Notice, I did not say “Californians.” Although, there are some pretty stupid people living in California, easy targets for Mark Dice: [Talking with Californians].
But why is the state government so stupid? That’s the question I will answer. Unfortunately, my answer applies to Indiana, where I live, and just about every other state. Our governments are idiots.
I’m going to keep this simple. I’m limiting this to just one example of the dam stupidity in the Golden State. (It’s not like I couldn’t make this article much longer!)
My silver bullet example is the Oroville Dam. It’s an example of the government’s failure, to determine dam priorities. Just the facts: built in 1968, it is the tallest dam in the U.S. (770 feet high) and has the ability to store 3.5 million acre-feet of water, that’s 1.1 trillion gallons. It is vital to the nation’s food supply. The dam water supplies the fertile San Joaquin Valley. This is the world’s most productive agricultural region, producing more than 250 different crops. No matter where you live, it is likely you eat fruits and vegetables from the Big Valley. So the California government is the steward of our nation’s fruits, nuts and vegetables. (No surprise, there!)
On Sunday, February 12th, authorities ordered the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people. California Governor Jerry Brown declared an emergency. Other than the dam was full, with more water on the way, the problem was the dam spillway. On Sunday, it looked like it could fail. An early Drudge Report headline projected a dam failure within an hour. The result would be flooding of nearby towns and roads. An even bigger problem would be the potential loss of 61% of the water supply of California’s Central Valley, the desert valley which requires irrigation.
The spillway did fail. [Click here for pictures.] More than 500 construction workers have been working around the clock. The situation has stabilized, but it is far from over.
The Department of Water Resources was shocked to find 1.7 million cubic yards of debris in the path of the broken spillway. The workers are racing to clear a path for water runoff. The High Sierras have a lot of snow, which is hoping to find a home in this reservoir. Spring is coming.
So how did this happen? Let’s rewind the timeline. In a Peak Prosperity interview with dam expert, Scott Cahill [click here], Cahill criticized the government for not preparing the people for a potential evacuation. Cahill described the communication as, “No problem. No problem. No problem. EVACUATE!” This type of fake news destroys trust.
This is minor, compared to his main point. But consider the disruption of 200,000 people. How many businesses in these communities have been impacted? Answer: All! As is typical of government intelligence, in an attempt to not create an alarm, the evacuation wasn’t declared until the point of crisis. It’s not like the governor didn’t know the drought had ended.
Now for the bombshell: the California government was warned this dam needed repairs 12 years ago. According to Cahill, in 2017, there were trees growing through the cracks in the concrete spillway. Those in charge didn’t see the point of maintaining a dam thing when there was a drought. In less than a week leading up to the evacuation, Lake Oroville went from 80% full to overflowing. A year earlier, the dam was half-full. In 2014, it was a little more than a third full. With a severe five-year drought and a receding shoreline, why spend money on dam maintenance, especially when California had more pressing needs?
In Peak Prosperity’s dam interview, Cahill said the original fix, 12 years ago, may have been completed for about $6 million. He now thinks it will cost $200 million, if there isn’t a dam failure. When asked, if he had been evacuated, would he now return home, Cahill dodged the question. It seems from this scary interview, he would not bet on the survival of this flawed massive earthen embankment dam. According to Cahill, if a new dam is needed to replace the existing one, the cost and environmental impact will be enormous.
California has over 1,400 named dams and 1,300 named reservoirs. The last major dam was completed 35 years ago. In 2014, California voters passed a $7.5 billion water bond with $2.7 billion for new water storage projects. According to CNBC, “The state is still finalizing regulations for the water storage portion of the Proposition One state water funds and there’s no firm date for when the first projects will be completed since several additional hurdles remain” [Source].
After bashing Trump, Governor Brown has now asked for federal dam aid [Source]. Awkward! Brown says this crisis is bigger than what can be handled by state and local governments. I’m sure he’ll get the money. Then, he’s going to want more money for other dam repairs [Source].
Toward the end of Cahill’s interview, he said the Trump infrastructure plan targeted $550 billion for dam repairs. Cahill said, “If Trump called me, I’d say it needs to be $2 trillion!”
I’m now ready to explain why the California state government is so dam stupid. It’s on a bigger scale in California, but the same problem inflicts Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and just about every state.
In California, the state government is more concerned about bathrooms, same-sex-marriages, illegal aliens, a bullet train, gun control and the environment than protecting their most critical and basic infrastructure. Why?
It’s because they know the other 49 states will bail them out. Why spend millions repairing dams when, through crisis management, they can get billions from the federal government? Why fix something 12 years in advance, when a future crisis will get unlimited attention and funds? Isn’t it a political strategy: “Never let a good crisis go to waste?”
The State of California is bankrupt. They pretend they are not. [Click here and here.] The State of Illinois is bankrupt. That government still spends knowing they will get a federal bailout. The State of Michigan’s water problem, illustrates the failure of the government’s misallocation of planning and resources.
In Indiana, our roads didn’t just become a crisis. For years, just a fraction of our gas sales tax (currently, 1/7th) has gone to road repairs. Instead of proper allocation of resources, monies that could have been used to fix roads were used to expand the government. Indiana government has been waiting for the crisis, which would result in an urgent new tax increase. It’s now here!
If state governments had no promise of federal bailouts, they would manage money differently. They would have a sharp focus on what is most important. Rather than social engineering, they would plan and allocate for essential services. They would save money for a rainy day. They would function the way our Founding Fathers envisioned.
“Dollar” Bill is a real guy, with real knowledge on our nation’s financial calamity, and real solutions for what must be done to dig ourselves out of the hole we are in. Due to his career, Bill must remain “disguised” to protect his position. “Bill” loves America, sees the impending cliff we are all headed towards, and hopes that by sharing his inside knowledge of the failed monetary policy in our nation, that a fiscal “nuclear” event can be minimized.