California was once a trend-setting state.
Today, however, it seems only to cling to ideas long since proved worthless. Businesses are fleeing the state. Storefronts on once bustling commercial thoroughfares sit vacant for want of retail tenants. The unemployment rate remains above 10%.
And our governor doesn’t seem to have much respect for those who build enterprises and create jobs. Contending that the passage of Proposition 30 last week marks “the start of a broader movement to increase taxes on the rich“, Jerry Brown said
Revenue means taxes, and certainly those who have been blessed the most, who have disproportionately extracted, by whatever skill, more and more from the national wealth, they’re going to have to share more of that. . . . And everyone is going to have to realize that building roads is important, investing in schools is important, paying for the national defense is important, biomedical research is important, the space program is an indicator of the world leader – all that takes money.
Ah, but Jerry, before that referendum passed, we were already taxed enough to pay for such things. And other states manage to pay for roads, schools and etc., with much lower tax rates than we had before Prop 30 passed. The issue is not the absence of revenue, but the excess of bureaucracy and the superabundance of benefits for government employees.
But, his suggestion about the state’s (supposed) revenue shortfall is only part of what is troubling in the once and current governor’s statement. By using the verb, “extract,” to explain how wealthy citizens acquired their wealth, he all but dismisses their accomplishment, sounding scornful toward their achievement.
He seems to be suggesting that the “wealthy” extracted income from a fixed pool of national wealth, as if said pool existed in some remote locale — and they were the most conniving in accessing it and “extracting” the wealth already there. They didn’t access the wealth, they created it, generally through their hard work and ingenuity.
That Jerry Brown does not appreciate this helps us understand why he has failed to put forward the types of reforms the (once-)Golden State needs in order to keep entrepreneurs from fleeing the state — and to encourage them to build their enterprises here, creating jobs and making ever larger that pool of wealth.