naturally, thus shrinking the need for fully staffed operations. This would once again materialize not by law, but based on the germ-obsessed and virus-averse choosing to stay at home, or away from crowds. An informed citizenry, one that is better informed than ever thanks to the internet, would revert to relative isolation in a numbers sense to mitigate the close interactions that doctors and scientists say are problematic.

And what if some businesses stayed packed no matter what? If so, high customer demand would have given businesses fearful of morphing into contagion zones a reason to limit customer inflow by yes, charging higher prices for said food or service. Assuming broad aversion on the part of the public to being in public, other business entities would have advertised their adherence to strict customer limits in order to bring in consumers who would have otherwise studiously avoided public places for fear of big crowds.

Still other businesses, perhaps newly opened, would have used this period of uncertainty to stay open while gaining market share that would be harder to attain during periods of normalcy. And if the newer, suddenly busier businesses were to find it challenging to staff for relatively larger customer inflow, they might offer holiday style or hazardous duty pay to attract quality help. The crucial point here is that as opposed to a one-size-fits-all shutdown of businesses that is wrecking the finances and dreams of tens of millions, market forces and market fears would have made it possible for many more businesses to stay open; albeit in a way that wouldn’t imperil workers or customers.

Mentioned earlier were movie theaters, stadiums and sports arenas. Unknown is the why behind the mass shutdown. Here, perhaps absent politics, those staging events and films might have used prices, and in particular high prices, to limit the size of crowds as opposed to canceling events altogether. If the game plan is distance, let price signals arrived at in the marketplace shrink crowd sizes not just in restaurants and bars, but in all manner of venues.

Turning to the federal level, one imagines in a perfect and rather sane world the president doing much less than nothing. It’s shooting fish in a barrel, but government cannot produce abundance. At the same time, it can provide the personal and economic freedoms that lead to abundance. It’s been said before in this column, but President Trump was going to be vilified by the major media no matter what. And precisely because they were going to make him out as the devil no matter what, Trump should have made plain that the federal government’s only Coronavirus plan was freedom on the correct assumption that creative, free, profit-motivated minds matched with capital would arrive at a virus vaccine quite a bit quicker than would a team led by Mike Pence.

Trump might have also made plain that his DOJ would file lawsuits in defense of private businesses around the country being shut down by local and state governments. To the latter some might reply something along the lines of “abuse of power,” that states are where policy should be enacted, but it seems these shutdowns amount to a “taking”? Yes or no, the Trump administration could have at least slowed down the horrid vandalism of the economy rather than his administration vandalizing it on its own with a $1 trillion spending plan that, while perhaps good cosmetics in the eyes of some, will logically weaken a U.S. economy already devastated by command-and-control.

To all of this some will yet again respond that a “business as usual” approach doesn’t work in the face of that which is potentially lethal. Such a view is insulting. Implicit there is that absent the guiding hand of government, people would approach what some say has the potential to kill by the millions with no regard for their own individual wellbeing. That’s not serious. In fact it’s obnoxious to presume that Americans need to be forced to protect themselves.

No, there’s a strong incentive for Americans and those of any other nationality to do what’s in their best interest. That this is true speaks to what a tragedy we’re in the middle of, both in terms of liberty and prosperity.

Free people naturally prosper, and they do precisely because their individual wellbeing means so much to them. Had governments done nothing in response to the Coronavirus, individuals and businesses would have done much more, and done so without going out of business. The Ruling Class overseeing this crack-up deserves the mother of all comeuppances that goes well beyond losing in the next election cycle. The architects of this wholly avoidable debacle need to be publicly shamed and ridiculed.

Be seeing you

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Editorial: California can’t account for billions of education dollars

Posted by M. C. on December 7, 2019

Expand that concept to a national level.

We are probably better off not knowing where that Kalifornia money went.

Safe rooms and Play Doh maybe.

Then think about what is taught. That is the scary part.

Government is the last thing we need in the education system.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/12/04/editorial-california-cant-account-for-billions-of-education-dollars/

By Stephen Frank

Want to waste tax dollars? Give it to your failed government schools. Want quality education? LAUSD is a holding action, no longer an education facility—so few graduate with real diploma’s earned. Now we find the government schools can not even keep accurate the money given to them…

Inexcusable that, six years after K-12 spending revamp, audit finds needy kids aren’t getting help they should

By Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, 12/4/19   |

It’s been six years since California lawmakers revamped the state funding formula for local schools.

It was heralded by then-Gov. Jerry Brown as a way to simplify K-12 education spending and close the state’s achievement gap by giving more money to districts that disproportionately serve needy kids.

Since then, state spending on schools has increased about 50%. But, as state Auditor Elaine Howle explained in a troubling report last month, there is no way to track whether money is being spent as it should.

School officials across California have co-mingled billions of dollars of state money that was supposed to be used for children who fall into one of three categories: English learners, low-income or in foster care.

Howle’s findings confirm what critics have been saying for years: Rather than specifically helping needy kids, the money has simply been used to boost general spending.

That partially explains why California students’ test scores continue lagging the national average and the state has failed to close the achievement gap that divides along racial and economic lines.

If California has any hope of narrowing that divide, legislators and Gov. Gavin Newsom should require accountability for the $63 billion of state money currently spent annually on K-12 education.

It’s time to end this reckless spending. As we enter the state budget cycle for the 2020-21 fiscal year, lawmakers must stop doling out money without a meaningful tracking system for how it’s spent.

Brown’s original plan made sense. State spending for schools had become far too complicated, with more than 110 special “categorical” programs that had different funding and eligibility requirements.

The plan was to eliminate the categorical programs and give local school districts more control over the money. Hence, the Local Control Funding Formula was created.

LCFF is pretty simple. School districts receive a base amount determined by students’ attendance figures and grade levels. In addition, they receive a supplemental 20% for students falling into one of the three needy categories. And in districts with concentrations of more than 55% needy students, per-pupil funding increases 50% for each kid beyond the 55% threshold.

The so-called supplemental and concentration funding is supposed to be spent to provide additional help for those targeted children. But when Howle audited a sample of three school districts — Oakland, Clovis and San Diego — only Clovis tracked how the money was spent.

That’s because there are no state regulations to ensure districts separately account for the extra funds. Moreover, if the districts don’t spend the money on those needy students the year they receive the funds, they can spend it on anything the following year.

Hence, there are no rules to ensure Brown’s law is being followed. Indeed, while he was in office, Brown repeatedly resisted such a requirement. Consequently, there is no way to determine whether the additional funding is producing measurable student performance improvements.

The idea behind LCFF was to provide more local control. Parents were supposed have input into how the money is spent — something that’s meaningless if they’re not provided useful data — and school districts were supposed to be freed from the restrictions of hundreds of categorical spending programs.

But LCFF was never intended to be a giveaway of funds without obligations. Our neediest students were supposed to be better served. There’s no way to know whether that’s happened.

The lack of accountability — for how the money is spent and whether it’s producing results — is no longer acceptable.

Be seeing you

teachers

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »