More CA laws choke us

There Oughta Be a Law book coverJan. 6, 2013

By Steven Greenhut

This year’s Rose Parade in Pasadena, California featured the Department of Defense’s “Freedom Isn’t Free” float. While nothing is close to free when DOD is involved—the B-2 bomber that made a fly-by as parade-goers cheered cost more than twice its weight in gold—the rose- and carnation-covered replica of the Korean War Veterans Memorial got me thinking about the state of America’s freedoms as we ring in the New Year.

The news isn’t particularly encouraging. Maintaining a free society involves more than standing up, militarily, to un-free ones. Many areas of our society are disturbingly authoritarian, and the voting public seems less concerned about freedom issues and more interested in the “free” stuff politicians promise them. Government grows at an alarming rate regardless of which party is in power.

Many Americans are facing higher taxes after Republicans caved in to the administration’s bogus plan to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. The federal government is indeed a mess. But I’m most concerned about the future of my home state of California, given that one party—the party that believes that “more government” is the answer to every question—has total dominance in the political system.

Democratic leaders in Sacramento already are taking aim at Proposition 13, as they eye removing tax protections from business-property owners and making it easier for localities to raise property taxes for myriad purposes. Taxation is a freedom issue in that the more government takes from me, the longer I have to work to serve the needs of the bureaucracy.

But your wallets are not the only thing endangered when California’s Legislature is in session. Legislators will ramp up their efforts to regulate everything in sight that isn’t already regulated. The sheer volume of legislation is staggering. Former radio talk-show host Cameron Jackson found that California legislators have passed 12,097 laws since 1993 and another 10,224 resolutions. More than 800 new laws went into effect in California beginning January 1.

Cumulative effect

Not every new law is an assault on freedom, but the cumulative effect can be daunting. Try starting a business or building something anywhere in this state and you’ll quickly learn the high cost of our supposed freedoms—it’s really expensive, as you pay the taxes, conform to the endless regulations, and beg for the approval of multiple legislative bodies and bureaucracies.

Most of this year’s new laws are ridiculous, unneeded, and annoying.

Legislators, for instance, banned the open carrying of unloaded long guns after gun-rights activists staged “open carry” protests to demonstrate their Second Amendment rights. The Legislature certainly showed them! A new law quadruples fines for junk dealers who buy copper stolen from utilities. California parents must now receive information from a government-approved health provider before choosing to exempt their kids from mandated immunizations.

There are new rules on health-care providers mandating that they provide additional medical services, a law that allows certain illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses, and a ban on therapists who provide a therapy that is supposed to cure patients of homosexuality. As you can see, there is no area of life so personal that the state Legislature won’t intervene.

Just as California’s real-estate market is rebounding, emerging from a busting housing bubble caused in large part by government-mandated lending- and land-use practices, we have a package of laws granting homeowners new “rights” not to be foreclosed upon—something that will slow down the natural market-oriented process of foreclosure and resale, and basically enrich lawyers.

Legislators can now get special vanity license plates, but you can no longer use dogs to hunt bear, as if that was ever a big issue. A few measures actually increase, albeit modestly, your freedoms, such as a bill that allows Californians to sell food products out of their home kitchens, although even this good law adds government oversight to the process.

Republicans didn’t have much luck controlling government’s growth, but they did pass a law that authorizes a privately funded statute of Ronald Reagan to be erected at the Capitol. If you can’t limit government, you might as well remind us of a politician who, rhetorically at least, was in favor of that seemingly outmoded concept.

The result of this endless sea of legislation is a society mired in bureaucracy, taxed to the hilt and where the citizenry always is at risk for violating an incomprehensible and miles-deep list of regulations and rules. As a friend has noted, we have morphed from a nation of laws to a nation of rules, enforced by a well-paid group of officials who continually lobby for more protections and benefits for themselves.

Freedom certainly isn’t free. It takes a tireless commitment to protect it from encroaching government. I can do with a few less parade floats and a lot more commitment from Americans to defend our founding principles in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.


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  1. Richard deSousa
    Richard deSousa 6 January, 2013, 11:31

    It sounds just like Greece! I saw a program on CNBC last year when the reporter interviewed a Greek who wanted to open a small business in Athens but he gave up when the bureaucrats told him he had to visit over a dozen government agencies to get his permits to start his business. Unbelievable!

    Reply this comment
  2. Ex-Californian
    Ex-Californian 6 January, 2013, 15:31

    This is great! They will speed up the exodus of companies leaving the state and chase them to the south eastern states! Thank you !!!!!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  3. The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm)
    The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm) 6 January, 2013, 16:34

    A Reagan statue? Niiiice—

    Ronald Rayguns– The Father of Cap and Trade….

    Reply this comment
  4. Donkey
    Donkey 6 January, 2013, 16:47

    The noose becomes tighter around the necks of every private sector citizen with every passing day the state legislature meets to design methods to devour the freedom and labor of the private sector workers. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  5. us citizen
    us citizen 6 January, 2013, 17:32

    Im still saying retard. I dont care. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  6. Ron Kilmartin
    Ron Kilmartin 6 January, 2013, 18:26

    I have two theories on regulations in blue states. (1) since the blue voters have demonstrated they cannot think for themselves, they need government regulations to tell them what to do. (2)Since the liberals have rejected God’s moral codes they need guidance. For example, instead of Thou shalt not kill(God); the liberals have Thou shalt not have guns, but killing is ok, especially the unborn.

    Reply this comment
  7. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 6 January, 2013, 22:57

    Ronald Rayguns– The Father of Cap and Trade….
    Repeating your lie wont make it come true 😉

    Reply this comment
  8. Donkey
    Donkey 7 January, 2013, 09:31

    Rex, it has always been the tool of the left to propagate lies at every turn. Our current POTUS has an entire media that defends and proliferates the lies coming out of his mouth.

    Teddy Steals is nothing but a follower, he sees his free RAGWUS lunch under attack and will lie about anything to keep it flowing. Too bad the lack of math skills for people of his ilk will lead to a reality to which they are unable to comprehend. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  9. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 7 January, 2013, 09:56

    Poor Duncey and Poodle—wrong again…

    0 for 14 ™

    Hurry– Type now!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  10. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 7 January, 2013, 14:31

    Copy and paste-again- that does NOT support your lie!

    Reply this comment
  11. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 7 January, 2013, 14:32

    Rex, it has always been the tool of the left to propagate lies at every turn
    But teddy and seesaw spin far bigger, and more, whoppers than your average tree hugger Donk.

    Hey Donk, do you know where OCO is posting at these days???????? Since teddy race baited him into leaving.

    Reply this comment
  12. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 7 January, 2013, 23:07

    I am not even on this thread, Rex. Don’t know what you are talking about. I only opine–I do not lie.

    Reply this comment
  13. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 7 January, 2013, 23:53

    Errr…right seesaw, you don’t ever tell any whoppers…….like the “average” trougher pension is only $25K!

    Reply this comment
  14. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 8 January, 2013, 08:07

    That’s right, Rex. The average CalPERS pension is about that. You can get the statistics from CalPERS. I have nothing to do with it.

    Reply this comment
  15. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 8 January, 2013, 08:15

    Average monthly service retirement allowance all retirees: $2,420

    Cut and paste from the CalPERS website. Its gone up a little–hooray. I’m sure you will say that CalPERS is a low-life, liar won’t you Rex.

    Reply this comment
  16. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 8 January, 2013, 08:49

    Here is the most recent information, drawn directly from the annual reports of Cal STRS and CalPERS:

    From the CalSTRS Annual Report, page 135:

    CalSTRS participants who retired during the 12 months ending June 30th, 2010 (the most recent data), earned pensions as follows:

    25-30 years service, average pension $50,772 per year.
    30-35 years service, average pension $67,980 per year.
    35-40 years service, average pension $86,736 per year.
    From the CalPERS Annual Report, page 151:

    CalPERS participants who retired during the 12 months ending December 31st, 2009 (the most recent data), earned pensions as follows:
    25-30 years service, average pension $53,182 per year.
    30+ years service, average pension $66,828 per year.

    Reply this comment

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