Opinion

I still remember the first time I traveled almost the entire length of California by train. It was December 1987 after my first lucrative commercial fishing season in Alaska and also the first year that Nancy Pelosi was elected to Congress. My shipmate Tony had a place in the woods just south of Newport near Seal Rock on the rural Oregon coast where we harvested mussels off the beach and hiked among some giant trees near Heceta Head Lighthouse. While we were enjoying freedom and the fruits of our labor during the off-season, it actually included cutting a bunch of firewood and other volunteer help around the house for a couple of his neighbors. While I’ve never been a Christian formally, I knew about the Puritan work ethic and was raised with the clear understanding that one should always work hard, keep your nose clean, and be kind to people whenever possible.

Since Tony had some relatives in Los Angles and I was heading to New York to spend Christmas with my parents, I convinced him we should ride the train so I could fly out of LAX. So after a week or so, a friend of his gave us a ride to Eugene and we rode the Coast Starlight on a fantastic 28 hour train adventure through the heart of the Golden State. We had a lot time for contemplation and the vistas were stunning. How could anybody mess this place up? I recall the sun coming up just about the time we could see the ocean and heard Otis Redding in my head singing ‘I left my home in Georgia. Headed for the Frisco Bay.’ I was daydreaming about the gold miners of 1849, being young and excited and this beautiful land of seemingly endless opportunity.

By mid to late afternoon, we were rolling out of the mountains just north of San Luis Obispo, past some kind of prison, down to the coast at Pismo Beach and then onto Santa Barbara. From sea to shining sea. What a beautiful place to lay down railroad tracks. By early evening, we had finally arrived at our destination but LA’s Union Station was something else. Stepping onto the mighty promised land for the first time all fired up with California dreaming, I was greeted by a funky smell and a scruffy entourage of homeless beggars sprawled out all over the place. Welcome to the “City of Angels.”

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My college roommate Bob who had married my college girlfriend Wanda, picked me up at the train station and took me out to their apartment in Riverside where I met their 4-year-old, Josh. Great kid. The next day we drove to Anaheim for a real taste of the pride of California—Disneyland. While I’d never really been that impressed by amusement parks in the first place, after spending almost six months being thrashed on the ocean, I had almost completely lost my desire to pay someone to let me ride on their fun machine designed to physically toss bored humans about in a blur of screaming children. The fun of Space Mountain forever terminated that desire and thank God little Josh couldn’t handle much either.

As we wandered about the make believe land of the great Walt Disney, my disappointment with the fake and the phony was growing and those giant Disney characters didn’t help. The submarine ride, which I had unrealistically imagined to be a Jules Verne voyage to the bottom of a modern aquarium turned out regretfully to be the Dead Sea stocked with cheap plastic fish and a powerful chemical stench that prevented even the faintest algae growth. Finally, to my great relief, I spotted four adults vigorously paddling a canoe in the moat surrounding Pirate Ship Island. At last, I found comfort in an authentic team effort among this pretentious world of expensive fun. However, within in minutes my solace was shattered, as a similar canoe moved along at about the same speed with four adults doing absolutely nothing. Yikes, these canoes were also fake and rode on a track just below the surface of the water. Fortunately for me, just then little Josh also lost his faith in Walt’s illusion, maxed out on fun and inspired us all to head for the parking lot and go back home. I guess you really can’t fool all the people all the time. So is California lost to socialist insanity or just in need of a reality check? I’m Matt Tullar and here’s my opinion.

So, as it turns out, I really have been observing silly unique experiments in California for a long time. And now the democratic socialists want us to believe that the same old nonsense about the war on poverty and how if you redefine what’s moral and just throw enough tax money at the problem, we’ll magically have that Great Society that President Johnson promised in the 1960s. Only one thing. It’s a big lie. Socialism never works and wishful thinking washed down with bold face lies are the real reasons anybody thinks it does.

According to Professor Jordan Peterson and author George Orwell, a socialist himself at the time, observed early in his life that socialists generally don’t really like the poor people they pretend to help, they just hate the rich. However, they do like to keep them poor so they always have some group of victims they can rescue and get paid to take care of. Welfare programs provide socialists with good paying government jobs as bureaucrats or elected politicians. They need reasons to take your tax money and distribute it as they see fit. And the truth just gets in their way.

Life, especially in a free America, is really a meritocracy. That’s a place where things such as economic goods or power are rewarded to individuals on the basis of talent, effort, and achievement, regardless of sexuality, race, gender, or wealth. Simply put, good effort is rewarded and sloth or ignorance always has consequences. This is the unchangeable definition of morality. Think of the 10 Commandments for a quick reference. So if you are poor in a land that honors personal responsibility and the fear of God, you can either work hard like just about everyone else to try and get ahead in life or suffer the consequences. And that’s the simple moral truth. No one gets to rewrite these rules for their own benefit but many obviously try.

AP said, “Suzie Garza is taking part in a unique experiment. Once a month since February, the local government in Stockton, California, has deposited $500 on Garza’s debit card, no strings attached. Garza said, “It’s meant a lot. I feel very blessed. I feel very good about it, just to have a chance to have it.” AP said, “Its part of a Universal Basic Income study giving money to 125 randomly selected residents living below Stockton’s median household income to see how it will impact their lives. The money for the project comes from private donations.”

The “Emperor’s New Clothes” is a classic story written by Hans Christian Andersen about two weavers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that they say is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. In reality, they make no clothes at all and all the adults go along with the fraud until a small boy, oblivious to the illusions of this adult world, declares that the emperor is really butt naked. While socialists are like those who believe the clothes are invisible, I’m like that little child who just naturally sees a stupid experiment perpetrated by people who are either ignorant of morality or foolishly believe they can convince others that now morality has been redefined. At least this cruel experiment is funded by private donations.

AP said, “The idea was the brain child of Stockton’s 29-year-old mayor who grew up poor in the city.” Mayor Tubbs said, “I think poverty is immoral. I think it’s antiquated and I think it shouldn’t exist.” And I think there should be an Easter Bunny, a Tooth Fairy, and a Santa Claus that should come to my house with cash every month but I’m not going to quit my day job while I’m waiting for that to come true. Any kind of supplemental universal basic income is just another completely rotten lie used by socialists to fool the gullible into electing them. This is not only impossible but also outright fraud no matter which crazy person endorses the idea. Just a few years ago people of common sense commonly said there’s no such thing as a free lunch. And it’s still true.

AP said, “The idea of providing a supplemental universal basic income has become a hot topic in the current presidential campaign. Candidate Andrew Yang wants to give every American $1,000 a month, which he said could be paid for by increasing taxes on billionaires and corporations. Yang, said “If you dig into our country’s history, you find it’s a deeply American idea. Thomas Paine was for it at the founding of our country, called it the citizen’s dividend. Martin Luther King championed and fought for it the ’60s. A thousand economists endorsed it in the ’60s and ’70s. It was so mainstream that it passed in the House of Representatives twice in 1971 as the family assistance plan.”

Sure Yang but I don’t remember anyone actually receiving any money from this silly idea. Socialists always claim the money can be collected by increasing the taxes on billionaires and corporations, but that’s another big fat lie. Here is an interesting lesson provided by professor Antony Davies about the myth that government can solve any financial problem by raising taxes.

In his 2017 YouTube program called, “10 Myths About Government Debt,” while showing the audience various slides, Davies said, “Myth number five, the government can solve its financial problems by raising taxes. Well, it turns out the government can’t raise taxes at all, it can only raise tax rates. Taxes are what happens when the tax rate that the government imposes interacts with people’s behavior. This is perhaps the most interesting picture in all of economics. It’s interesting precisely because it’s so boring. What you’re seeing here is federal tax receipts. This is all tax revenue from all sources combined, payroll taxes, income taxes, estate taxes, tariffs, everything. Federal taxes, all sources combined, as a fraction of GDP. What you see is, from 1950 up to the present, this has remained relatively stable at about 17%. That is, over time, if you think of the economy as a pie, the government has collected a constant 17% slice of this economic pie.”

And then Davies said, “Now, let’s superimpose on top of this, for example, the top marginal income tax rate. Back in the 1950s, the top marginal income tax rate was north of 90%. It dropped in the 1960s, reached an all-time low during the Reagan years, goes back up during Bush the first, comes back down, goes back up again. This is the top marginal income tax rate. When you talk about taxing the rich, this is the rate that applies to the rich. But notice what happens here. In years in which we taxed the rich at a very high rate, the government collected 17% of the economy as tax revenue. In years in which we lowered the tax rate on the rich, the government still collected 17% of the economy as tax revenue. The same is true of, for example, the capital gains rate. When capital gains taxes were particularly high, the government collected 17% of the economy as tax revenue. When capital gains taxes were particularly low, the government collected 17% of the economy as tax revenue. The same is true of the average effective corporate tax rate. When corporations paid higher fractions of their profits to the federal government, the federal government collected 17% of the economy as tax revenue. When tax rates on corporations were lower, the government still collected the same 17% of the economy as tax revenue. It didn’t matter whether we taxed the rich or capital gains or corporations. It didn’t matter whether we taxed them a high amount or we taxed them a low amount. Regardless of what the government has done, historically, it has consistently collected the same 17% of the economy as tax revenue.”

And then Davies said, “Now, you might say, “All right, but we’re looking at tax revenue as a fraction of GDP. Tell me what’s happening to tax revenue, straight up.” Let’s look at what happens to tax revenue as tax rates change. What you see here is the top marginal income tax rate. This is data from 1940 to 2015. Across the bottom as we move to the right, we’re taxing the rich at a higher rate. As we move to the left, we’re taxing the rich at a lower rate. Up and down, we’re measuring tax revenue per person, one year later. This is total federal tax revenue on a per capita basis, one year after the tax rate goes into effect, and this is all adjusted for inflation. The story we hear when we hear things like, “Well, we need more tax revenue so we need to tax the rich more,” implicit in that statement is as you increase the tax rate on the rich, we will collect more tax revenue. But if we actually look at the data, what we see is a different picture. The actual data looks like this. On average, as we have increased the tax rate on the rich, one year later, the Federal Government has actually collected, on average, less tax revenue. There are exceptions to this but there’s also a very clear trend that the tax revenue moves in the opposite direction that we think it should. This is not just true of the top marginal income tax rate. We also see it if we look at the capital gains tax rate.”

Finally, Davies said, “Now, the relationship here is not as tight but it’s disturbingly in the same direction. On average, as the government has increased the capital gains tax rate, one year later, it has collected less tax revenue than it did before. We see the same phenomenon with the corporate profits tax. We see the same thing with the estate tax. In fact, of all the federal taxes, I’m only aware of two which, historically, as the government has increased these tax rates, its tax revenue has actually gone up. Those two taxes are Social Security and Medicare. The disturbing part of this is these are the taxes that fall most heavily on the poor and the middle class.”

So here’s the bottom line. We are already deep in debt because of massive social welfare that we cannot afford, that never really helps the victims and that cannot be paid down by increasing tax rates on corporations and the rich. The obvious truth is known to all sensible citizens that operate a household. You simply cannot afford to spend more money than you earn. Ruling out all gifts, any kind of borrowing or any form of social welfare, if your household expenses exceed your revenue then you have run out of money and you are essentially bankrupt. This used to be commonly referred to as living beyond your means and there is really only one reasonable solution. Spend less, make more income or some combination of both. Abide by this moral truth or suffer the consequences.

AP said, “Garza continues to look for work and says the extra $500 a month has allowed her to help pay the bills, spoil her grandchildren for the first time, and take her beloved dog to the vet, which she could never afford before. Garza said, “I like it because I feel more independent. I feel more like I’m in charge. I really have something that’s my own.” AP said, “University researchers are monitoring the Stockton participants and say they will measure success not based on whether they keep or retain jobs but on how much more happy they become. Haven Daily, Associated Press, Stockton, California.”

The tax burden of social welfare in America is massive and punishes citizens with an unbearable burden. Taxing income and any other wealth punishes moral behavior and confuses many in the general population. Socialism not only fails to help the victim class but also significantly increases the cost of living and forces many on the margin into the victim class. Take for example that homeless Americans obviously cannot afford homes and are on the rise. As of 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported that there were roughly 554,000 homeless people living somewhere in the country on any given night in 2017. A total of 193,000 of those people were “unsheltered” meaning they had no access to emergency shelters, transitional housing, or Safe Havens, and were living on the street or essentially in a place “not meant for human habitation.” This is a tragic situation and the result of socialism in America. More socialism will not solve this problem.

The blue democratically dominated state of California, according to usapopulation.org, is the most populated state with over 39 million or about 12% of the U.S. population. However, California has about 25% of the total homeless in the United States and almost 70 percent of the messy street dwelling kind because the vast majority of the state’s homeless are unsheltered. Assuming all these people live in the street, I thought it would be interesting for the sake of accountability to group both the overall number of unsheltered homeless and the percentage of the nation’s unsheltered homeless with their longest serving U.S. congressional representative for the four most populated California cities. And it turns out they’re all Democrats.

According to HUD, Los Angeles has about 4 million residents with about 58,000 homeless, which is 30% of the U.S. total unsheltered and their representative Maxine Waters has been in Congress for 28 years. San Diego has about 1.5 million residents with about 9,200 homeless or about 5% of the U.S. total unsheltered and their representative Susan Davis has been in Congress for 18 years. San Jose has about a million residents with about 7,400 homeless or about 4% of the U.S. total unsheltered and their representative Zoe Lofgren has been in Congress for 24 years. And finally, San Fransisco has about 900,000 residents with about 7,000 homeless or just under 4% of the U.S. total unsheltered and their representative Nancy Pelosi has been in Congress for 32 years. Imagine that. Just these 4 Democrats with all their years in Congress represent about 43% of the total unsheltered homeless in the United States.