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The Endless Lies Democrats Tell In Defense Of Their Failed Californian Utopia

June 23, 2023

By Brandon Smith

This past week California governor Gavin Newsom appeared on Fox News to debate Sean Hannity about the policies and governance of the “Golden State” as well as its obvious cultural and economic decline. To be clear, I don’t care for Hannity and obviously I find Newsom to be a reprehensible little weasel of a man, so I don’t really have a stake in which side comes out on top. That said, the interview/dispute is being heralded by the political left as a “win” for Newsom as they claim he “destroyed” Hannity on his own show.

I have to examine this kind of rhetoric with some amusement because generally leftists don’t view debates the same way normal people do. They don’t care about being factually correct, they only care about winning by any means necessary. And winning can and often does include lying or misrepresenting statistics to confuse or deflect their opposition. Hannity just didn’t come prepared for the flurry of disinformation and cherry-picked data Newsom was armed with.

Democrats and the corporate media in general have invested an intense amount of energy into a propaganda campaign that paints California as the central pillar of the US economy and American governance. According to them, California is a socialist Utopia essentially holding the rest of the nation up on its shoulders, and without such blue states we would spiral into oblivion.

For the sake of focus, I will only break down California’s mismanagement here. Specifically, I think it’s important to debunk many of the false fiscal claims made by Gavin Newsom; the same claims which are spreading like a cancer into leftist talking points all over the internet. Let’s begin, shall we?

Lie #1: High Tax Blue States Like California Subsidize Red States

This argument is false for a number of reasons, but let’s start with how Democrats present the claim – They argue that red states are among the top states receiving federal welfare dollars and subsidies, and that blue states like California are paying high taxes into those subsidies. This is why you will often hear leftists say that “red states would not be able to survive without blue states.”

Here’s why this is nonsense – Out of the top ten most indebted states in the US, seven of them are Democrat controlled. California has the most debt by FAR with $519 billion in the red, around 60% more debt than New York and Texas which are #2 and #3 on the list. California also anticipates a $32 billion deficit in 2023. The state does not have the funds to support itself, let alone red states.

The bottom line? California takes far more money from the federal government than they pay out.

As of the most recent tax year for which figures are available, Californians paid $234 billion in federal income taxes. However, the state has already been allotted over $390 billion in funds from the federal government so far in 2023 and the year is only half done. Not only that, but CA took even MORE federal money from 2020 – 2022 ($400 billion to $500 billion) each year.  Meaning, on average, CA is taking around $150-$200 billion more in federal money than it pays back in federal taxes every year.

Gavin Newsom often brags about California’s amazing budget surplus during covid, but the reality is that all of that cash was fed to the state by the federal government and the federal reserve printing press. For example, California defaulted on almost $19 billion in unemployment debt during their lockdowns, which they then had to borrow from the federal government to cover. They then passed that debt on to struggling business owners, forcing them to shoulder the burden through extra taxation while Newsom expanded deficit spending.

To be sure other states had to take federal funds as well to avoid unemployment default, many of them Democrat controlled because of their pointless extended mandates and business closures.  Most states are in the hole when it comes to federal cash. But, the fact remains that California is a money pit; a prostitute for federal funds that creates exponential debt while leaching far more than their fair share. Blue states like California don’t foot the bill for red states. They can’t, because they are broke.

Lie #2: California’s GDP Is So Large That It Debunks All Economic Criticism

This was one of Newsom’s primary responses to Hannity during their debate over California’s decline – California has the 4th largest GDP in the world (over $3 trillion), therefore no criticism of its economy is valid. With that in mind, I’m going to tell you one of the biggest open secrets about how states like California, the federal government and the federal reserve calculate GDP:

They count a majority of government spending towards total GDP.

Yes, that’s right, California takes large amounts of tax dollars from citizens, takes hundreds of billions of dollars from the federal government, spends it all on numerous programs from welfare, to student loans to medicare/medicaid, then adds it all to their total GDP as if the government actually produces something other than debt.

Again, a lot of states do this in their calculations, but in blue nightmare states like California that have refined the art of GDP fraud down to a science. The CA government has found that all they have to do to drive up their GDP stats to record levels is keep borrowing and taxing and then spend as much as possible.

Another factor to consider is that CA’s real GDP adjusted for inflation is not generally cited by the media or by Democrats. With covid helicopter money triggering a 40-year spike in inflation in the past few years, California has some of the highest prices on goods and services in the country (3rd most expensive). In fact, prices are so high that many middle class workers have trouble surviving there.  And, the higher the prices go, the higher GDP goes by extension.

If real GDP adjusted for inflation is not considered, then California’s economy might look much stronger than it actually is. If you want to know why CA supposedly about to become the 4th largest economy in the world, yet every major city in California is littered with homeless people and tent cities, it’s because their GDP is a shell game.

Lie #3: There Is No Citizen Exodus From California

Yes, there is. This is probably one of the more egregious lies that Newsom spreads in his Fox News interview as he cited “studies” out of institutions like UCLA to support his position that “more people are leaving red states per capita” than California.

First of all, the per capita argument is dishonest in this situation.  What Newsom is trying to avoid is the fact that California has been losing its population to net domestic migration for around a decade.

In 2020 the state saw a loss of 725,000 people with 359,000 net losses in residents after gains are accounted. They lost 700,000 more people than they gained from April 2020 to July 2022. To put this in perspective, losing that many people is the same as a city the size of Seattle disappearing from the California map in the span of two years.  California starting out with a larger population is irrelevant to the overall trend of population losses.

One of the best points Hannity made to counter Newsom’s disinformation was the fact that U-Haul had no trucks for Californian’s trying to leave the state because so many residents were relocating and no one was moving in. Newsom sneered at the data, likely because he knows it undermines his entire narrative.

U-Haul did indeed run out of trucks in CA because so many people were leaving. The top destination for U-Haul trucks was Texas followed by Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Arizona. One could argue over the potential reasons for the exodus from CA, but the exodus is a FACT (I believe Newsom’s draconian covid mandates were the biggest reason for the migration, but taxation and a hostile business environment are solid causes also).

Furthermore, California is a sanctuary state which protects illegal immigrants from deportation, and illegal immigrants are counted as part of the resident population in any census.  Every surge in migrants can offset California’s total population decline  caused by real citizens relocating.  California has handed out at least 1 million state drivers licenses to illegal immigrants since 2015, and the state is estimated to have at least 2.7 million migrants within its borders.

Lie #4: California Provides Opportunities For The Middle And Lower Class

No. Let’s go through the list of reason why California is a hellscape for the middle and lower classes – The state has the 2nd highest housing prices in the nation, only under Hawaii. It is the most expensive state for rent in the US, surpassing Hawaii with an average monthly rental cost of $1900. CA also has the third highest food prices in the country.

The median household income in California is $78,000, or $6500 per month (before taxes). The average total cost of supporting a family of four in California including basic necessities is $6700 per month. This is why the Pacific state had the highest homeless rates in the US in 2022 (except for Washington DC). Living in CA is a net negative prospect for the average person, and forget about starting a small business and building something better – California is consistently rated one of the worst states for starting and maintaining a business, which is why companies have been leaving in droves over the past few years.

Why Do They Lie?

I can only theorize on this issue, but I suspect that leftists lie about California as a success story because they see the state as the culmination of their ideology. It’s the beta-test state for numerous socialist policies to fester and then spread to other parts of the US. It’s a symbol of their vision for the future, and it’s falling apart. So, instead of fixing what’s really wrong with it they fabricate a narrative of a state on the rise rather than on the decline and attack anyone who points out the obvious problems.

I also believe that looking at California is a lot like looking into a crystal ball that shows us America a couple years from now. The way California is run, with endless debt and a cycle of statistical fallacies to hide the growing fiscal cancer, is a lot like the way our federal government is run. When we see the crumbling of CA, we are seeing a glimpse of what will soon happen to the rest of the country.

They have to make it look as good as they can. They have to lie. Because if they don’t divert blame they could end up paying the price for their mismanagement later.


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Brandon Smith

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  • David Homer June 23, 2023 at 7:12 am

    Hannity just wants to be a whipping boy for Newsom. I don’t think it was a real debate. I didn’t watch it because I have avoided watching Hannity for years now. Fox news has lost it.

    • Avatar photo
      Brandon Smith June 23, 2023 at 7:18 am

      Agreed. Even if you give Hannity the benefit of the doubt, it was as if he came completely unprepared for a discussion on the economic failings of California. It’s such an EASY debate to win, and yet, he allowed Newsom to regurgitate all kinds of disinformation on the subject.

    • Rodster June 23, 2023 at 9:26 am

      Perhaps and it’s just a thought that Hannity is trying to appease the left as Fox News goes woke. Their ratings have been in the toilet since they fired Tucker Carlson and banned him from making a public appearance until after the 2024 presidential elections. Conservative viewers have taken notice and are switching off Fox News.

      Unfortunately for those conservatives, that was their game all along. Tucker Carlson decided he wasn’t going to play Fox’s game anymore and went full throttle on the network by presenting news, Fox would disapprove. He was starting to ask real questions and expose the lies from the Deep State. Fox News, really is NO different than CNN/MSNBC etc. It’s like a grown adult believing professional wrestling is real.

      • Gauntlet33 June 23, 2023 at 1:14 pm

        I also agree that Hannity threw the match. They’re all actors / controlled opp…Andrew Jones, David Icke, Jesse Ventura, Tucker, etc. etc. Shakespeare couldn’t have written a better play.

  • Rodster June 23, 2023 at 9:20 am

    “That said, the interview/dispute is being heralded by the political left as a “win” for Newsom as they claim he “destroyed” Hannity on his own show.”

    That’s pretty rich when you factor in businesses high tailing it out of California because of the increase in crime and theft. Homeless camps and drug addicts openly out in full in San Francisco a once “beautiful city” has been turned into a “first class, certified shithole”.

    People are fleeing these shithole cities run by blue state politicians.

  • The Plain Truth June 23, 2023 at 9:57 am

    Why would anyone in their right mind want to stay in CA when there are better opportunities elsewhere?
    Then again, maybe they’re NOT in their right mind!

  • GLMK June 23, 2023 at 12:25 pm

    Haven’t been able to watch Hannity over the past few years at all. I don’t know what happened to him… The show seemed good and he seemed solidly conservative back in the old Hannity and Colmes days. It’s really disturbing to watch those in the public view who you thought were solidly conservative leaders become so watered down. I don’t even recognize him anymore.

    One law maker … I forget who exactly… in California this past week or so stated if you cared about your children you needed to leave the state of California now. .. I think everyone who can get out is leaving.

  • Gauntlet33 June 23, 2023 at 1:09 pm

    Brandon, timely article since a friend of mine is actually leaving CA for good in about 2 weeks. He cites the insane cost of housing here, is selling his condo, and will be buying a huge home in the Atlanta, GA area.

    • Lawfish June 26, 2023 at 12:57 pm

      That’s going from the frying pan to the fire. Have you been to Atlanta lately? Talk about a third-world shithole!

      • Gauntlet33 June 29, 2023 at 12:41 pm

        Yeah, he’s a Conservative, but not in any way red-pilled and hasn’t a clue of the leftist $hithole he’ll be entering there, but he and his wife work “in the industry”, so it’s basically LA or Atlanta for work.

  • Roundball Shaman June 23, 2023 at 3:31 pm

    “… the policies and governance of the “Golden State” as well as its obvious cultural and economic decline.”
    Not long ago… California represented a place of fresh starts… new hopes and dreams… unlimited possibilities.
    The days warm… the nights cool and refreshing… the waves breaking… the blessed harmonies of the Beach Boys singing Fun, Fun, Fun and Catch a Wave and The Warm of the Sun. A place where restless Americans ventured to go as they were told to Go West and find a magic land.
    Was it really all those things? Some of that was just hype… but much of that was also real as countless families did go West and establish their dreams. But those kinds of days started to go away beginning in the late 1960s and since then it has been a steady collapse downward into the current Land of Socialism and Lunacy that it is today.
    What changed? People changed. Political leadership changed. People’s values changed.
    And none of those were changes for the better. A once magical place of physical beauty and spiritual aspirations has become a crowded mess of too much money for some… too little money for others… and a general loss of values and ethics and good purpose for the new god of Marxism and Socialism. And human waste on the streets and in human hearts.
    It is a stunning reversal and loss to the World.
    While the surviving members of the Beach Boys still tour the Nation in their elder years and still sing of once happier times for California and America… we know that there could not be any Beach Boys if they were just starting out today. The California they sung about is just a memory and the hopes that California once represented have been long-since been replaced by poverty, Wokeism, lost innocence, broken dreams, and a sense of surrender to decay.
    The California Dream has been fully replaced by the California Nightmare. And none of this had to happen.
    ‘Fun fun fun ’til her daddy takes the T-bird away’?
    Not only did They take the T-bird away. They took away the whole State with it. No more Good Vibrations over there.
    And to quote another 1960s music group… no more California Dreamin’, either.

  • John B June 24, 2023 at 1:57 am

    When Reagan & Republicans ran CA everyone wanted to move there, but horrible ideas of Lectists/Democrats wrecked it… “Ultimately, the course of history is determined by ideas, be they true or false, and by men acting upon and being inspired by true or false ideas. Only so long as false ideas rule is a catastrophe unavoidable. On the other hand, once correct ideas are adopted and prevail in public opinion — and ideas can, in principle, be changed almost instantaneously — a catastrophe will not have to occur at all.” ~ HHH
    But, just like Locusts, after wrecking one location Leftists/Democrats move to places that are still decent (thanks to superior ideas still being relatively dominant) but they take their bad ideas with them – as a result once wonderfully places have been wrecked -as an example, I left NY state 35 years ago & moved to Southern Nevada (now destroyed by Democrats fleeing the effects their ideas have had on CA…
    This is also why they (Leftists/Deep State Globalist Kleptocrats are such control freaks that hate free speech & Liberty in general – they want control of how people act so they need control of ideas that drive actions… Also, “Government is by definition an inherently inefficient, wasteful, and coercive territorial monopolist of ultimate decisionmaking and violence. All history demonstrates this and simple logic proves it. Governments and everyone on their payroll live off the loot stolen from other people. They lead a parasitic existence at the expense of a subdued and “host” populace.“” And, once government has its hands on tax revenue, it has all the leverage and spends it in a manner that best advances its interests, which is almost always “progressive”/Leftist/NeoLiberal/Democrat causes.
    (*note: the lack of sound money & influence/control by Fiat Banking Cartel(s) makes this coercive & wasteful entity even far more dangerous as it repeatedly grows (parasitically) far larger & acts far more aggressively than it otherwise would…and Democracies are more aggressive & warlike)…)

  • Greg B. June 25, 2023 at 9:31 am

    I can’t help but think these people defend states like California so fervently is because they sincerely believe those places are better than red states. They truly believe living in 3rd world conditions and all the squalor and rampant crime is preferable to having conservatives in power in their states.

  • Barry June 25, 2023 at 6:13 pm

    At least some of this writer’s facts are wrong. He says in lie no. 1 that Texas is the third largest debtor state. That’s false, Mr. Smith. Texas has a $32 billion biennial surplus this year, and even had a $725 million surplus in 2021 while recovering from the pandemic.

    • Avatar photo
      Brandon Smith June 25, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      No, I’m afraid you are wrong. Texas is #3 on the list of most indebted states. They are, however, FAR behind California in terms of debt.

      Also, you misunderstand what “surplus” means. A budget surplus for the year does not negate the state’s previous debt accumulation. California had a budget surplus in 2021 – They were still in the hole for $500 billion total.

  • Dennis June 27, 2023 at 3:43 am

    Hi Brandon, thank you for this one… “The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore” -Rumi-

  • Stu July 2, 2023 at 9:15 pm

    Hi Brandon
    I hear on the Globalist grapevine that Newsom is slated to be the next US President. Apparently the plan is to have JB step aside just before the election, let Kamila be first female President for a couple of weeks and then have Newsom win the election.
    I can only pray that I am mis-informed.

    • Avatar photo
      Brandon Smith July 2, 2023 at 9:24 pm

      I continue to be skeptical that we will have “normal” elections at the end of 2024. Things are on edge as it is with the economy, Ukraine and China. Also notice how the leftists are starting to attack the Supreme Court as illegitimate. They may be building up to something, perhaps a national emergency where elections are “postponed.”

      • Stu July 3, 2023 at 10:56 pm

        I tend to agree with you that there is a reasonable chance that elections will not happen in 2024.

        The irony of spending the nations wealth “defending democracy” in Ukraine when it is about to be lost at home would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

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