By Ronald Stein
California Governor’s dysfunctional energy policies has led to the more expensive electricity and fuels in the state and laid bare the realities of systemic racial, health, economic, and environmental injustices that persist against the economic survivability of those that can least afford expensive energy, those with low income and those retirees on fixed incomes.
Exorbitant energy costs have been contributory to the rapid growth of “energy poverty” and makes California’s economic recovery from the pandemic even more challenging for the 18 million (45 percent of the 40 million Californians) that represent the Hispanic and African American populations of the state.
The median income for Latino households in 2016 was $56,200, $55,200 for African American households, and $96,400 for white households. According to several studies, as many as 40 percent of all Californians cannot regularly meet basic monthly expenses.
There are more than 150,000 homeless people in California, enough to fill the Rose Bowl and Dodger Stadium, combined. It is an appalling statistic, up by nearly 40,000 since its 2014 low point. In fact, 27 percent of all homeless persons in America live in California.
Rising homelessness is a humanitarian concern. It also produces public nuisances, such as the homeless blocking sidewalks, building entrances, and other public spaces. Mounting homelessness is also a threat to public safety and health due to swelling crime rates, open drug use, and the spread of illnesses, including medieval diseases that had been virtually eradicated in the modern world.
High energy costs trickle down to everything in our daily lives, from the cost of food, lumber, and services, and ultimately to the high cost of living and housing in California and perpetuates the rise in homeliness and poverty. Surveys continually show that Californians are fed up with out-of-control homelessness. And rightly so. Raising energy costs and taxes, and increasing spending is nothing more than a continuation of the state’s current failed policies.
Frick & Frack teammate Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti comes to the rescue, as he tries to solve the homeless problem perpetuated by Governor Newsom’s energy policies that are racially biased against those that can least afford more expensive “everything”.
In his 2021 State of the City address the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, introduced a $950 million proposal to address the homeless problem, and launch the largest guaranteed basic income pilot of any city in America of $24 million in taxpayer money that would be used to give $1,000 a month to 2,000 households for one year, “no questions asked, wherever poverty lives in our city,” he said. Providing housing for the homeless and raising the minimum wage are temporary band aids on the wound that Mayor Garcetti is implementing but does not heal the wound caused by growing energy costs.
The State of California is unable to generate enough in-state power and needs to import expensive power from neighboring states. The Governor is proud of California, through its dysfunctional energy policies, imports more electricity (32 percent) than any other state from the Northwest and Southwest as the state in unable to produce enough in-state electricity. The Governor dysfunctionally HOPES that other states will be able to generate enough power to meet the demands of the state.
The report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) shows that California’s electricity policies have contributed to household users paying 50 percent more, and industrial users paying more than 100 percent more than the national average for electricity.Only Hawaii has higher rates.
For the states pre-pandemic crude oil demands, California’s dependency on foreign suppliers has increased imported crude oil from foreign countries from 5 percent in 1992 to 58 percent today. The imported crude oil costs California more than $60 million dollars a day, yes, every day, being paid to oil-rich foreign countries.
To gain personal press on Earth Day 2021, Newsom ordered an end to fracking in California by 2024, and to work toward phasing out all in-state oil production by 2045, perpetuating continuous cost increases. Newsoms’ irresponsible fiscal actions will require the State to increase its monthly imports resulting in expenditures approaching a whopping $90 million EVERY DAY for foreign countries to support the fifth largest economy in the world.
Newsom’s actions promote increases in world emissions as he seeks the states’ energy demands from countries that have significantly less environmental controls than California, and for those countries to ship that energy from halfway around the world to the California’s energy island.
Automobiles are the survival mechanism for low-income people. If you increase the cost of automobiles and the costs of fuel, you hurt low-income people who are already forced to pay almost $1.00 more per gallon of fuel than the rest of the country.
High electricity and fuel costs are regressive expenses on low- and middle-income consumers, meaning it takes up a lot bigger chunk of the budget of a lower middle-class family than it does an upper middle-class one. Racially biasing more expensive fuels onto the less fortunate that will worsen poverty, remains a bigger challenge than minor local environmental issues.
Under Newsom’s direction (I did not use the word “leadership”) the future looks very bleak for ALL 40 million residents of the state as the economy starts to recover back to near-normal fuel demands for the fifth largest economy in the world. Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti coming to the rescue with billions to solve the homeless problem is only a band aid on the homeless wound perpetuated by Newsom’s energy policies.
To heal the wound that is causing homelessness and poverty to be on the rise, the Governor needs to DECREASE the cost of energy, not increase it, while constantly being aware of any national security tradeoffs as the state supports greater emissions from other countries to meet the state’s energy needs. But Governor Newsom continues to do everything possible to INCREASE the cost of electricity and fuels, that drives up (no pun intended) the cost of everything which increases the homeless population.