June went out like a dead bear as Crazifornia got the top-of-the-page position in the June 30 edition of the Flash Report.
My latest Crazifornia essay on the state’s ills, “Health Care Decision Could Speed California’s Collapse,” got the prominent display because it looked at the Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision in a way other commentators didn’t:
Assembly Committee on Health chair Bill Monning (D-Santa Monica) told the Center for Health Reporting. “In other states, I’m sure, this will get picked apart and analyzed. This has no bearing in California, since we fully intend to participate and take advantage of the federal subsidy and support.”
Monning and his colleagues apparently are only thinking of that tempting Obamacare money, and haven’t stopped to consider the consequences of another of the court’s determinations: That states can’t be penalized for not joining the Obamacare parade. Chief Justice Robert’s tipping of the court toward that ruling will turn out to be much more significant to California than his decision to tip the court in favor of keeping Obamacare alive by calling a mandate a tax.
That’s because when other states choose to opt out, their medically desperate and other less sympathetic members of their entitlement class won’t just sit still. Instead, they will look around for the opted-in state that offers them the sweetest deal – and they’re sure to focus on California. California spends more on social welfare programs than the next eight states combined, so it’s already a magnet for those who think the government owes them a living.
Love or hate Obamacare, it’s undeniable that it will bring big change to American society. And for California, that change just might be complete fiscal collapse. The state used to attract those fired by entrepreneurial spirit; now those job-generating, tax-paying people flee the state by the thousands, and instead California draws those fired by the thought of abundant food stamps, generous welfare programs and, with Obamacare, heavily subsidized health care.
The people Obamacare draws to California won’t stop with subsidized healthcare; they’ll sign up for as many social welfare programs as they can. And under the state’s ultra-progressive income tax structure, they’ll contribute little to nothing in taxes in return. That’s a social change California just can’t afford, especially since its newly passed $91.3 billion budget is balanced precipitously on the increasingly tenuous assumption that Gov. Jerry Brown’s $8.5 billion tax hike will be approved by voters this November.
The many who think California can only be fixed by having to rebuild itself after a hard, headlong crash into fiscal oblivion may well have Roberts to thank for hurrying along the process.
This is the kind of insight you get when you’ve watched something close-up for over 30 years, as I have watched California. I became aware of California’s welfare magnetism in the 1980s, when my wife and I used to visit her parents in a very far-north California city where they lived owned properties. They complained a lot about the poor caliber of renters there compared to those they’d rented to a few years earlier, when they owned property in Orange County. It turns out the Northern California city was a magnet for welfare recipients from other states because it offered a lower cost of living compared to the rest of California, but still let emigrating losers sign up for the state’s top-of-the-heap welfare benefits.