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February 6, 2018

California: The Land of Dreams Has Become a Nightmare

From “free” health care to universal basic income, the Golden State is quickly running out of gold.

It’s hard to imagine that in 1975, Ronald Reagan was governor of California. As we mark Reagan’s birthday today, we marvel over how times have changed for the Golden State. Since Reagan’s time, politics in California have changed drastically and, unfortunately, not for the better. Sadly, the entrepreneurial spirit has all but vanished for many who reside in California, primarily due to the big government, “progressive” ideology that has dominated the state for many years now.

California was once a state where people could dream big but the dreams of so many have turned into an absolute nightmare as the state’s government continues to push more policies — whether it’s sanctuary-state policies or welfare that creates poverty — that guarantee everyone can share in equal misery.

The government of California is revisiting an idea from last year to provide state run health care for everyone. Of course, it’s being branded “free” health care, but any person with a basic understanding of economics knows that there’s no such thing as a “free” lunch — or as it pertains to California in this instance — “free” health care. Somebody has to pay for this would-be government service.

The state estimates it will cost $400 billion to provide health care for all, but as with any estimate on behalf of a government-run program, that $400 billion will be much, much higher. The health care plan currently being debated is a single-payer program and the government intends to not only provide its citizens with health care, but also those who don’t have legal status. And again, California is a “sanctuary state.”

So if you happen to be an illegal immigrant, feel free to move to California where every dime of your medical expenses will be paid for. This idea and the plan for the state to provide health care for everyone may very well be attractive to many people across the U.S. and even from around the world. One can only imagine the hordes of people who will want to move there so they can receive health care — at least at first.

But eventually, the people paying the exorbitant taxes for this plan will flee the state and this socialist idea will fail because the “free” health care everybody wants will be far too expensive. And what of the doctors? There is already a shortage of doctors in California. As Jim Geraghty notes, “Researchers recommend at least 60 doctors for every 100,000 people; only two of nine regions in the state meet that threshold.”

So with the current shortage of physicians to provide care to Californians, what happens when there is an influx of people seeking medical care, but there aren’t enough doctors to provide it? Part of the answer can be found simply by visiting a Veterans Affairs clinic or hospital. Long wait times and overall poor quality is the norm for millions of veterans across America. And that barely scratches the surface of the burden of socialized medicine. The system becomes overwhelmed to the point that many tragically give up on life.

As if the idea of “free” health care isn’t enough, there is also a proposal to provide a Universal Based Income or UBI. This idea has been batted around for several years amongst some economists and the gist is that individuals receive a certain sum of cash for doing nothing except for being a living, breathing human being.

The city of Stockton California is considering giving its poorest residents a guaranteed basic income of $500 a month, with no strings attached. The mayor of Stockton, Michael Tubbs, is seeking to identify several dozen families by June to receive this money for the next 12-18 months. The money for this “experiment” is going to come from a philanthropic fund, so Stockton residents won’t have to pay more in taxes to cover this handout. Yet.

Stockton declared bankruptcy five years ago, and currently one out of every four people living in the city of 100,000 live below the poverty line. So instead of reversing the burdensome tax-and-spend policies, the endless regulations and laws that stifle economic growth and opportunity, this city is contemplating a massive new handout. What incentive is there for any of these recipients of this guaranteed income to find a better paying job, to learn or improve a trade or skill or to better educate themselves so they can become qualified for a better job and move up the economic ladder on their own?

There isn’t any because in most cases — including Stockton’s UBI and California’s dream of “free” health care for all — something for nothing has no real economic value to the recipient, while coming at a high cost to those who pay for it. It’s a further expansion of the already failing welfare state. And instead of achieving the American Dream, people are left with no upward mobility, or worse, they fall into more miserable conditions because the false socialist utopia they were promised wasn’t so great.

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