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Tidings of Coercion, Regulation and Taxes

Tuesday December 8th, 2015   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 8:42am PST   •  

governor-seal_200When confronted with seismic-safety issues on the new span of the Bay Bridge, which came in 10 years late and $5 billion over budget, California governor Jerry Brown famously quipped, “shit happens.” As David Siders of the Sacramento Bee observes, Brown the former seminarian does better with the orthodoxies of statist superstition.

“Never underestimate the coercive power of the central state in the service of good,” Brown explained at a Paris art museum. So it’s all about coercion, and it all starts at the top. In this beatific vision, the power of the central coercive state serves goodness, which trickles down to the masses. Regulations, the California governor told the Parisian audience, “work hand in glove” with innovation. Note the order in that statement. In statist superstition, government regulation comes first. As Brown explained it, “Progress comes from well-designed regulatory objectives that business then follows.” Therefore, he told the audience, “You can be sure California is going to keep innovating, keep regulating, and, shall I say, keep taxing.” That’s the key to the whole thing, the taxing part.

The man who once proclaimed himself a “born again tax cutter,” and as a presidential candidate even supported a flat tax, now heads the state with the highest rate of income and sales taxes. California is the state most unfriendly to taxpayers and the ruling class of government employee unions is trying to keep it that way by extending tax hikes that, in typical style, were pitched as temporary. So now abide coercion, regulation and taxes, but the greatest of these is taxes. And some heavily subsidized companies like it that way.

Also quoted in Siders’ piece was Bloom Energy boss K.R. Sridhar, who claimed “There’s almost nothing in the post-industrial age, no business, no industry that ever got started or ever flourished without policy support, without subsidy and without federal support.” According to, Bloom Energy is “extending its dominance of state subsidy programs outside of its home state of California” but “has fallen short of the hiring and wage targets it agreed to meet when it accepted $16.5 million in state funds to create jobs in Delaware.

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December 2015