11.09.2011 0

California provides a glimpse into Obama’s America

By Rebekah Rast — One of this current administration’s favorite states should be California.  There, environmental regulations are the law of the land, public employee unions have the upper hand and elected official’s progressive agenda rules all.

Since this is a state where the government is deeply involved in each of its citizens’ lives, lining up very nicely with how this administration would like to rule, how have things worked out for California?

The state, boasting a population of a little more than 37 million people, also boasts an unemployment rate of 11.9 percent in September, much higher than the national average. California currently holds a pension fund for its public employee union workers that is about to buckle under the weight of up to an estimated $500 billion in unfunded liabilities.  Using higher pension gap numbers, the state is in an overall debt hole of more than $612 billion — the highest debt held by any state in the nation.

The list of California’s woes could go on from having to borrow from the federal government to pay for unemployment benefits to being home to taxpayer-funded and bankrupt solar panel company Solyndra.

Maybe the ruling nanny state doesn’t know best in California.  But sadly, America seems to be falling in line on the same path as the Golden State.

To remedy the state’s myriad problems there have been suggestions to break up the state, since not every person or community in California is on board with many of the decision made by its elected officials.  This would allow more conservative parts of the state that want less government to break off on their own.

One such plan by Republican Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone would isolate much of the coastal area in California.  This is the area most conservatives consider to be the reason why the state faces such economic turmoil due to its liberal penchant for high taxes and overbearing regulations.  Thereby, a 51st state would be created.

But this is no quick fix as there are many ideas of how best to break apart the massive state.  In the meantime, various communities remain frustrated by new laws and regulations they are forced to abide by.

For example, farmers in the Central Valley of California — an area that is one of the world’s largest exporters of agricultural products — are at war with the federal government over water distribution throughout the state.

Much of the Central Valley’s water is pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the Central Valley Project (CVP) to provide water to more than 600 family-owned farms, which produce more than 60 high quality commercial food and fiber crops sold for the fresh, dry, canned and frozen food markets.  This happens through contracts between Westlands Water District, a water supplier for farmers in the area, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.  The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is an expansive in­land river delta and estuary in northern California.  This is no small water project as the Delta River provides about half of the state’s drinking water.

The government wants water to be retained in the Delta to protect a two-inch fish called the delta smelt and other salmon species.  However, not allowing water in the Delta to be shipped south could cut water supply to the San Joaquin Valley, Central California, by 300,000 acre feet.

Because this is an ongoing case, with the federal government using the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to protect the salmon and delta smelt, farmers have already been forced to take severe cuts in their water distribution.

Since farmers don’t know one year to the next how much water they will receive, they must make the difficult decision of what to plant and what once-productive farmlands to leave fallow.

Another example of government interference is up in northern California, and also has to do with the state’s water.  The latest battle of this rural populace, as reported by the Orange County Register, is “to stop destruction of four hydroelectric dams along the Klamath River — an action driven by environmentalists and the Obama administration.”

You see, destroying these dams from this California and Oregon-shared river would ruin the local farming and ranching economies — all those people have.  Especially now that environmentalists have already destroyed what was once a robust economy from the mining and logging industries that used to be in the area.

With unemployment rates in both the Central Valley of California and many of the far northern communities reaching 20 percent or higher, and despite pleas and overwhelming support for the government to get out of their way, the regulations continue to come.

This is a government assaulting, starving and negatively impacting the livelihoods of its own people.  And don’t think the rest of America is immune to this same treatment.

California isn’t the first example of a failed welfare state.  Many countries in Europe are facing a similar fate and are now dependent on other nations to bail them out.

The government does not know best.  And the whole of America cannot afford to go the way of the Golden State.

Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government (ALG) and NetRightDaily.com.  You can follow her on twitter at @RebekahRast

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