Michael Swartz / January 29, 2021

Joe Biden’s Californication of America

Will our 46th president do to America what his fellow Democrats have done to California?

During the runup to the 2020 election and beyond, people who knew where to look were warned about the policy direction taken by California. We told you about its bright idea of eliminating the gas-powered car by mandating all new cars sold in the state after 2035 be electric, and in another news flash alerted you to the exodus of people and capital from the state.

Unfortunately for Americans who prefer gainful employment and freedom, the California influence on Joe Biden’s regime extends far beyond his vice president and current House leadership.

As City Journal contributing editor Joel Kotkin writes, “[Biden] seeks to ‘make America California again,’ and he will have plenty of help. Californians will run Health and Human Services, the Treasury, Homeland Security, and Energy. Former California senator Kamala Harris is vice president, and San Francisco’s Nancy Pelosi rules the House of Representatives. Progressives like Laura Tyson and Lenny Mendonca see the shift as embracing ‘California’s distinctive approach to market capitalism.’ The Golden State, they insist, can ‘show the way forward’ toward a more socially just future.”

Or these Californians can set our nation on a course of economic deviancy.

One case in point is the idea that American taxpayers should pay even more for the lavish idea of placing San Francisco’s homeless population in hotels. While the mean old Trump administration was only reimbursing the city 75% of the monthly cost, a recent executive order from Biden could mean taxpayers pick up in full the city’s $18 million monthly tab to house about 2,200 people. (Doing the math, that’s over $8,000 per month per person! Really?) And as The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti writes, “One big issue … is whether the federal government will only pay for the hotel rooms going forward, through September — a program that could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars — or whether San Francisco can expect to be reimbursed for all expenses, even retroactive expenses. That means taxpayers could be on the hook for the entire hotel program.”

While it’s a sure bet that San Francisco will be happy to fleece Uncle Sam for assistance in housing its homeless population, a smarter city government would be looking for out-of-the-box ideas from the private sector. If a government watchdog group can come up with a poop map for the city, surely there are solutions out there to address other problems. But as long as the federal government keeps an open checkbook for “fixing” the blunders of Democrat-dominated state and local governments like those in California, we’re not going to get anywhere.

In his conclusion, Kotkin — a longtime Golden State resident — sums up the issue: “The apparent decision of the Biden administration to model its policies on California, particularly in terms of regulation, augurs, if anything, far worse for the rest of the country. The assault on fossil fuels — starting with the announced end of the Keystone XL Pipeline — will destroy a large number of generally well-paying union construction jobs. The banning of fracking, already endorsed by Vice President Harris, would devastate economies in less climactically blessed states like Texas, Pennsylvania, or Ohio. Similarly, California-style regulation already makes it difficult for industrial firms to reshore to the Golden State; imposing similar strictures would slow and even end the gradual shift of industry to the Midwest and other parts of the Heartland. … The middle of the country will see its economies threatened even as digital revenues continue to pour into Palo Alto or San Francisco.” Of course, we’ve seen in recent months how Big Tech companies work hand in hand with government to stifle competition and amass more wealth and power for themselves.

Under the previous administration, businesses and citizens who were worn out by California’s restrictive policies voted with their feet, moving to places like Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, and other states around the nation in such numbers that California lost population. But if California’s failing policies become those of the federal government, then where else can we go?

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