Tuesday, January 26, 2021

1889 Institute: Californians relocating to Oklahoma, please do so responsibly

I stumbled across this shirt online, which fits the below column very well

Be Careful What You Wish For
By Brad Galbraith

The state of Oklahoma has California in its sights.

Persistently bad policymaking in California has resulted in a heavy tax burden, an outrageous cost of living, and, consequently, a mass exodus. The ensuing tyranny and oppression should be a clarion call to California emigrants to execute an abrupt about-face and abandon public policies and elected officials that created this condition.

To connect the dots between policy and affordability, consider one aspect of the cost of living – the price of gasoline. In the modern economy, transportation is a necessity and the price of gas is likely one of the transportation costs with which almost everyone can relate.

California and Oklahoma are similarly situated in household and individual relationships to automobiles. In California, 93.1% of households had access to at least one vehicle compared to 94.4% of Oklahoma households. 83.3% of California commuters chose to drive or carpool to work, compared to 92.2% of Oklahoma commuters. According to one study, per 100 residents, California had 38.1 vehicles registered while Oklahoma had 32.8. This similarity will help paint a clear picture of the extent to which public policy has burdened Californians.

At the time of this writing, the average price per gallon of gas in California was $3.17 per gallon, more than a dollar higher than the national average. This is crazy, especially for Oklahomans accustomed to an average price of $1.81. A recent publication by the American Petroleum Institute gives some insight into the dramatic difference. Spoiler – it has a lot to do with public policy. 

California tax policy places a high burden on drivers. State-specific taxes and fees amount to a nation-leading 81.2 cents per gallon of gasoline. By contrast, Oklahoma is a quarter of that amount, coming in at 20 cents per gallon. Additionally, California’s politicians have been antagonistic toward gasoline-fueled automobiles, such as a recent executive order demanding that all new cars sold in California have “zero-emissions.” 

This, along with numerous other examples, should serve as a wake-up call, a realization that public policy matters. It can either preserve freedom or impose tyranny. So, Californians who relocate businesses to Oklahoma, please do so responsibly.

Take the time necessary to reflect on why you are leaving California. Contemplate how public policy has contributed to the condition from which you flee. Then observe how free enterprise policies foster an environment of freedom within which businesses and residents can thrive.

As the tendencies toward paternalistic governance, aversion to free markets, and love of hyper-regulation begin to dissipate and the fresh, crisp air of freedom has filled your lungs, take action. Vote to preserve liberty for yourself and others for generations to come.  

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