This was a letter through the comments section written by John Thompson to the Editor in relation to “Vantage Point with Mike Young.” These comments are now a regular series article called “To Your Freedom.”
By John Thompson
Vantage Point: The Good and The Bad
A NEW WORD, SHRINKFLATION
It would be hard to imagine a nicer place. California has extraordinary nature, from its breathtaking coast to inland treasures like Joshua Tree, Yosemite, and Redwood.
The weather, especially here in southern California, is pretty perfect. The sun shines constantly, seemingly everyone is fit and beautiful, and it’s loaded with so many of the things people crave — wealth, celebrity, etc.
Economically there has been a history of natural resource abundance in this state, including the legendary gold rush in the mid-1800s, oil, and gas, and incredibly fertile land. It’s no accident why some of the most productive people in the world moved here and established world-dominating industries, especially Hollywood and Silicon Valley, which have generated trillions of dollars of wealth. California has so much going for it that it would be nearly impossible to screw it up. Nearly.
And yet they managed to do it! It’s incredible.
We can start with the crime rate, which really started soaring in 2020. But many prosecutors are unwilling to do anything about it. Several district attorneys in California actually promised voters to be soft on crime. What’s even more incredible is how much financial support these prosecutors are receiving. In Los Angeles County, the ultra-progressive district attorney there received a whopping $12.4 million in political donations (including heavy contributions from a George Soros fund) for his 2020 campaign.
$12.4 million is a ridiculous sum of money for a local political campaign, especially something that should be a mundane public service job like a district attorney. Yet LA’s district attorney has been among the most vocal in the nation about NOT prosecuting crime… because that’s what fits with the woke left’s social agenda. San Francisco’s government effectively decriminalized shoplifting for amounts under $950. So now people simply take whatever they want and waltz right out of the store. Automobile theft is also soaring. In some parts of San Francisco, police registered a more than 700% increase in car break-ins last year.
But it’s not just the crime. California was among the worst states when it came to COVID. Public health officials imposed some of the worst restrictions in the country and even threatened to shut off the electricity of homes and businesses which didn’t comply… all while politicians glad-handed with their friends and donors, maskless, at private dinners.
California was also one of the worst in the country when it came to re-opening schools. They turned their backs on the kids because of COVID. And then when the kids actually did finally return to the classroom, they were tormented with a revised curriculum that said 2+2 = white supremacy.
(This is the same state, by the way, where the supposedly progressive media called a black political candidate a “white supremacist” because he espouses conservative views.) Economically, California officials keep raising tax rates, chasing away productive individuals and businesses.
It’s no surprise the state has lost millions of residents over the years — an exodus that sharply accelerated in 2020 and 2021. More importantly, California is losing some of its biggest taxpayers… wealthy individuals and profitable companies who are relocating to places like Nevada, Wyoming, and Texas. This is a huge problem for the state Treasury; the top 0.5% of taxpayers in California pay a whopping 40% of the state’s tax revenue.
Even Hollywood, perhaps the most famous symbol of California, has fallen victim to the state’s political stupidity. Thanks to a host of absurd taxes, labor regulations, and union rules, more and more film and TV productions are taking place out of state. Georgia overtook California as the #1 feature film production location as far back as 2016 due to the state’s generous tax credits.
And according to a nationwide survey of CEOs by Chief Executive Magazine, more than 13,000 companies constituting 275,000 jobs, $76.7 billion in capital funds, and 133 million square feet of office space, left California between 2008 and 2017. That trend has only accelerated over the past five years.
Losing their biggest taxpayers is going to leave the state, and many of California’s biggest cities, short of cash. So they’re coming up with bizarre ways to fund the deficit.
Recently, for example, the city of Sacramento declared a “water alert” asking residents to reduce water consumption by 20%. The city also limited outdoor watering and car-washing to two days per week, and doubled the fines for wasting water, “such as letting water flow onto sidewalks and streets.” Yet the Sacramento City Council has approved a deal to sell up to three billion gallons of water for about $5 million to other cities and states. The state is suffering a terrible drought. The city wants its citizens to sacrifice. But local officials are selling off the water.
This is totally nuts. And it’s similar to the shrinkflation phenomenon we’ve all experienced, or what I call value deflation. Shrinkflation is a form of inflation where you pay the same amount of money for something, but receive less than you used to.
We’ve seen this in 10oz packages of food selling for what 12oz packages recently did. And we’ve seen it in reduced staff, longer waits, and worse service.
Sacramento residents now pay the same taxes, but can’t use as much water and are told to take quicker showers, while the city ships their water to non-residents. (To add insult to injury, the city actually priced the water deal at BELOW the rate they charge their own citizens… essentially selling the water at a discount to non-resident buyers. It’s genius!)
This is how governments across the land are going to deal with inflation (and declining tax revenues). They’ll keep raising your taxes, but provide you with fewer public services while demanding that you make more sacrifices.
To your freedom,
3 thoughts on “To Your Freedom: The Good and The Bad”
Wow! You sure throw out some real half truths and lies. California has the world’s 5th largest economy. It’s GDP per resident is in the $80,000 range. Compare that to any red state. California’s population is over 39M and is projected to be 42.5M by 2025. That’s not losing population. Many of us moved to California to work. We lived there for ten years and loved it. However, it made sense to retire in Nevada. Supply and demand allowed us to sell our house at a profit and pay cash here in Nevada. It is the.natural progression. Young people move to California to work and older people leave to make room for them. Everyone wins.
As for crime, I propose we do away with any and all drug related crime. If someone wants to take a drug, let them. It’s a free country. We have the worlds largest incarceration population because of drugs. Putting people in prison for taking drugs is ridiculous. They would be better served in the medical treatment area rather than being locked up.
I applaud you David for having the foresight to move to Nevada, it was a wise move and good for you. But I must bring up your thoughts on the drug problem. QUOTE; Propose we do away with any and all drug related crime. If someone wants to take a drug, let them. It’s a free country. We have the worlds largest incarceration population because of drugs. Putting people in prison for taking drugs is ridiculous. They would be better served in the medical treatment area rather than being locked up.
I loved this!! Why ?? It shows you are among the WOKE population . If you read the arrest reports each week here in Mesquite ( I FORGOT YOU ONLY WATCH CNN) Most are drug related, AND A HUGE SHOUT OT TO THE MESQUITE PD FOR ALL YOU PUT UP WITH IN MESQUITE; THANKS !!! Also who is going to pay for these people who are in rehab rather than jail YOU ?? In you older post you said QUOTE I made a lot of money since Biden has been in office so WHO HAVE YOU HELPED THIS WEEK IN MESQUITE DAVID WITH A DRUG PROBLEM ?? Also beside the fact you made a lot of money since Biden has been in office, PLEASE NAME 10 THINGS HE HAS DONE FOR THE GOOD OF THE UNITES STATES OF AMERICA !!
THIS IS FOR YOU DAVID , I DO WANT TO SEE MESQUITE NEVADA LIKE THIS !!
The streets of downtown Portland, Oregon, resemble an open-air drug market.
Heroin, meth and fentanyl use is rampant and often visible on city streets. Portland police officers drive by homeless addicts buying and using.
The signs of drug addiction are actually increasing throughout the state, according to law enforcement sources.
In November 2020, voters overwhelmingly passed Measure 110. The Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act secured 58% of the votes and decriminalized possession of small amounts of hard drugs such as heroin, meth, cocaine and fentanyl.
FEDS SEIZE 478,000 COUNTERFEIT FENTANYL-LACED PILLS, CHARGE 26 WITH DRUG TRAFFICKING AND OTHER CRIMES
The new law made possession of those substances no more than a Class E violation, the equivalent of a traffic ticket punishable by a maximum $100 fine. But the fine is dismissed when someone who is fined calls a help hotline, Lines for Life, and completes a health assessment. The idea is to connect drug abusers with services and treatment instead of putting them behind bars.
Sixteen months into this first-in-the-nation experiment, the numbers paint a bleak picture. Drug overdose deaths hit an all-time high in 2021 with 1069, a 41% increase from 2020. And very few people are getting into treatment. According to The Lund Report, after one year, just 136 people had entered treatment, less than 1% of those helped by Measure 110. But the actual number may be even lower.
David Murray is a senior fellow in the Hudson Institute who advised drug czars in two different presidential administrations.
“It is predictable, was predicted and now, unfortunately, is coming to pass in front of our eyes,” said Murray, “It is a tragedy and a self-inflicted wound.”
The Oregon Judicial Department reports that, through the end of May, police throughout the state had written 2,576 tickets for drug possession since Measure 110 was enacted. Seventy-five percent of the tickets resulted in convictions, the vast majority because the offender never showed up in court
Dwight Holton, CEO of Lines for Life, only 116 people have called the help hotline. Sixty-six of those callers just wanted verification of the assessment, so they could void the ticket, Holton said. Twenty-six, he says, were already in services of some kind and didn’t want any more.
“About 20% — 24 people — were not previously involved in (addiction) services and wanted resources, so we connected them to relevant services,” Holton says.
Mike Marshall, co-founder and director of Oregon Recovers, is not surprised by the dismal treatment numbers following implementation of Measure 110.
“It was never designed to reduce our addiction rates, so it was never designed to deal with our addiction crisis,” Marshall says, “It was always meant to deal with the war on drugs.”
Oregon’s war on drugs may be over, but other crimes are on the rise and keeping police busy.
“What we’re absolutely seeing is that as drug possession has been decriminalized, property crimes have increased and so has violent crime,” said District Attorney Kevin Barnett of Washington County, Oregon. Police in rural parts of Oregon also tell Fox News they are seeing more theft as people steal to feed their addiction.
Portland, the state’s largest city, set an all-time record with 90 murders in 2021. Police in Multnomah County link these to Measure 110, saying there’s been a rise in homicides tied to drug turf wars between gangs.
Tera Hurst, executive director of the Health Justice Recovery Alliance, which is working to implement Measure 110, says the criticism is premature. Only 10% of $300 million in available Measure 110 funds has been allocated to date.
The money is coming from cannabis tax revenue, making it ineligible to be used for treatment, which is primarily covered by Medicaid. What Measure 110 is funding is recovery and harm reduction services.
The first $30 million in grants went to needle exchange programs, peer-to-peer counseling, support housing and even Narcan, which is used to revive people who overdose on heroin.