I just went through the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans and started counting, and guess what? A full 80 of the 400 live in California. That’s one out of every five billionaires in America, living right here in a state that can’t afford to educate its kids.
Then I took out my calculator and added up a long row of numbers and got a big one: The total net worth of the billionaires in California is $231.8 billion. Ten percent of that wipes out the budget deficit. And that doesn’t even count the folks worth $900 million or less; they didn’t make the list.
Folks: This is a very, very rich state. A very modest tax increase on a very tiny number of people could solve our budget problems not just today but into the foreseeable future.
Say we were ready to spend a trillion dollars on the war in Iraq. (It’s been more than that already.) And say there were about thirty million people living there. (Fewer every day, but these are ballpark figures.) We could have given every single person in Iraq thirty-three thousand dollars. Do you think they would have “hated our freedom” then?