Patterico's Pontifications

3/27/2023

Dog Trainer Columnist Wakes Up to Reality

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:20 am



[guest post by JVW]

Los Angeles Times (known ’round these parts for some time as the Dog Trainer; just check out the banner at the top of the page) columnist George Skelton acknowledges what observant people have long understood:

It turns out high-income people are also fleeing the state — a new twist in the California exit.

That should worry ruling liberal Democrats who love to tax wealthy people and spend their money, especially on social programs.

Some golden geese are taking flight.

I’m going to overlook the insipid modern journalistic practice of writing a column in which each sentence is its own separate paragraph.

It seems to have been all the rage ever since USA Today started covering complex topics with a grade-school reader narrative.

And end it with a short sentence.

For effect.

Anyway, it’s long been understood by people who know how macroeconomics works that the more dependent a state becomes upon lots of tax revenue each year coming in from high-income earners, the more likely that state is to see massive fluctuations in revenue from year to year. If you lived here in 2001 and 2009 you certainly recall how stock market woes cut tens of billions of dollars from state coffers. Yet the trend ever since the second — make that fourth, counting his first go-around — term of Jerry Brown, when he abandoned his third-term fiscal restraint and unleashed his inner tax-and-spender, has been to call upon the wealthiest citizens of this fair state to take on more and more of the financial burden for government largesse. As everyone who has read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein knows, eventually you are down to a stump, or in this case the tree uproots and moves to Texas.

To his credit, after acknowledging this problem Mr. Skelton makes a mea culpa:

Entering the 21st century, when California’s population was about 34 million, we were predicted to reach 45 million by 2020 and 59 million by 2040. So much for that. We hit a peak of 39.6 million in 2019 and have been losing population ever since.

Until now, we’ve been in denial, telling ourselves that college-educated, upper-income people weren’t leaving. Our progressive tax base and growing economy were secure. The departees were lower-to-middle-income people who weren’t the heavy taxpayers or big job producers.

Everyone seemed to buy into that, although many could cite anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

I plead guilty. This is what I wrote two years ago:

“More affluent people have been moving here than departing. They can afford our escalating costs of living. Political spin about wealthy people abandoning California is fake news.”

In Mr. Skelton’s defense, he was just repeating the assurances from smug left-leaning academics and think tank trolls. This blog busted the eternally annoying Tom Elias nearly seven years ago pooh-poohing the idea that people with high incomes might leave the Golden State for less chaotic destinations. He based this assessment on the work of a think tank which insisted that for every middle-class family leaving California for a more hospitable social environment there would be some techie singles making well into the mid six figures to replace them. Anyone noticed what’s going on at Meta and Amazon recently? Way back in 2016 Mr. Elias cautioned us, “[D]on’t expect the state to lose congressional or Electoral College clout after the next Census in 2020.” We know how that worked out.

For his part, Mr. Skelton really wants to believe that things would be so much better if we only would build more houses to help break the pricing logjam, but he’s honest enough to see that is only a part of the problem. He quotes a researcher from the Public Policy Institute of California who bluntly asserts that taxes play a key role here:

The net loss of high-income people is relatively small, [Eric] McGhee says. But the number leaving California “increased dramatically” to 220,000 in 2021, he reports.

It wouldn’t take many fleeing rich people to hurt the state treasury. The top 1% of earners pay nearly 50% of the state income taxes. The top 10% kick in roughly 80%.

“Taxes definitely are part of the story” why high-income people are leaving, McGhee says. “Taxes is the last straw that pushes them over the edge.”

Delusional Democrats in Sacramento seem to think they can extort another $20 billion out of state residents who have at least $50 million in total wealth, while the governor can only come up with small-bore “soak the rich” proposals consisting of closing an out-of-state trust loophole which would likely at most net the state about $20 million towards the $267 billion budget. Given the huge financial hole the state finds itself in, Sacramento is going to find itself desperate to snatch any revenue they possibly can, especially since the California Legislative Analyst has already declared that Greasy Gavin’s proposed 2024 budget is “likely unaffordable in future years,” and “there is a two-in-three chance that state revenues will be lower than the governor’s budget estimates for 2022-23 and 2023-24.” Lots of luck to the supermajority in trying to reconcile all that. It’s highly unlikely that the Democrats are going to con the super-rich into picking up the entire tab.

And I haven’t even gotten around to kvetching about the High-Speed Rail Authority.

– JVW

28 Responses to “Dog Trainer Columnist Wakes Up to Reality”

  1. Just look at Los Angeles, and the way that the city’s rulers have allowed a small homeless problem to metastasize into a city-consuming issue. Public transit is now rolling homeless shelter, decrepit RV’s line every major street (but are banned near some city council member’s houses), and the city seem intent on forcing residents out of their cars and into public transit that is currently filled with the homeless.

    It is getting to the point where the city is irretrievable by civil methods.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  2. Just think what would happen if there were actual functioning news media instead of the PR firms masquerading as such.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  3. Leftist social policies create destructive economic policies that virtue signalling leftists don’t want to pay for after supporting said policies. Who would’ve thought it?

    NJRob (5ce108)

  4. The voters only have themselves to blame.

    Rip Murdock (7376a8)

  5. I agree with Kevin. The journalistic media in California and LA specifically should be holding politicians to account and documenting the alarming situation. Instead, everything is soft pedaled. But Rip is correct too. People who live there and have to put up with the degrading quality of life keep electing the same people. California has to get control of the homeless problem and has to lower the cost of living in that state.

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  6. I attended a convention in Austin last summer, and I was unpleasantly unsurprised at the the reaction of CA residents to Texas gas prices (at that point in time, CA gas prices were hitting $6/gallon). They were shocked that gas in Austin was $3/gallon and when told that it was much the same everywhere outside of CA, they didn’t believe me.

    When pushed on the matter of who they kept electing, the most telling response was “But who else could we vote for?”

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  7. California delenda est.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  8. Some good California news:

    On March 20, 2023, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney of the Central District of California issued a preliminary injunction in Boland v. Bonta against enforcement of California’s ban on the retail sale of semiautomatic pistols that do not have a chamber load indicator, a magazine disconnect mechanism, and microstamping capability.

    Since no pistols with all three features are manufactured nationwide, the Unsafe Handgun Act amounts to a prohibition that violates the Second Amendment. The Act requires Californians who want to exercise their Second Amendment rights to purchase pistols designed over two decades ago and prohibits, with narrow exceptions, their acquisition of modern-day pistols.
    ……….

    Rip Murdock (7376a8)

  9. The CA list also prevents any change to a “no-unsafe” gun, so better materials, added safety features, and fixing a known issue would cause the weapon to be disqualified and require re–certification under the new rules (which no weapon has passed).

    It’s a little unclear what is enjoined. Would any handgun sold elsewhere now be allowed in California?

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  10. When pushed on the matter of who they kept electing, the most telling response was “But who else could we vote for?”

    California is blessed and cursed with being a big state, so to win statewide election a candidate needs not only to spend heavily in large markets, but also needs to be backed by a political organization — a machine, frankly — with get out the vote experience. It’s one major reason why Dems win: the unions are really good at this and wealthy progressives are happy to fund the Gavin Newsoms, Kamala Harrises, and Alex Padillas of the world. So it goes. Even at the local level, the unions are so well organized and practiced in politics that the teachers unions mostly elect the school board members they know will be obsequious to their agenda.

    JVW (49efa9)

  11. It’s a little unclear what is enjoined. Would any handgun sold elsewhere now be allowed in California?

    Kevin M (1ea396) — 3/27/2023 @ 12:27 pm

    It’s explained in the first sentence; California’s Unsafe Handgun Act. The preliminary injunction has been delayed two weeks to allow the state to appeal. I also provided a link to the decision which explains everything.

    Rip Murdock (7376a8)

  12. Well, I’ll read it (I looked at the Volokh post). What is unclear is whether the state could just pass a new law, leaving out the microstamping and start the process all over. I get the appeal thing, although I suspect that the 9th Circuit isn’t quite the same these days.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  13. Even at the local level, the unions are so well organized and practiced in politics that the teachers unions mostly elect the school board members they know will be obsequious to their agenda.

    One thing in Los Angeles — they election are now on the national cycle, not some rainy day in February of off-years. So the unions have diminished power, at least as far as the ballot box is concerned. I note that the chosen successor to the execrable councilman Mike Bonin lost in 2022. So, some progress.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  14. One thing in Los Angeles — they election are now on the national cycle, not some rainy day in February of off-years. So the unions have diminished power, at least as far as the ballot box is concerned.

    I think the jury’s still out on that. I hate this trend (my little beach city will probably do the same thing, as well as go to the obnoxious ranked-choice voting), but I think that this might even increase the power of the unions because they can bring more people to the polls and convince them to vote for a slate of candidates. We discussed a few years ago about how the unions were unable to get LA Unified School District voters to increase their property taxes during a special vote that the unions paid for, but I am not too sure they wouldn’t stand a better chance if the measure were on the ballot in a general election. I’m sure we will soon find out.

    JVW (21a22b)

  15. The microstamping requirement has prevented any new handgun models from being added to the Roster since May 2013. Although the California Department of Justice certified on May 17, 2013 that the technology used to create the imprint is available to more than one manufacturer unencumbered by any patent restrictions, the technology still was not available. See Nat’l Shooting Sports Found., Inc. v. State, 420 P.3d 870, 872 (Cal. 2018) (noting the government’s concession that the certification did not confirm “the availability of the technology itself”).

    It should not be lost that the person responsible for this fraudulent certification now serves as Vice-President of the Untied States. If one were to need to impeach her, this perjurous conduct would seem sufficient.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  16. Well, I’ll read it (I looked at the Volokh post). What is unclear is whether the state could just pass a new law, leaving out the microstamping and start the process all over. I get the appeal thing, although I suspect that the 9th Circuit isn’t quite the same these days.

    Kevin M (1ea396) — 3/27/2023 @ 1:40 pm

    It’s not just the microstamping, it is also the state’s weak historical analysis used for the other requirements.

    “Proving” or “proofing” refers to the testing of firearm barrels with higher-than-normal amounts of gunpowder to ensure that they will not crack or fail under pressure. …….
    …………
    The court found California’s ban not to be analogous to such proving laws.
    ……….
    ………. California’s requirement that a pistol will not fire without a magazine inserted “can actually work against the use of a handgun for self-defense….”………
    ……….
    Nor is California’s law analogous to gunpowder storage laws at the founding.
    ………….
    As the Boland court found, “the main goal of gunpowder storage laws was to prevent fire,” while California’s loaded chamber and magazine requirements “are meant to prevent inadvertent discharge or firing of the firearm.”

    Rip Murdock (7376a8)

  17. The really telling argument (for me) is that the UHA, since it allows hundreds of guns that would not pass current standards of safety, serves NO state interest. Not one benefit of the three added “safety” requirements is present in current gun sales or regulation, so it is unreasonable for the State to suggest the regulation serves any state interest at all, unless harassing prospective handgun owners is a core state interest.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  18. If one were to need to impeach her, this perjurous conduct would seem sufficient.

    Kevin M (1ea396) — 3/27/2023 @ 1:53 pm

    I doubt anyone would consider this as a “high crime or misdemeanor.” Impeachment fantasy.

    Rip Murdock (7376a8)

  19. It should be pointed out that Judge Carney is a Harvard JD and was appointed to the federal bench by George W Bush, after his service as a Superior Court judge (appointed by Gray Davis).

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  20. I doubt anyone would consider this as a “high crime or misdemeanor.” Impeachment fantasy.

    Stripping 40 million people of a constitutional right by lying and abuse of power?

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  21. I doubt anyone would consider this as a “high crime or misdemeanor.” Impeachment fantasy.

    Stripping 40 million people of a constitutional right by lying and abuse of power?

    Kevin M (1ea396) — 3/27/2023 @ 2:22 pm

    You should send your suggestion to Jim Jordan.

    Good luck.

    Rip Murdock (7376a8)

  22. Jerry Brown said it was bad to rely on taxing the rich, because their income (often capital gains) goes up and down. If you do you must pay attention to the variability.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  23. Kevin M (1ea396) — 3/27/2023 @ 11:05 am

    They were shocked that gas in Austin was $3/gallon and when told that it was much the same everywhere outside of CA, they didn’t believe me.

    They should have read it in the newspapers.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  24. It should be pointed out that Judge Carney is a Harvard JD and was appointed to the federal bench by George W Bush, after his service as a Superior Court judge (appointed by Gray Davis).

    Kevin M (1ea396) — 3/27/2023 @ 2:21 pm

    And he went to UCLA, where he was an Academic All-American wide receiver for the UCLA Bruins. He also overturned California’s death penalty (reversed on appeal).

    Rip Murdock (7376a8)

  25. “The fact of the matter is, California’s gun safety laws save lives, and California’s Unsafe Handgun Act is no exception,” Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta said in a statement. “We will continue to lead efforts to advance and defend California’s gun safety laws. As we move forward to determine next steps in this case, Californians should know that this injunction has not gone into effect and that California’s important gun safety requirements related to the Unsafe Handgun Act remain in effect.”

    https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-03-21/federal-judge-blocks-key-parts-california-handgun-law

    It is undeniable that the enjoined parts of the UHA have saved utterly no one, nor can they since 800+ guns without the enjoined safety features are legally available for sale.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  26. They should have read it in the newspapers

    News reports simply talked about how the mean oil companies were hosing good honest Californians with “higher prices” without stating just how much higher.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  27. Tax the rich. They can always move to the south and see if they can get rich their.

    asset (eb6e01)

  28. And he went to UCLA, where he was an Academic All-American wide receiver for the UCLA Bruins.

    Dang, he was a good player! I don’t really recall him, but I was pretty young when he played from 1980-82. I take it that Tom Ramsay was his QB?

    JVW (f869a1)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.0841 secs.