Last week’s column about California’s new water rationing apparently upset some of the Golden State’s swamp. This columnist pointed out that a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown set new “standards” of water usage. Here’s what their water-rationing bill (now law) says, in language everyone can understand:
“The bill, until January 1, 2025, would establish 55 gallons per capita daily as the standard for indoor residential water use. … The bill would impose civil liability for a violation of an order or regulation issued pursuant to these provisions, as specified.”
Yet, when confronted with a public discussion about what this means, the swamp pulled together to “debunk” the argument that the water rationing with fines was, well, water rationing with fines.
The spin machine went into overdrive. A woman who works for the bill’s author in the California legislature assured everyone on Twitter that stories would be forthcoming in the Sacramento Bee and Snopes to prove what critics were saying were lies.
The result looked very much like something the infamous Jonathan Gruber would have arranged. You remember Mr. Gruber — he’s the guy who worked on Obamacare and admitted they had no idea what economic impact the law would have on Americans, but they saw the polls and said what people wanted to hear. They relied on the “stupidity of the American voter” to get the law passed. It appears Democrats in California are hoping that theory is true.
The Sacramento Bee came out swinging with a fascinating spin. If you take the Bee seriously, the new standard, which was important enough to specify in gallons and make law, is really just a suggestion.
“Water agencies will be encouraged to have their customers limit indoor water use to an average of 55 gallons a day per person … as part of a broader ‘water budget’ strategy,” offered the Bee.
The fact of the matter is this: Water agencies will be fined based on how well their districts ration. Those fines are $1,000 a day. After assuring people that all they need to do is buy a new washing machine or change their shower heads, the Bee coyly mentions at the end of its article, “Sure, a district could pass those costs onto your water bill, but think dollars and cents instead of thousands out of your bank account.”
Wouldn’t you love to have the Bee’s oracle? Because never in recent history have we been told one thing about what a new law would cost you and have it be the opposite. You know, like being told a national health insurance scheme would save your family $2,300 a year, when it ended up costing you at least $5,000 or more.
As those reporters shamefully run interference for Sacramento’s politicians, what they describe is even more disturbing than individuals being targeted: If a family follows all the rules and rations their water use, they will still be fined or penalized based on what others in the district are doing. When you’re paying for what others are doing, how is one to protest?
This is a new tax, plain and simple; the arrangement of a rationing law so absurd that it cannot be adhered to by most, guarantees the new cash flow into Sacramento. In other words, this scheme isn’t about water conservation or climate change. It’s about the state taking more of your money ostensibly for wasting water, an issue on which they are the most egregious offender.
Harmeet Dhillon, California attorney and Republican National Committeewoman from the Golden State, had this to say about the shenanigans:
“We are used to being conned with taxes hidden in ‘plans’ and ‘budgets’ and ‘goals’ every day in California — see our recent carbon tax in the guise of ‘cap and trade,’ the highest gas taxes in the nation, high tolls on the roads, and even a proposal by the governor to tax us per mile we drive. But even Californians inured to the rising tax burdens are beginning to fight back against our command economy overlords.
“In June’s primary, voters in Southern California recalled — by a large margin — a state Senator who voted to raise gas taxes on his car-loving constituents. And like the Boston patriots who protested the haughty British imposition of a heavy tax on tea, legislators and bureaucrats who dare to impose higher taxes and penalties on ordinary citizens going about their business and utilizing a totally renewable resource — water — in a hygienic and responsible way — may find that it is the water police who get dunked this time around.”
The willingness of reporters to help California politicians gaslight the citizens like this has been shocking. The San Diego Tribune went so far as to mock the use of math that critics use to explain what California’s bill actually means.
Math often matters when it comes to facts. The Department of Interior thinks numbers are important, too. It reports the average person uses on everyday, necessary activities 80-100 gallons of water a day.
In the meantime, California will continue to waste hundreds of billions of gallons of water a year through a crumbling infrastructure. But in the words of Democratic leader Rahm Emanuel, liberals should never let a good crisis go to waste. Apparently including those they create.
• Tammy Bruce, president of Independent Women’s Voice, author and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk show host.
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