Archive for February, 2009

Saving California

February 19, 2009

The State of California has been struggling for a new budget for about 100 days now. Here are some suggestions that would help with the budget and also help all Californians:

1. Eliminate California reformulated gasoline (or California Reformulated Automobile Petrol). We pay more for gas in California because we use our own type of gas. In Nevada, for example, the price of gas is about 25 cents cheaper than anywhere just over the border. Reno is not the hub of the refining industry. Why is it cheaper? Because they use federal reformulated gas, and so do almost all other states. That extra 25 cents goes to the oil refiners because they have a smaller market for the their goods, that is, less competition. If California were to switch to the federal standard we could increase our gas tax by 25 cents and consumers wouldn’t pay the extra, the oil refiners would. How much money is that, at 16B gallons of gas consumed each year in this state, that’s $4B per year.

2. Start drilling for oil and gas off-shore. You can drill now by standing on-shore and drilling diagonally. Alaska makes so much money on the oil drilled in their state that each resident gets thousands of dollars a year. The potential income here for the state, I don’t know, but $5B to $10B would be a minimum.

3. Eliminate the California Air Resources Board and the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Water Resources Board and the ….  you get the picture. These bureaucracies are autoimmune diseases to the body of California. They were all started with reasonable goals in mind, but after these goal were achieved the bureaucracies stayed and started to attack things that make our beautiful state healthy. They forced all the gas stations to dig up their tanks even though only a handful of leaks had been detected. This act single-handedly killed most Ma and Pa gas stations. They forced the use of MTBE in gasoline, a toxic poison that replaced lead in gasoline. Which is worse? MTBE is thousands of times worse – lead is a natural element that is found naturally in all dirt. MTBE is a synthesized chemical that doesn’t do anything for anyone. Now we are required to use ethanol to clean up the air. Ethanol has to be imported into the state in massive amounts, mostly by trucking. The same trucks that the California Air Resources Board wants to eliminate. What sense is that?

A month ago I got a call from a pollster commissioned by the California Air Resources Board asking what I knew about their “Winter Spare the Air” program. Their questions were almost insulting at times, suggesting that I was delinquent because I didn’t know the details of some program that a room full of idle clowns came up with. The program consists of a bunch of fireplace Nazis driving around the neighborhood fining people for try to keep warm in the currently politically incorrect fashion. I’m sure they cause more pollution trying to enforce this insane program than they could ever hope to eliminate. When the polling part was over I asked if I could provide some free form feedback. The pollster said yes so I let them have it. He was giggling as I suggested what they should do with their program and their entire occupation.

California has vast resources but the people that live in this state have been force fed the idea that those resources are not for them to use. Our forests are allowed to burn because that is “natural,” but we can’t log them, to thin them out so that maybe they wouldn’t burn because that would be admitting that business can improve the environment. Drilling for oil is now bad because it is too easy, we have to install expensive and useless solar panels instead. From the perspective of these bureaucrats WE THE PEOPLE are evil and victimizers and they are the defenders of the environment. I see it the other way around.

Getting rid of an autoimmune disease is difficult, but in this case we are much better off with a massive dose of chemotherapy and starting anew than we are letting this disease consume us all.