I’ve actually had good times when I’ve been in California. I know a lot of people who live out there. There are lots of opportunities for science and technology. It’s five hours closer to Australia than my current abode. It would be a lovely place to live … if it weren’t run by a bunch of totalitarian dunces.
Today, we find ourselves amidst a trifecta of good-old fashioned California What the Fuck:
A handful of local officials in California who say the housing bust is a public blight on their cities may invoke their eminent-domain powers to restructure mortgages as a way to help some borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth. …
… instead of tearing down property, California’s San Bernardino County and two of its largest cities, Ontario and Fontana, want to put eminent domain to a highly unorthodox use to keep people in their homes.
The municipalities, about 45 minutes east of Los Angeles, would acquire underwater mortgages from investors and cut the loan principal to match the current property value. Then, they would resell the reduced mortgages to new investors.
Bainbridge has the dirty details. Essentially, the cities would seize mortgages from companies, cut the principle to the current value, then let a well-connected venture capital firm sell a new mortgage to the homeowners for a $25,000 profit. If that sounds like moneyed interests and government ganging up to rob banks, that’s because that’s what it is.
Bainbridge points out why this is so bad for Californians (I mean, apart from the robbery, corruption, violation of basic contract law, etc.):
There will dountless be costs to California tax payers. There will inevitably be litigation (even though Messrs Williams, Gluckstern, and Altman reportedly are deliberately targeting the weakest banks with the shallowest pockets for legal fights). Banks will be less willing to lend to Californians, which will drive down property values. As such, this is a wealth transfer from people like yours truly who were fiscally prudent, took on only as biug a mortgage as we could afford, and didn’t run up huge lines of credit to people who were fiscally imprudent, who took on jumbo mortgages to buy far bigger houses than they needed, who ran up huge lines of credit to finance spending, and stupidly thought the housing bubble would last forever. Now that the music’s stopped, they’re going to get relief–with a big chunk being siphoned off for Messrs Williams, Gluckstern, and Altman–at our expense.
This is pure robbery, enabled by a greedy government.
But, wait there’s more. The California legislature just voted for the initial funding of the $68 billion rail line from Los Angeles to California. I just want you to take a moment and think about that. $68 billion. For a train. A train that no one will ride because it will be cheaper to fly between the two cities. Gillespie talks about how this passed over fierce opposition in the electorate.
Electorate, what electorate? Obama and Pelosi are the ones who matter.
Or rather, Obama and Pelosi are the ones who matter when you know you don’t have the courage to take on your public unions in Sacramento and are planning to go hat-in-hand to the federal government for a bailout when your state’s economy crashes into a grove of fig trees at 200 miles per hour. Prediction: Appeasing the great and powerful O will pay off with federal dollars when weak-willed legislators prove utterly unable to defuse the state’s pension bomb. Also, if Obama wins reelection, perhaps he’ll ride in on his unicorn and save California from the education cuts that are almost certainly likely to happen now that Brown’s tax initiative is likely doomed.
Yes, that will be us, the non-Californians, making sure the state can build this gigantic white elephant of a public work. According to their own estimates, the rail will pay for itself … sometime in the late 22nd century.
So that’s the economy. What about the law?
Parents who transport a youngster without a car seat and lose the child in a fatal traffic accident may have their surviving children removed by social welfare authorities, the California Supreme Court decided unanimously Thursday.
The state high court ruled in favor of Los Angeles County social workers who placed two young boys in foster care after their 18-month-old sister, held on the lap of an aunt, was killed when a driver ran a stop sign and plowed into the car their father was driving.
The ruling permits counties to remove children in such cases even if the child’s death was not caused by criminal negligence or abuse. Social welfare agencies also are not required to show that the fatal conduct posed a risk to the surviving children, the court said.
We all know that the best way to deal with an unimaginable tragedy is to seize someone’s kids.
Now, to be fair, this was not exactly an ideal family. There were 20 people living together and there was evidence that the children were neglected. However, as we have learned about a million times, once you establish a precedent, it applies to everyone. All law enforcement, anti-terror and bureaucratic abuses are justified by the worst case scenarios and then applied to scenarios that we didn’t ever imagine they’d apply to.
At some point, California is just going to implode — fiscally, legally, culturally and morally. The only thing we can do is take in the good people as they flee the chaos.