Pathogens, Pelosi, Policies ... They're Connected
San Francisco is losing residents because of policies that preceded coronavirus.
News headlines have reflected the movement of citizens out of several cities due to COVID-19 in recent days. The New York Times, CNN, USA Today, and others — including us — have noted the flight of residents to suburbia or other destinations to escape the densely populated areas hardest hit by this pathogen.
But it’s not just individuals worried about catching a bug who are leaving large cities.
A few weeks ago, self-described moderate Tesla founder Elon Musk declared to his 34 million Twitter followers, “Take the red pill” — a reference to the movie “The Matrix” and the idea of being freed from a false construct of civilization. Tesla was being forced to close its Fremont, California, manufacturing facilities for a prolonged period, even as other states were reopening their economies following the complete societal shutdown.
The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX is no MAGA-hat-wearing right-winger, but his anti-regulatory tenor was heard via social media as he threatened to join the nearly 36,000 disgruntled Bay Area emigrants since 2013. Musk called Governor Gavin Newsom’s heavy-handed and extended stay-at-home order “fascist,” and he defiantly joined his plant’s workers on the assembly line, daring authorities to arrest him for breaking the government-enforced quarantine.
In reality, the six-county Bay Area has only had its problems accentuated by the universal lockdown and subsequent economic decline of the COVID-19 response. The novel virus has certainly left its mark on Americans’ health and wealth, but the prospects of a comeback are much more favorable and greater outside areas governed by the Left.
However, as federal funds are being appropriated and dispersed to keep American families afloat until they can return to work, the sudden gusher of money is flowing into Democrat-run state and local governments that have suffered from an affliction that, unlike the coronavirus, cripples the economy and drives out middle-class workers and investors continually. Big government means big taxes and private-sector workers are left to foot the bill.
“America’s Havana” is a piece penned by former San Francisco resident Michael Gibson, who, after 10 years, sought relief from the city’s self-inflicted bad policy. “Even before the current COVID19 pandemic, California’s fourth largest city was a deeply troubled city,” wrote Gibson. He listed the city’s number-one ranking in “theft, burglary, vandalism, shoplifting and other property crime,” while noting its struggles with diseases such as typhoid, hepatitis A, and tuberculosis. Some 4.5 million needles are distributed annually to deal with addicts and there’s now a “poop patrol” to deal with the filth of the homeless population.
Gibson wrote firsthand of the over-regulation of the city, which has prevented new construction and hampered that which is attempted with “the nation’s tightest zoning rules and land-use restrictions” based on environmental regulations. Thus, the city, like the state, has experienced seven consecutive years of population decline. Gibson minced no words in declaring, “San Francisco is a city overwhelmed by its own stupidity.”
While Democrats may want to end homelessness, improve public health, and see wages increase, the way to achieve these important goals is not through regulations, environmental chokeholds, or the massive expansion of government along with the redistribution of wealth.
U.S. House District 12 of California is represented by none other than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Democrat was first elected in 1987 — 17 terms ago — to follow her father in Congress. San Francisco sits in District 12, and it should benefit from the most powerful elected female in the United States. It also sits just over an hour from Sacramento, the capital of the largest state in America.
Yet, as reported by the Mercury News, when surveyed, “nearly two-thirds of Bay Area residents say the quality of life here has gotten worse in the last five years,” citing the cost of living, homelessness, traffic, and excessively priced housing as reasons for what the publication describes as “thousands more fleeing region than arriving from other states.” Specifically, Texas, Oregon, Tennessee, Nevada, Washington, Arizona, Idaho, and North Carolina are top states receiving new residents.
Because governments have no money of their own, elected leaders determine how much of their own money workers are able to keep, as well as the environment created to either foster economic growth and jobs or push them away.
COVID-19 is a pathogen that has turned America’s economy upside down and has been monitored daily for its case count and fatalities. It is bad policies that kill jobs, drive up the cost of living, and rob individuals of the opportunity to be self-reliant. This, in turn, brings about deaths of despair.
It matters who governs because it matters how they govern.