Thomas Sowell

On the contrary, the exodus of businesses gives them just one more reason to raise tax rates some more on the remaining businesses, in order to make up the difference.

Massive bureaucratic red tape is also part of the anti-business package. The head of Sun Microsystems said: "There's a million rules that make the cost of operating here just off the charts."

The net result is that some businesses are moving to other states, taking their jobs and their taxes with them. Other businesses that are looking for a place to locate or expand know that in California they will be treated like chickens to be plucked.

Only part of this is due to political pandering and demagoguery to win votes. There are many ideological activists in California, some of whom have inherited enough money that they will never have to work a day in their lives.

They -- along with college students -- have the time to spend promoting whatever political crusades are in vogue among the fashionable elites, whether that is "open space" restrictions on housing, "living wage" laws or "anti-war" resolutions.

Usually activists have neither practical experience nor economic literacy, so they go around blithely creating huge costs for those who have to work for a living and those who employ them. Not only businesses but Californians as a whole end up paying a staggering price so that a relative handful of people who are a drain on society can feel superior to those who contribute to it.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate