Sometimes a proposed law is so wrong and so destructive, but so typical of a certain philosophical bent, that I almost wish it would pass, if for no reason than to have an Atlas Shrugged-type object example of disastrous results. Such is the case for a California ballot initiative that has qualified for the signature-gathering stage. The initiative, in part: (full text linked here)
- Imposes one-time tax of at least 55% on property
exceeding $20 million of a California resident or held in California by
nonresident. [note that this is an asset tax, not an income tax]
- Imposes one-time tax (between 36.5% - 54.3%) on income exceeding $10 million when resident dies or leaves California.
additional 17.5% tax on total incomes of taxpayers with income
exceeding $150,000 if single, $250,000 if married; 35% if incomes
exceed $350,000 if single, $500,000 if married.
- The proceeds of this money will be used to:
purchase 30% to 51% of the outstanding shares of stock in ExxonMobil,
Chevron, General Motors, Ford, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and
Citigroup, in order to ensure California has an uninterrupted source of
energy and financial capital.
- To drain and restore the Hetch Hetchy Valley to it's condition at the beginning of the 20th century.
any Surplus funds to combat Global Warming, make infrastructure repairs
and improvements, and to research alternative energy sources.
Beyond the unbelievably Marxist confiscation going on here, it begs the question of just what supply of energy and financial capital that California is not getting today that this will somehow ensure. The implication seems to be that ExxonMobil, GM, and Citigroup are too fair-minded, selling their wares too even-handedly, and that California would prefer their attention tilted towards California.
Of course this initiative is profoundly immoral, so I can't do anything but deride it, but it would make for a spectacular object lesson (though one would have thought the Soviet Union's experience to be sufficient to this task, but apparently not). I am sure GM's troubles would be greatly helped by replacing its board of directors with the California State Legislature (the only American organization running a bigger deficit than GM) and replacing Citigroup's credit analysists with California social services beauracrats. I would kind of like to see this in the same way I would love to see what happens if I threw a crate of flourescent tubes off a 10th-floor roof -- I would never actualy do it, because it would be unsafe and destructive, but I can still dream about how compelling the disaster would be.
Postscript: One could probably label this the Arizona and Nevada economic stimulation act and probably not be far off the mark.