In January, the Los Angeles Times reported that Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom had “every politician’s dream” — a massive budget surplus and no real opposition from Republicans.
“There seems to be nothing standing in the way of California Gov. Gavin Newsom,” the first line of Taryn Luna’s report read.
In the short term, perhaps not. However, state budget surpluses come from tax windfalls, and tax windfalls come from taxing residents. What happens when you start running out of residents to tax?
Because that’s what’s slowly but surely happening in California. According to U-Haul’s annual report, California remains the top state for outbound migration — and that migration was likely undercounted because the truck supplier ran out of inventory in the Golden State.
We’ve been covering California’s outbound migration trend here at The Western Journal for some time now, even if the establishment media doesn’t want to examine its implications. If you want a fresh view on why people are fleeing America’s most populous state, consider helping our cause by subscribing.
So why is there nothing standing in Newsom’s way? Well, as Luna noted, California had “another year of gushing tax revenue,” which “ensures that the politics of plenty will continue to define his first four years in office.” Furthermore, a “Legislature teeming with Democrats and his easy defeat of the recall election have made him even more powerful.”
“Newsom’s allies say his good fortune provides him a rare opportunity to focus on creating a better California for future generations, allowing him to spend time working on a long-term agenda that could become his legacy,” she wrote.
“But amid a recent statewide spate of smash-and-grab retail thefts, a worsening homelessness crisis and other pressing issues, Newsom’s record as governor will hinge on whether he can make progress on the problems of today and meet the needs of tomorrow.”
Are Democratic policies causing Californians to flee the state?
Yes, those are problems, but nobody seemed too worried that the money needed to tackle them would run out.
“He’s sitting on a massive budget surplus that is every politician’s dream,” Susan Kennedy, a top aide to former Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gray Davis, told the Times. “He’s got no credible opposition to re-election and the wind at his back. He should be able to tackle any major issue he sets his mind to.”
The article appeared a little over a week after U-Haul’s annual report was released. Given that the company oversees more than 2 million one-way truck rentals each year, U-Haul’s numbers give us a good approximation of where people are moving. Surprise of surprises, California lost the most people in 2021.
It’s not just truck rentals, mind you. In 2020, California saw population loss for the first time.
When the results of the 2020 census were announced, California had lost a congressional seat, also for the first time. While its population had grown over a 10-year period, it did so at a slower rate than other parts of the U.S.
Let’s face facts: Newsom will likely win a second term unless a credible Republican challenger is able to point out how his coronavirus hypocrisy, soft-on-crime attitude, blind eye toward homelessness and profligate spending will continue to doom California. Even then, it would need to be a cataclysmically bad year for Democrats in general for Newsom to lose.
If the current trends don’t reverse themselves, however, California is committing itself to the “politics of plenty” just as plenty of people skedaddle. For them, the state is too expensive. Taxing Silicon Valley ultra-billionaires only goes so far, particularly when they decide to pull an Elon Musk and relocate.
If they don’t leave the state for tax purposes, perhaps they leave because a functional middle class is necessary for any society to function. DoorDash may be based in San Francisco, but how many of its drivers can afford to live there — or deliver the sushi the affluent Bay Area set wants for lunch while working from home?
Delivery drivers, plumbers and small business owners are the types that a community needs but can’t afford to pay for Newsom’s ambition.
So, no — in the short term, nothing is standing in the way of Gavin Newsom. In the long term, reality and the judgment of history will loom larger than temporary budgetary surpluses. Just ask U-Haul.