Last winter I had bought a motorcycle in Sarasota, Florida and decided to drive it across the country to San Diego, leaving it in Las Vegas until the spring months came wherein I would be able to drive it back home to Minnesota. It was a very nice road trip with stops in Phoenix, Sedona, and Puerto Penasco, but as I crossed over from the Salton Sea on Highway 78 to Del Mar I was introduced to an experience I underestimated...
Not that I didn't know Californian traffic would be bad, but rather it was how the entire population is held hostage by it and just what a controlling and invasive role it plays in people's daily lives.
The people I stayed with in Del Mar didn't bother leaving their house until it was late in the evening, at one time "risking it" to go to a beach during the noon hour.
Another place I stayed near Huntington Beach, my host was delayed by 2 hours simply because of "traffic," but did not seem angered, angsted, or bothered by it, simply dismissing it as "well, traffic."
I could go on with examples, but it became immediately clear, especially when driving in it, just what a determining and influential role traffic played in everyday Californians' lives. They weren't necessarily controlled by it, but it was definitely the primary determining factor in how they were going to lead their lives that day.
This then got me thinking, and it wasn't until I was sitting in (you guessed it) traffic near San Bernardino, did I realize what I was witnessing.
Traffic was the true price Californians were paying for the socialism they all loved and voted in. And upon thinking about it further, I realized just what a heavy price it was.
First, understand that Californians already pay the most in taxes in nearly every form and facet. Sales tax, gas tax, income tax, fees, tolls, you name it. Additionally, with more regulation than anywhere else in the country, they pay more for housing, transportation, insurance, and other living expenses, paying essentially a "regulation tax" which further erodes their purchasing power. When you point out this insanity, trying to explain to them that $3,000 for a San Francisco one bedroom apartment is insane, they are quick to explain the ingenious solution Californians have come up with to deal with these rapish-levels of taxation. They simply dismiss it all away and say, "You can't beat the weather!" (Though Bay area residents usually claim "The restaurants are great!")) Regardless, the point is Californians DO pay a financial price for the socialist state economy they've instituted.
The second point, however, is that the financial price they pay is merely the explicit cost for this Californian socialism. The real price they pay comes from the fact the government they voted in puts socialism ahead of the REAL, TRADITIONAL duties of government, and those duties are to provide public goods that benefit every one.
Defense. Legal systems. Cops. AND ROADS.
And when given the choice Californians at the state and local levels would rather cut gibmedats checks to their parasites than build roads so their producers can get to work.
This has resulted in the traffic jams that choke California AND every major city. People will contend it's population growth, but population growth would indicate a linear relationship with economic growth, and thus, taxes that could go to afford more roads. The truth is socialist local governments, be it the state of California, or the City of Chicago, CHOOSE to spend their money bribing single moms, welfare parasites, liberal arts students, and other sorts of socialists with government goodies to win their votes than provide the adequate highway systems that would be needed to get the engine of our economy (that would be the workers) quickly and efficiently to work. The result is the sheer amount of time we all waste in leftist socialist "utopias" in commutes and in traffic.
Urban Californians think nothing of spending 2 hours a day in traffic. That's 12.5% of their waking hours, and a full 25% of their free time wasted paying for the parasites of their socialist utopia. New Yorkers, I'm sure, are too busy patting themselves on the back for living in New York to notice their commute is taking a toll on their marriage back at home which is about to lead to divorce next week. And Chicagoans, while bragging about their Metra and El systems, are perfectly fine paying more in taxes so some stranger at the state-funded daycare or some unnecessary "student reserve assistant teacher" at an after school program can raise and spend more time with their kids than they the parents themselves do. But you see, it's all worth it because of California's weather, Chicago's culture, and those great restaurants in New York.
When you add it all up, increasing amounts of producers' lives are being sucked up by the inadequate transportation systems because money that would have otherwise been earmarked for roads and highways is going to fund the parasites of these leftists' socialist utopias. Instead of 65% of the state and local budgets going to pay for the parasites of society, imagine if it had gone for roads instead. It's not that there would be no traffic or even (if you dare to dream) no such thing as a commute (though those are indeed benefits). It's the amount of your ever-dwindling free time you'd be able to spend on yourself, your spouse, your hobbies, your children, and your life.
I'm absolutely sure that authentic, 100% organic Pakistani restaurant is worth your $4,000 a month rent in San Francisco.
I'm absolutely sure that museum in NYC is worth the divorce papers that are about to be delivered to you in 20 minutes.
And I'm sure the "Los Angeles weather" is totally worth missing out on your kids' childhood as you pump them full of ritalin and they blow their brains out at 17.
Besides, you provided free health care to all the bums, free child care to all the single mom hoot rats, and free education for all the illegal aliens. And we all know that's infinitely more important than your life.