It really is a lovely place, California, but it’s so disastrously misgoverned now that the Left has gained total control over the state that it’s no surprise that people want to flee it as quickly as they can. Now, however, it turns out that the Eagles’ Don Henley and Glenn Frey saw something coming that the rest of the world missed: in their notorious 1977 song “Hotel California,” they say: “You can check out any time you like / But you can never leave.”
That wasn’t just some nightmare scenario of the coked-out beautiful people in Malibu; it was a foretaste of a new proposal from California’s Marxist party, a.k.a. the Democrats. You can hate California’s nanny-state socialism, high taxes, rampant homelessness, and ever-rising crime, but if you’ve ever lived there, you could be subsidizing it all for the rest of your life. Yes, even if you escape.
Fox News reported Monday that “California lawmakers are pushing legislation that would impose a new tax on the state’s wealthiest residents — even if they’ve already moved to another part of the country.” So you see, if you are unfortunate enough to be living in San Francisco and don’t want to be made to finance the city’s insane new scheme to give five million dollars in “reparations” to its black residents, it may already be too late to dodge that particular socialist bullet. You can check out and go to Idaho, or Arizona, or even sunny, free, DeSantis-ruled but incomparably more humid Florida, but the California taxman will hunt you down and knock on your door anyway. You can check out, my friend, but no, you can never leave.
Assemblyman Alex Lee, whom Fox News identifies as a “progressive Democrat,” as if we might have mistaken him for an America-First patriot, “last week introduced a bill in the California State Legislature that would impose an extra annual 1.5% tax on those with a ‘worldwide net worth’ above $1 billion, starting as early as January 2024.” See, ex-Californians? You have nothing, nothing whatsoever, to worry about. If you’re not a billionaire, you don’t have the slightest reason to worry about rogue agents from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration breaking down your front door at 4 a.m. and frog-marching you to the nearest ATM so you can do your bit to fund their latest mad scheme to confiscate even more of the dwindling number of remaining Californians’ hard-earned dough. You’re free and clear, no? No.
For one thing, you’re a lot closer to being a billionaire than you might think, but not in a good way. If Old Joe Biden’s inflation keeps up or (God forbid) accelerates, we may be walking around with wheelbarrows of cash to buy a loaf of bread, like in those old pictures from the Weimar Republic. It may before too long take a billion or two to buy a carton of eggs if the current madness keeps up. You could end up becoming a billionaire while actually suffering a decline in earning power and standard of living.
And then there is the ever-present reality that politicians lie, especially when it comes to taxes. Sure, Alex Lee’s new ex-Californians tax is only going to be for the very rich, and they’re not like you and me. But taxes have a way of trickling down, far more efficiently than earnings ever did. It wouldn’t surprise anyone in the entire world if this tax that is only going to be for billionaires ends up being charged to middle-class and lower-middle-class Californians and ex-Californians before the car is even loaded for the move to Nevada. After all, San Francisco has a lot of black millionaires to make, and once that lovely city is full of these newly-minted rich people, ever more taxes are going to be needed to sustain them in the manner to which they have become accustomed.
You can’t have actually assumed that if you left the Golden State in your rearview mirror that it would actually leave you, did you? That’s why socialist states build walls, to keep their people in, so they don’t have to go to the trouble of chasing them all over the world in order to keep on bleeding them dry.
And so we know what’s coming next: a wall around California to stop the population hemorrhage and shore up Gavin Newsom’s wildly implausible but so-crazy-it-just-might-work presidential hopes. If Newsom does become president, watch for the wall to go up, finally, on the Mexican border. But it’ll be to keep people in, not out.