Victor Davis Hanson // National Review
More than 2 million Californians were recently left without power after the state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric — which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year — preemptively shut down transmission lines in fear that they might spark fires during periods of high autumn winds.
Consumers blame the state for not cleaning up dead trees and brush, along with the utility companies for not updating their ossified equipment. The power companies in turn fault the state for so over-regulating utilities that they had no resources to modernize their grids.
Californians know that having tens of thousands of homeless in their major cities is untenable. In some places, municipal sidewalks have become open sewers of garbage, used needles, rodents, and infectious diseases. Yet no one dares question progressive orthodoxy by enforcing drug and vagrancy laws, moving the homeless out of cities to suburban or rural facilities, or increasing the number of mental hospitals.
Taxpayers in California, whose basket of sales, gasoline, and income taxes is the highest in the nation, quietly seethe while immobile on antiquated freeways that are crowded, dangerous and under nonstop makeshift repair.
Gas prices of $4 to $5 a gallon — the result of high taxes, hyper-regulation, and green mandates — add insult to the injury of stalled commuters. Gas tax increases ostensibly intended to fund freeway expansion and repair continue to be diverted to the state’s failing high-speed rail project.