Our latest Liberty Update highlights the danger of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that's about to…
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Image of the Day: IRS Collected Record Taxes Through July

Our latest Liberty Update highlights the danger of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that's about to enjoy a doubling of funding and personnel via the abominable Manchin-Schumer "compromise" tax-and-spend-and-regulate bill.  Apologists for the bill rationalize that a turbocharged IRS is necessary to collect more taxes from the American people (and we highlight in our piece how Americans earning under $200,000, not the "rich," will be the primary targets).  The U.S. Treasury Department, however, just reported that the federal government just collected a record amount of taxes so far this fiscal year.  The obvious problem isn't insufficient funding of the federal government, but rather excessive spending:

 …[more]

August 12, 2022 • 11:54 AM

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Gavin Newsom’s Weird Idea of ‘Freedom’ Print
By Victor Davis Hanson
Thursday, July 14 2022
In truth, over the last decades hundreds of thousands of Californians and billions of dollars of wealth fled the now inert California for a far freer Florida and Texas, among other states.

In a run-up to what is likely to be a 2024 presidential bid, California Governor Gavin Newsom hit upon the bizarre idea of boasting in commercials that California is America's true "free" state.

Part of his ad campaign is to attack Florida  currently run by Newsom's possible rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Yet, with the most burdensome regulations and high tax rates, Newsom's California is arguably the most unfree state in the union.

In return for these steep costs, the state's public institutions, infrastructure, and services are among the country's worst.

California's once-vaunted freeway system is near the bottom of all state comparisons. California's Highway 99, which runs the length of the Central Valley, is one of the deadliest roads in America based on miles driven.

Over half the nation's homeless crowd the state's major cities. One-third of America's welfare recipients have flooded into the state. A fifth of the resident population lives below the poverty line. Well over a quarter of Golden State residents were not born in the United States.

California public school test scores consistently fall among the bottom 10 states. San Francisco has the highest per capita property crime rate in the country.

The recently recalled San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin and his soon-to-be recalled Los Angeles counterpart George Gascon have nearly ruined their cities. Both are iconic of multibillionaire George Soros' nationwide efforts to undermine the entire criminal justice system.

State residents are not free to drive safely because of their decrepit freeways. They are not free from filthy and toxic sidewalks or dangerous physical assault in their major cities.

Public school children are not free to enjoy competitive educations. San Franciscans are not free to park their cars without fearing that they will be vandalized or stolen.

The destruction of these freedoms is in direct proportion to the confiscatory taxes that the state collects  the highest bracket of income and gasoline rates in the nation, among the highest sales taxes, and property taxes that soar due to inflated assessments in spite of a 1978 state constitutional amendment.

Currently, California faces brownouts due to the longstanding, deliberate curtailment of electrical generation plants.

Yosemite's historic redwood forest is currently threatened with what are now customary California summer conflagrations.

The destructive, dirty forest fires reflect a deliberate state policy of not gleaning the forests of dead trees, but rather letting the flammable debris serve as "natural" fodder for bugs and birds.

The state has not built a major reservoir in nearly 40 years.

In rarer wet years, millions of acre-feet of runoff and snowmelt simply cascade to the sea. Releasing such vital water apparently enhances 19th-century riparian landscapes  and discourages its own agribusiness.

Amid Newsom's anti-Florida ad campaign, the governor was vacationing at the upscale digs of his Montana in-laws  escorted by his ample state-paid security detail. That is odd, given Newsom's California labels Montana a homophobic hellhole, and will not even reimburse state employees who dare to convention there.

Hypocrisy and elite virtue signaling, however, are now trademarks of California politicians  and illustrate how little elected officials care for the victims of their ideological agendas.

Newsom bragged about his tough California mask mandate although it did not lower COVID-19 deaths per capita in any measurable degree than did the policies of the red states he so often trashes. He violated his own COVID mandates by dining at the upscale French Laundry restaurant and hanging out unmasked with Magic Johnson.

Newsom has done nothing to remedy his state's soaring gas prices, terrible schools and infrastructure, or spiking crime. But he did virtue signal about giving illegal aliens millions of state dollars in COVID relief.

Rather than develop California's rich gas and oil reserves, Newsom promised strapped motorists that he would send them a one-time fuel gift of $400.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., likewise, hectors Californians to mask and quarantine  all the better for her to sneak around unmasked at her hairdresser's, or to jet to the beaches of Tuscany.

Former senator and current Chinese government lobbyist Barbara Boxer retired to an estate in Rancho Mirage. Recent Governor Jerry Brown isolated himself on his 2,500 acres in Grass Valley  idyllic locations far away from the education, infrastructure, and urban disasters that exploded under their tenures.

So it is Orwellian for Newsom to brag about a "free" California that supposedly will entice Floridians or Texans. In truth, over the last decades hundreds of thousands of Californians and billions of dollars of wealth fled the now inert California for a far freer Florida and Texas, among other states.

By voting with their feet and bank accounts, California's expatriates considered these destinations far superior to their home state: safer, cheaper, better managed, and freer.

Newsom resembles a pathetic owner of a once successful, but now run-down, high-priced gas station without clients. In jealousy, he flails and screams at the newer, gleaming competitor across the street, with superior service, lower prices, and better value - and jam packed with his own former but now wiser customers.


Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author of "The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won," from Basic Books.  

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