Lyft Shrugged: Yesterday, Lyft announced that it would stop operating in California at midnight last night because it couldn’t profitably comply with the enforcement of California’s AB 5, which declares drivers who use Lyft’s software to find fares as employees. Respect. While progressives tend to think of companies as cows to be milked and fenced in, all businesses have their breaking point.
But the drycleaner on Venice and La Brea doesn’t send out a press release when it closes due to the latest labor regulation. And the window frame manufacturer in the Valley doesn’t have a PR firm on retainer when it gets hit with a frivolous lawsuit. Perhaps if more companies followed Lyft’s lead – and (essentially) the plot of Atlas Shrugged – lawmakers would think twice before layering on yet another round of unworkable regulations and taxes on job creators. Talk about “stopping the motor of the world!”
A stay of execution: Hours after Lyft’s announcement, a California appeals court issued a stay on a lower court ruling enforcing AB 5 that was supposed to take effect at midnight last night. Democratic San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer helped broker this timeout so that unions and gig companies could “come together with state leaders to negotiate a resolution to this complex issue and avoid irreparable harm upon hundreds of thousands of residents.”
Now it’s up to California’s voters: The final say over whether drivers -- who can 1) work for multiple companies, 2) set their own fares, and 3) set their own schedules -- are employees or contractors now belongs to California’s voters. They will decide via Prop 22 on Election Day whether drivers are contractors or employees. Unions are behind the push to outlaw these contracting arrangements, but voters – unlike the politicians who pass these laws – are not on their payroll.
Lyft stays, Thiel leaves: This week Palantir Technologies, Peter Thiel’s Silicon Valley company, which is on the verge of going public, announced that it is moving to Denver. Palantir’s move is just the latest instance of an ongoing trend. Star podcaster Joe Rogan, who recently inked a $100 million deal with Spotify, announced this summer that he’s moving to Texas, partially for “more freedom.” And, just like that, tens of millions of tax dollars and tens of thousands of jobs in the Golden State go poof!
A wealth tax steals money and time: In his latest piece, CPC Contributor Edward Ring examines the many problems with California’s proposed wealth tax. In addition to 1) the moral problems involved with stealing people’s property, and 2) the logistical issues associated with trying to do an accounting of all assets, Ed highlights how complying with a wealth tax also steals time:
It is common for critics of California’s regulatory state to cite the hard costs associated with compliance, whether it’s to build a new housing development or hire and manage a workforce. But what about the time? This is a problem that affects every business in California, and one which disproportionately impacts small business owners. They are forced to hire expensive professionals to navigate a virtual avalanche of applications and reports before they can build anything or manage anything.
Recent history of tax hike consequences: As recently as 2012, California raised its top income tax threshold by three percentage points. As Brad Polumbo writes in National Review, a recent academic paper found that the tax hike drove out high earners, reducing windfall tax revenues by nearly 50 percent in its first year and nearly two-thirds within two years.
Parent Union rally in LA: CPC’s Parent Union held a rally in LA on Wednesday evening outside of UTLA headquarters demanding schools reopen. The event featured Will Witt from PragerU, as well as human rights lawyers and activists, making the case to reopen. Speakers highlighted the disproportionate consequences that classroom closures have on students, especially those from poor and minority backgrounds. Read the coverage of the event in the LA Daily News here.
Is LAUSD’s new massive proposed bond measure legal? In another contribution this week, Ed argues that LAUSD’s proposed $7 billion bond measure may be illegal because no public notice was given of LAUSD’s relevant public meeting, a potential violation of the Brown Act.
Education Secretary Randi Weingarten? In his latest piece, CPC contributor Larry Sand argues that a Biden administration would be the most pro-teacher union administration in recent history: “Both Biden and Harris have said they would pick a teacher to be their Secretary of Education. Randi Weingarten, as a former teacher – albeit briefly – and union leader, certainly fits their requirements. If that doesn’t frighten you, nothing will.”
Green-induced brownouts: On the latest episode of National Review’s Radio Free California, CPC President Will Swaim and board member David Bahnsen highlight how Gov. Newsom looks everywhere but the mirror for an explanation of this week’s “unacceptable” blackouts that are plaguing the state. In reality, of course, the blackouts and brownouts are a perfectly predictable consequence of unworkable renewable energy mandates that sacrifice reliable, traditional energy sources in favor of spotty, green energy.
“Shut up and broil”: The Wall Street Journal editorial page had the best takedown of California’s green brownouts. Because WSJ has perhaps the highest and hardest paywall in the business, I excerpted the most I can under “Fair Use” law below:
Millions of Californians have lost power in recent days amid a brutal heat wave, and state regulators warn of more outages in the days and perhaps years to come. Welcome to California’s green new normal, a harbinger of a fossil-free world…
Mr. Newsom is demanding an investigation, though he can start with his party’s obsessions over climate and eliminating fossil fuels. Even former Gov. Gray Davis admitted the culprit is the state’s anti-fossil fuel policies. “The bottom line is, people don’t want lights to go down,” he told Politico. “People also want a carbon-free future. Sometimes those two aspirations come into conflict.” They certainly do….
Mr. Newsom on Monday acknowledged “gaps” in reliability amid the state’s transition to renewables while affirming the state remains “committed to radically changing the way we produce and consume energy.”
In other words, Democrats in Sacramento are so committed to ending fossil fuels that the hoi polloi are simply going to have to make some sacrifices—such as living with blackouts as if the state were a Third World country. So shut up and broil, and wait for the Green New Deal to do this for the rest of America.
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