Credit where credit is clearly due here to Norah O’Donnell, who turned Gavin Newsom into a self-contradicting mess on camera yesterday. The governor of the state with some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country tried to blame the Second Amendment for a cluster of mass shootings in California, claiming that it was “becoming a suicide pact.”
And that’s when the backtracking began, as the CBS News anchor turned out to be surprisingly skeptical of Newsom’s argument. Newsbusters picked this up last night, and they’re equally impressed, if not amazed:
NEWSOM: It’s a disgrace.
O’DONNELL: We found the governor here in Monterey Park not far from the dance studio where at least 11 were killed.
NEWSOM: Nothing about this is surprising. Everything about this is infuriating.
O’DONNELL: California has the strictest gun laws in the U.S.
NEWSOM: I mean the Second Amendment’s becoming a suicide pact.
O’DONNELL: But there are many in this country that support the Second Amendment and are lawful gun owners.
NEWSOM: Yeah, I have great respect, I have no ideological opposition to people reasonably responsibly owning firearms and getting background checks and getting trained.
First, O’Donnell apparently surprises Newsom by reminding him that a very large number of Americans support the Second Amendment — and tens of millions own and use firearms responsibly. Suddenly, Newsom shifts from calling it a “suicide pact” to supporting the 2A and claiming that he has “no ideological opposition” to firearm ownership. Er, what? Calling it a “suicide pact” is entirely ideological, and clearly opposing it. It’s as if Newsom suddenly declared that his favorite color was plaid.
Next, he demands more laws, but O’Donnell stops him there too. California has a forest of laws, including one that made the weapon used in at least one of these instances illegal. Newsom backpedaled again:
O’DONNELL: Authorities say the shooter used a modified pistol with a high-capacity magazine. But how did he get a gun that’s illegal in the state of California?
NEWSOM: Exactly we’ll figure it out. That’s gonna happen. We gotta enforce laws, this falled through the cracks but that doesn’t mean you give up.
As far as mental health issues — which can be seen pretty much on every street corner these days in California’s metropolitan areas — Newsom offered this contradictory gobbledy-gook. O’Donnell didn’t push back on this, but perhaps because it speaks for itself:
O’DONNELL: The Governor also emphasized the role of mental health in incidents like these.
NEWSOM: I’m really proud of the work we’ve done in this space but we’ve got decades of neglect in this space but respectfully I will submit that regardless, of the challenges as it relates to behavioral health, there is not a country in the world that doesn’t experience behavioral health issues.
Decades of neglect? No doubt. What has Newsom done about it? Nothing except for posturing with non-sequiturs about the Second Amendment and a whole lot of buck-passing. And for that matter, who’s run the state for the last few decades, anyway? Democrats have controlled the state legislature since the 1980s, at least, and even the state’s last Republican “Governator” threw in with them not long after taking office.
The result? California has descended into a homeless morass, where mental health issues play out in dangerous ways every day in its cities. As a native Angeleno, those problems are orders of magnitude worse than when I last lived in the state, and have become overwhelmingly apparent in the last decade in particular. And California’s homeless problems are just one indicator of the state’s overall failures in mental health and public order.
Crime has run rampant as the state retreats from enforcing its laws, particularly property laws. Its prosecutors take pains to free people from jail rather than make it the deterrent it is meant to be. Its indulgent attitudes toward juvenile crime in particular is churning out a generation of scofflaws that will require a harsh crackdown at some point to restore order. The state’s tax policies suppress healthy commerce and drive people with means, particularly in the middle class, to places like Texas and Florida, where public order is addressed far more rationally. And, perhaps not coincidentally, to places where the 2nd Amendment gets more respect.
In fact, that exodus is now hitting the state’s tax base so hard that they’re considering a tax on people who have left the state. Jonathan Turley calls it the Hotel California tax:
The new bill introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Alex Lee would impose an extra annual 1.5% tax on those with a “worldwide net worth” above $1 billion, starting as early as January 2024.
The law has a cynical bait-and-switch provision. The billionaire tax is just meant for the initial packaging and passage. It can therefore be sold as a “billionaire’s tax.” However, in two years, the threshold drops to a worldwide net worth exceeding $50 million. While billionaires would stay at 1.5%, those in the lower tax bracket would be hit by a 1% added rate on worldwide assets.
It also includes the taxation on those who left the state . . . many due to the high taxes. California already has the highest tax burden in the nation. It relies on its top 1% of taxpayers for roughly half of its individual income tax revenue, but continually treats those taxpayers like game in a canned hunt. The result, not surprisingly, is that they are leaving for states like Texas and Florida.
The new tax would arrange for payments to California’s Franchise Tax Board for years after a departure for those assets which are not easily converted into cash.
As the Eagles once sang, You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Or, if you prefer, the Beatles also addressed it in “Taxman”:
Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
Yeah, I’m the taxman (yeah, I’m the taxman)
And you’re working for no one but me (taxman!)
Newsom may be right that California’s looking at a public-policy suicide pact, but it’s not the 2nd Amendment. It’s Newsom himself, as well as the decades of neglect and purse-raiding by its one-party Democrat rule.
The latest episode of The Ed Morrissey Show podcast is now up! Today’s show features:
- What happens when a man who helped kick off the Russia-collusion craze gets arrested for … colluding with a Russian oligarch? Andrew Malcolm and I discuss the implications that has for the FBI, DoJ, and the media that swallows their narratives.
- They also run interference for Joe Biden in his latest scandal, but for how long?
- We also discuss how Hunter Biden might play into this scandal, why LA Story is a great film, and how to get promoted in Washington DC.