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California Secession Would Force West-Coast Leftists to Confront Reality

I’m not a big fan of Donald Trump, mostly because I fear his populist instincts will deter him from policies that we need (such as entitlement reform) while luring him to support policies that are misguided (more federal transportation spending). But I admit it’s too early to tell. Maybe my policy predictions on Trump will […]

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Brexit and Calexit: Excessive Democracy?

Ordered by Britain’s Supreme Court to get the state’s Parliament’s approval for the state to secede from the Union, the Prime Minister, Teresa May, faced the prospect of debate, amendments, and the votes themselves in the House of Commons and the House of Lords. In the latter chamber, May’s Conservative Party did not at the time have a majority. Some in her party “suggested that she should quickly appoint enough new lords to give her the votes she needs. But few say they expect that to be necessary: with little democratic legitimacy, the 805 lords are unlikely to dare to block” the referendum outcome favoring secession.[1]I submit that the democratic criterion is ill-fitting to the House of Lords.


The full essay is at “Brexit and Calexit: Excessive Democracy?


1. Katrin Bennhold, “Ordered to Seek Approval on ‘Brexit,’ Teresa May Does So. Tersely,” The New York Times, January 26, 2017. 

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Least Surprising Headline Ever – another Giant Cost Overrun and Huge Delay for a Pork-Barrel Infrastructure Project

When politicians create programs and announce projects, they routinely lie about the real costs. Their primary goal is to get initial approval for various boondoggles and they figure it will be too late to reverse path once it becomes apparent that something will cost for more than the initial low-ball estimates. Obamacare is a classic […]

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World’s Best-Ever Receipt and a Serious Lesson about Tax Visibility

I don’t often use the literary tactic of referring to something as the “best-ever.” Indeed, the only time that phrase appeared in the title of a column was back in 2014 when I smugly wrote about the collapse of government-run single-payer healthcare in Vermont. Recalling what Justice Brandeis wrote about states being the “laboratories of […]

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Liberals + Abortion + LGBT = Sexual Totalitarianism

As 2016 was winding down, and Donald Trump was making headlines with late-night tweets confirming his bromance with Vladimir Putin and hatred for his “enemies” who didn’t vote for him, the Liberal loons in California were busy passing a law…

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9th Circuit Court rules against Second Amendment . . . again

Yesterday I wrote a piece about how Obama was taking one last shot before leaving office at voiding our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms by submitting the UN Arms Trade Treaty to the Senate for ratification and…

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California Seceeding? Don’t Make Ne Laugh!

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The latest manifestation of butt hurt, crybaby lefties are threats from Democrat owned California to secede from the United States.  

Here’s a sample of what the#neverTrumpers at Bloomberg have to say:

Immediately after the election, state Senate President Kevin de León and his Assembly counterpart, Anthony Rendon, both Latinos from Southern California, sent out a scathing statement in English and Spanish assuring all 39 million Californians that they were ready for political war. “Today, we woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land, because yesterday Americans expressed their views on a pluralistic and democratic society that are clearly inconsistent with the values of the people of California,” they wrote. “We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution.”

With the largest economy in the U.S. and the sixth-largest in the world, the state enjoys greater independence from Washington than most. It was the first state to adopt its own vehicle emissions standards, in 2002. In 2012, California created the only state-level cap-and-trade system for limiting greenhouse gas emissions after Republicans in Congress rejected a national model. California, which has more undocumented immigrants than any other state, offers them driver’s licenses as well as financial aid for college. It has imposed some of the country’s strictest background checks on firearms purchases. It’s one of three states to provide paid family and medical leave and one of five that require employers to offer paid sick leave. “This is unlike anything we’ve seen in modern political history,” says de León. “We’re going to do everything in our power to protect our people and our values as Californians.”

State Democrats say there’s plenty they can do short of leaving the U.S. California has long been a net contributor to Washington’s coffers, receiving an estimated 78¢ in federal spending in return for every dollar it sends, according to a study by the Washington-based Tax Foundation, a nonprofit think tank that provides analysis of federal and state tax policies. That gives state leaders potential leverage when it comes to complying with policies it doesn’t like, starting with the deportation of undocumented immigrants.

From January 2014 to September 2015, California released immigrants considered deportable under federal law in more than 11,000 instances, rather than keeping them in custody for federal agents, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement data obtained by the Texas Tribune. The next state on the list, New York, released people in fewer than 2,000 cases.

The article’s certainly correct about that last part. One of these ‘immigrants’ they refused to hold for ICE (let’s be more honest than Bloomberg and call them illegal migrants instead) was a career criminal murdered Kate Steinle in San Francisco. And that’s after he was deported five times.

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 Let’s examine this bolshoi in detail, shall we?

The reason for the uproar among California Democrats has nothing to do with values. It has to do with maintaining their political power. California is a solid blue state today simply because the electorate was deliberately changed by the state’s Democrats using a combination of open borders,extremely generous social welfare benefits and high taxation to pay for it that caused a lot of the sort of people who used to vote Republican to leave the state.

California, which has the largest population of illegal migrants in America is arguably the easiest state in the union to commit voter fraud in. Democrat President Clinton’s ‘voter-motor’ legislation automatically registers to vote anyone getting a driver’s license or registering a vehicle who checks a box asking to be registered to vote. California changed that slightly by automatically registering them to vote unless they checked a box asking not to be registered to vote.

The state gives driver’s licenses to illegal migrants and not only does it not check immigration status, but it allows illegal migrants to obtain California driver’s licenses with a matricula consular card issued by one of the numerous Mexican consulates in the state as their only identification. Needless to say, the consulates don’t check anyone’s data too closely, and if there’s a problem, $50 0r $100 cash to the right clerk will get you a matricula consular ID with any name or details you want.

The state has no voter ID laws at all, and a recent Univision poll that the station quickly suppressed and took off the internet showed that a third of the respondents who admitted to being in California illegally also admitted they had voted. And why wouldn’t they? There’s nothing stopping them, they’re duly registered and the president of the United States encouraged them to vote in the last election!

So now you know exactly why many California Democrats are up in arms over actually enforcing our immigration laws. And a big part of what’s behind the recent secession fervor.

Right now, as I write this there’s an organized group submitting a proposed ballot measure to the state attorney general’s office for a 2018 vote.

It’s unlikely to go anywhere for a number of reasons. The national Democrat party will fight it tooth and nail because without California, they lose two senate seats and 39 House seats, and they’re doomed to minority status forever. A large part of the state would likely refuse to leave the United States. And November 2018 would take place almost two years after President Trump takes office. A fair amount of those illegal migrant votes the proponents are counting on to shove this through will likely not be available by then. Finally, as we’ll see, the cost would likely bankrupt the state.

But just for giggles, let’s assume it gets on the ballot, is put to a vote, and passes. How exactly would that work out for California?

As secession proponents are fond of repeating, the state is the world’s sixth largest economy and contributes $1 to the federal treasury for every 78 cents it receives in federal funding. What they aren’t looking at is the nature of what California contributes and where it comes from,or the nature of that federal spending.

California’s economy primarily derives from the fact that it can ship things like high tech and agricultural products to the rest of the United States tariff free and receive imports from the rest of America duty free. If the new nation/state of California expects to receive the same deal after a hostile secession, they’re kidding themselves.

Just imagine how quickly most of Silicon Valley would relocate faced with a 25% tariff on what it exports to the rest of America! Not only that, but things California now gets for free would be things the state would now have to finance, like defense, the Coast Guard, airport security, Medicare, MedicAid (that’s $15 billion for the exchange  alone) a merchant marine to ship its good overseas, various regulatory agencies…it’s a long and costly list. 

Another thing secessionists aren’t calculating astounds me, given that it’s California we’re talking about…that divorces always cost money.

California has millions in Federal infrastructure. There are office buildings, highways, post offices, military bases, armories, dams, national parks, prisons, VA hospitals, communications networks and terminals, fire watching stations,and railroads among other things that the Federal government will rightly demand to be reimbursed for since they were paid for with federal funds.

Also, much of what California contributes to the federal treasury is in the form of taxes. This includes excise taxes on gasoline, communications, the internet, and all sorts of other things. A lot of this stuff would have to be imported to the new nation, and the cheapest and nearest source is Red America unless the new California government wants to enrage its powerful environmental lobby by drilling offshore near those pretty beaches. Setting up and oil or natural gas infrastructure is costly too. And so is importing it.

Californians thinking about whether to secede will be shocked at how much freedom from America is going to cost.That ratio of dollars paid out versus federal funds received would change really quickly.

The socialist coastal elites have been running – almost wrote ruining, Freudian slip- California for some time now. You won’t get any argument out of me that they’re insane. Whether they’re crazy enough for this, especially since a lot of their tax base – the folks that aren’t working for state and local governments would move away to avoid the inevitable sky high taxes that would result  is anyone’s guess. Mine would be no, but like I said we’re not dealing with rational people here.

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Trump Should Follow the Texas (or Hong Kong) Model of Small Government

I’m very happy that we don’t have a one-world government, but my views have nothing to do with conspiratorial fears involving blue helmets and black helicopters. Instead, I’m happy that there are lots of independent nations because that means lots of different approaches to public policy. And that means we have lots of real-life experiments […]

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Secession, Federalism, and National Comity (Plus more Intentional and Unintentional Election-Related Humor)

The concept of secession (part of a jurisdiction breaking away to become independent) has a bad reputation in the United States because it is linked to the reprehensible institution of slavery. But, as Walter Williams has explained, secession today may be an effective way of protecting liberty from ever-expanding centralized government. And I’ve favorably written […]

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FNS, Dems in disarray edition

This past Sunday, Chris Wallace’s panel broke things down beautifully why Hillary Clinton lost. One of the eye-popping exchanges came when Chris Wallace asked “You know, George, one of the things that, and we’ve been around too long probably, we shouldn’t tell people that, but one of the things I’m always amused by is at […]

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Debunking Inequality Myths

I shared a very amusing column last year about “a modest proposal” to reduce income inequality. Written tongue-in-cheek by David Azerrad of the Heritage Foundation, the premise was that society could be made more “fair” by exiling – or perhaps even selling to the highest bidder – America’s richest people. David’s piece cleverly made the […]

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California Passes Stricter Pollution Targets: Bringing Business Around

California’s legislature approved a bill (SB 32) in August, 2016 that extends the climate targets from reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2020 (the former target) to just 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2030.[1]A second law, which includes increased legislative oversight of California regulators and targets refineries in poor areas, passed as well. Diane Regas of the Environmental Defense Fund pointed to California’s climate leadership. “As major economies work under the Paris Agreement to strengthen their plans to cut pollution and boost clean energy, California, once again, is setting a new standard for climate leadership worldwide.”[2]At first glance, it would seem that the legislature had freed itself from big business to pass the bills, but the sector itself was split. I submit the anticipation of a refreshed “cap and trade” program as an alternative (or mitigating factor) to stricter regulations played a role. Simply put, using the market mechanism in government regulation makes the stricter targets more palatable to market-based enterprises.

The full essay is at “California on Greenhouse Gases.”


1. Chris Megerian, “’A Real Commitment Backed Up by Real Power’: Gov. Jerry Brown to Sign Sweeping New Climate legislation,” Los Angeles Times, August 25, 2016.

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Blue State Fail: California’s Long-Term Economic Decline

Something doesn’t add up. People like me have been explaining that California is an example of policies to avoid. Depending on my mood, I’ll refer to the state as the France, Italy, or Greece of the United States. But folks on the left are making the opposite argument. A writer for the Huffington Post tells […]

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Brexit’s energy lesson for California and other environmental extremists

“California’s largest utility and environmental groups announced a deal Tuesday [June 21] to shutter the last nuclear power plant in the state.” This statement from the Associated Press reporting about the announced closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant…

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Other than crony capitalists, who wants wind turbines?

Last month’s wind-turbine fire near Palm Springs, CA, that dropped burning debris on the barren ground below, serves as a reminder of just one of the many reasons why people don’t want to live near the towering steel structures. Other…

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More Libertarian Humor

It’s difficult to be a libertarian. Politicians and bureaucrats do so many foolish things that you can spending your entire day being outraged. But that’s probably not healthy, so it’s good to keep things in perspective with some political humor. Even if libertarians are the ones being mocked, and that’s the case for my most-viewed […]

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You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd

With politics this year, all seems in flux, doesn’t it? The GOP is in Public disarray, and the Democrats aren’t all that far behind. Why is that so? I suspect we are seeing a major realignment in the parties, neither of the Washington establishments seem to have much in common with their voters anymore, and […]

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Lessons from State Tax Policy: Kudos for Tennessee and Texas, Mockery for New York and California

Just like with nations, there are many factors that determine whether a state is hindering or enabling economic growth. But I’m very drawn to one variable, which is whether there’s a state income tax. If the answer is no, then it’s quite likely that it will enjoy better-than-average economic performance (and if a state makes […]

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Conservative Comedy Friday – 4/15/16

In the words of John McCain, “Allahu Akbar It’s Friday!” And of course that means it’s time for some conservative comedy. As I do every Friday, I bring you some of the best conservative political and religious comedy, jokes, and…

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Family and medical leave coming out of your paycheck soon

One of the incontrovertible realities of the socialist do-gooders in Washington is that any legislation they pass has a direct cost, and a down-the-road indirect cost. Sometimes these indirect costs are the result of so-called unintended consequences, but in the…

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