Betty Arenson | It’s More than Being No. 5 and the GDP

SCV Voices: Guest Commentary
SCV Voices: Guest Commentary

Local CPA Jim de Bree addressed a couple of commentaries I wrote recently about California’s hostile business climate and over-taxation that is driving businesses and people out of California at a continuing brisk pace.

It’s a dependable expectation that the first argument on the topic is that California has the fifth largest economy in the world. That weal is not because of our state’s super-majority “leaders,” but in spite of them.

Mr. de Bree’s commentary was very astute. He cited several facts and numbers that most people would never research, thus imparting pertinent information to readers. The cited statistics are impressive. However, my point is that positivity does not translate to the average working Joe and Jane who struggle to make a decent living whether they’re single or raising a family. These people are not going to consider the GDP per capita while looking a kitchen table of bills to pay or fretting over how to pay for a new refrigerator.  

Californians are ramrodded by a super-majority that possesses a myopic direction of spend more, raise taxes, ignore governing, ignore reigning in waste at every level, mislead voters on propositions, provide free stuff for those not earning it, while working citizens are burdened with paying for all of it.

Middle-class workers are inundated with battling to pay their own bills and being forced to pay for others as well. This is a significant reason people are fleeing California.

There are a few major factors that result in California being the fifth largest economy in the world. We have a major portion of tech workers and Hollywood/entertainment dollars. Presently, we can add in the very favorable U.S. economy’s status.

In a March 2018 article, MarketWatch, citing Comp TIA Cyberstates, wrote that California’s employment, with regard to the tech industry “expanded by 43,000 in 2017,” which resulted in a contribution of $385.8 billion to the state’s economy — 16% of state’s economy. The industry’s 1,749,400 workers are 9.1% California’s work force. This commerce’s average yearly wage is $161,900 compared to the private sector at $64,130.

I was unable to find the number of Californians who work in the movie industry overall. The multiple specialties, aside from the actors, such as makeup artists, agents, producers, sound engineers, editors, grips, set designers, etc., precluded getting any accurate estimate. I did, however, find the jolting average (upper) income scales of these workers. 

There’s a Forbes April 2018 article titled “The Top Four Reasons California is Unsustainable.” The piece credits the state with our supreme natural resources and the high-tech industry, then states, “However, like many good economic stories, the government policies threaten its future…Indeed, its government has made California unsustainable.” 

The (summarized) four reasons are:

1. The California government’s unfettered reckless spending, like the bullet train, outrageous budget plus the pricey off-budget spending in the form of bonds, i.e. debt financing. Further, “California is moving ever farther left….”; specifically naming Gavin Newsom, Xavier Becerra and Kamala Harris as the new generation that makes Jerry Brown and Dianne Feinstein look “conservative.” 

2. California taxes and regulation;

3. Government debt: more than $1 trillion in unfunded public pension liabilities, which the author calculates at $76,884 per household… that is YOUR household; 

4. Our infrastructure deficit; the 1960s State Water Project design was meant to accommodate a population of 25 million, not the 40 million we have today. We suffer ghastly road conditions. Former Gov. Jerry Brown stated in 2017 that California faced “$187 billion in unmet infrastructure needs.” His figure was minimal as the Bay Area Council Economics Institute puts that number between $737 and $765 billion. That was three years ago! 

California’s “leadership” mandates and enforces sanctuary armor to those who have entered our sovereign country illegally and those illegal residents who have overstayed their original visas. There are millions of them. Those same residents are now awarded free health insurance, at taxpayer expense, which the American people were promised would never happen. Many of our own working citizens cannot afford or barely afford to pay the egregious health insurance premiums with the large deductibles for their families, yet we must fund the non-citizens.

Workers, taxpayers and/or voters never got a say in this reckless mandate.

Here’s a small sample of some headlines between Sept. 10, 2019, and Jan. 12, 2020:

“Newest campaign to raise taxes has now begun”;

“Californians more skeptical of tax hikes”;

“Hidden agenda in bond measure”;

“Sacramento must prepare for slowdown”;

“California’s jobs crisis threatens state’s prosperity”;

“Sacramento’s endless push for more taxes”;

“Foolish bonds put taxpayers at risk”;

“Californians brace for many new, bad laws.”

While governmental and institutional tracking of percentages and numbers and talk of such things as GDP are purposeful and needed, the everyday taxpayer and worker neither receive nor embrace much of it. Instead, they clasp the practicalities of everyday life and they see their everyday existence being crushed directly before their weary eyes with this state’s unfettered, ruinous super-majority and imperialistic governor.

It’s far past time to obliterate California’s super-majority of career politicians who have no concept of the real world. It’s an election year. Vote wisely.

Betty Arenson is a Santa Clarita resident. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays and rotates among local Republicans.

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