Progressives and Democrats in California are turning the state into the liberal Mecca of the United States
While conservatives in states like Texas and North Carolina are wreaking havoc by cutting social programs, cutting taxes on the rich and restricting abortion, there is one state becoming a beacon of hope for progressives across the country. I refer to California liberals and the changes they’ve made in their state in such a short period of time.
The state known for its Republican actors turned governors (Reagan/Schwarzenegger) and the make-belief of Hollywood is quickly turning into a real liberal Mecca, void of conservative influence and Tea Party lunacy.
Back in June, Democrat Governor Jerry Brown signed a $96.3 billion general fund budget that includes a surplus and modestly increases spending. Three short years after facing a $60 billion dollar deficit, Californians now have to decide what programs they want to reinvest in.
The budget crisis in California was not solved by lowering taxes and cutting spending like most conservatives preach to being the cure. It was solved by cuts to spending, but also an increase in taxes, particularly on the wealthy. That’s all it took, and contrary to what Republicans predicted would happen, businesses are not fleeing the state.
The progressiveness of California doesn’t end with the tax system, it covers most aspects of people’s daily lives. From gay rights to gun control, life is moving forward rather than backward.
California is still one of only thirteen states to legalize same sex marriage (before and after a Supreme Court battle over Prop 8). Medicinal marijuana has been legal for 17 years, but penalties for possession and cultivation has been drastically reduced to an infraction not unlike a speeding ticket. It is important to note these two changes occurred under Schwarzenegger’s watch.
California leads the nation and much of the world when it comes to green technology. The state leads in clean energy, clean transportation and green construction. California vehicle emission standards are stricter than the federal EPA requirements and the state also has one of the country’s best Carbon cap and trade systems.
The Golden State is welcoming the Affordable Care Act with open arms by expanding Medicaid to 1.4 million low-income people. There is also a movement afoot gathering steam to move to a single payer health system. Furthermore, unlike Republican controlled legislators in Texas and North Carolina who are making legal access to abortion more difficult, there are laws on the table in California to expand it.
Another place California liberals are leading the way is gun control. A bill sitting on Governor Brown’s desk would ban new sales of semi-automatic rifles with removable magazines (of ten rounds or more) and those who already own these weapons would have to register them by next year.
Now, we all know that California isn’t perfect and neither is their democrat governor. This is the same state after all that passed Prop 8 in the first place and rejected a law that would have required frankenfood companies to label their products. No one’s perfect.
But you have to look at the big picture and what these changes might mean for the rest of the country. With a population of 40 million people and the 12th largest economy in the world, when California liberals ask for something, they usually get it because the market can’t afford to ignore it.
When they ask for better fuel standards for cars, Detroit has to build them. When they ask for healthier food, the market has to service them. California’s influence is greater than most Republican controlled states combined. If you were to throw New York’s liberal influence into the mix the whole country has to listen, they can’t afford not to.
When conservatives around the country see the actions of California liberals actually working, they only have two options. They can either get with the program or lie to the people to the best of their abilities.
Naturally they will lie through their teeth or at least skew the truth, that’s what they know. However, if I’ve learned anything from following politics the last few decades, it’s that you can only lie so long in the face of facts before the truth is discovered. 40 million Californians are helping to spread that truth.