Feb. 20, 2020 – Jim Breslo: Democrats would spread California’s problems to other states
In his State of the State address Wednesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said: “California is still, proudly, America’s coming attraction.”
Consider yourselves warned. The comment by the Democratic governor of the most populous state in the nation summed up what is at stake in this year’s presidential election.
California has already implemented much of what the Democratic presidential candidates are calling for. That means that some of the problems plaguing California now could spread across America if a Democrat replaces President Trump in the White House.
Newsom noted California’s successes in his speech, pointing out that the state is the fifth-largest economy in the world and has enjoyed 118 consecutive months of net job growth. He said that more than half of all U.S. venture capital flows to California companies, and that California has averaged 3.8 percent gross domestic product growth over five years.
The governor failed, however, to point to a single California policy that is responsible for these successes. Truth be told, these successes have come in spite of California’s governmental policies, not because of them.
To his credit, Newsom went on to correctly acknowledge that the state’s homeless crisis is a “disgrace.” He noted that California is “the richest state in the richest nation,” yet it “is failing to properly house, heal, and humanely treat so many of its own people.”
Newsom made his remarks at the same time President Trump was touring the Golden State. Trump called out Newsom and the state’s politicians for failing to address the homeless issue.
“If they can’t do it themselves, we’re going to do it,” the president said. “The federal government is going to take it over, we’re going to do it.”
Indeed, the homeless problem is particularly severe in California. The state is home to about 12 percent of the U.S. population, but has 53 percent of the nation’s homeless population. That’s nine times as many homeless people as the next closest state.
There were nearly 130,000 homeless people on the streets of California on any given night in 2018, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Unlike the successes identified by Newsom, California’s problems – particularly its homeless problem – are directly attributable to government policies. These include:
A court decision in response to failure. A Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling has effectively barred many California cities – including Los Angeles and San Francisco – from enforcing bans on people sleeping on sidewalks because of their failure to provide rudimentary temporary shelters for homeless people.
Sidewalk homeless shelters. Due to the severe shortage of adequate homeless shelters, Los Angeles and San Francisco have not only allowed homeless encampments, but have even proposed plans to provide them with toilets, showers and trash receptacles. This is hardly a long-term – much less a permanent – solution to the problem of homelessness.
Prisoner releases. As a result of California’s failure to properly fund the housing of its prisoners, it has had to release about 30,000 of them to comply with a court order and has had to implement more lenient sentencing. This has resulted in many released convicts winding up homeless.
Sanctuary city and state policies. By refusing to cooperate with the federal government to enforce the law and deport illegal immigrants, state and local governments in California have added to the number of homeless people in the state and to the amount of illegal drugs smuggled into the state and sold there.
Building codes and rent control policies. Such local and state policies are causing serious shortages of affordable housing in California, driving up homelessness.
Of course, California’s problems are not limited to homelessness. Despite being the wealthiest and highest-taxed state in the country, California continually demonstrates a failure to provide the most basic government services.
In addition to leading the nation in the number of homeless people, California has the eighth-worst road conditions in the U.S., two of the country’s eight worst traffic-congested cities, the sixth-worst prison overcrowding in the nation and the worst teacher-to-student ratio in America. It is no wonder California has had a net loss in migration to other states each of the past 30 years.
California is America’s next coming attraction? Unless Newsom has invented a way to export California’s beautiful weather, mountains, and beaches, America should be very afraid. If the Democrats do to America what they have done to California, they will cause far more problems than they will solve.