Much has been made of the Elon Musk’s departure from California for Texas. Since Elon does not smoke a lot of marijuana, it probably does serve his needs…unlike Joe Rogan. Elon will be able to do as he pleases in Texas. He can push his employees to the limits of their endurance. He can make pollution heavy batteries for his cars all day and not worry about any pesky environmental regulations.
What does this all mean? Is California regulating itself out of existence? Perhaps it is, but it is not like these regulations were put in place for NO REASON. California’s varied topography encapsulates many diverse microclimates. California is literally a paradise for its flora and fauna, including the many non-natives which have invaded the state.
Air pollution and water pollution are real problems in a state with so many people. People create quite a bit of waste. People are quite destructive to the environment. People in pursuit of the almighty dollar are especially destructive to the environment. This is why California has been a leader in environmental regulation. The number of people combined with the amount of capitalist passion therein made such regulations an absolute requirement if California was going to remain the Land of Milk and Honey.
Ruthless capitalists of every stripe will attack this point of view I am sure. America’s journalists are just capitalists these days too. One should expect them to lay down on the job. Elon’s high profile exit could have been opportunity for allegedly “liberal” journalists to point out the aforementioned need for such regulations. However, they have been silent except to sing a dirge for California’s environmental and worker protections.
They seem to only be able to portray these regulations as bad and as a load on business. Of course, they are paid to say and write these things. Journalistic commentary on Elon Musk’s departure are all couched in terms of California’s demise.
I was born and raised in California and continue to make it my home. I am old too. I recall Smog Alerts. I remember being able to tell the difference between a second stage and third stage smog alert. I would go out on the playground and take a deep breath and it would hurt. Yes, it would hurt my lungs. I would feel chest pain as an elementary school student in South Central Los Angeles.
From these experiences of my youth, I witnessed the great clean up of the second half of the 20th century. Nowadays, such smog alerts are mostly a thing of the past. There are very few people of my generation still here who recall the bad old days. I remember them quite well though and have been dismayed by the efforts to tear down the environmental regulations which have made my adult life so much more healthy in California.
It takes time for bad things to surface since it takes years for cancer to really kill people in statistically significant numbers. This is why it is easier to FOOL people into thinking it is all about political power and money and not their health. I thought to myself the mercenary journalists are not going to do any investigations here. If what I think is true that “Environmental and worker protections are important to the quality of life of the ordinary citizens”, then states without such regulations are dangerous for their citizens.
It should be simple to support my position. Well to the shame of all journalists especially those in California, it did not take many Google searches to support this position. Cancer rates in Texas should be higher is the premise. It did not take long to find out this was actually quite true. Despite having WAY MORE cars, California’s lung cancer deaths are 20% lower than Texas.
Why stop there though? There are a lot of cancers in this world and many of them have a lot more to do with water quality and food safety. Again Texas regulations being looser should mean colon, pancreas and liver cancer rates should be higher. Oh and look, rates of cancer for these vital organs are something like 20% higher in Texas! All of this information is freely available at the American Cancer Society’s site. I urge you to take a look before moving to Texas.
It is not just environmental regulations the rich and well-off complain about. They also complain about all of the worker protections in the state. This is the primary reason for Elon Musk’s exit by his own admission. He has run afoul of California worker protections many times. This is perhaps the true reason for Elon’s exit. He wants to be able to make his production quotas without having to worry about worker safety.
Fatal work injuries do not take years to show up in the health statistics. They happen every day, tragically. What if we take a look at the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics? Will we see higher fatalities in the workplace in Texas versus California? Goodness, we sure do. In transportation the rate of fatal injuries is DOUBLE that of California and in agriculture the rate of fatal injury in Texas is more than twice California’s rate. In construction, the rate of death is 30% higher in Texas than California. Elon Musk’s manufacturing will be less regulated for sure, but workers will die at a 30% higher rate than they do in California.
Overall, workers die at a more than 50% higher rate from workplace mishaps in Texas than they do in California. This is the source of the title of this essay. Sure Texas may be great for the rich and well-off but will it be good for you? Will it be a good place to raise your children when they are drinking water which is more polluted and breathing air which is more polluted while they are growing up?
For me, my health is a bit more important than money. Being the richest person in the graveyard is hardly a victory. Seeing your children grow up healthy and then continue to have healthy grandchildren is a gift California is far more likely to deliver to the average person. Additionally, you will be more likely to live to see those healthy grandchildren if you live in California.
My advice is to think twice before fleeing California for Texas. You and your children are far more likely to die of cancer or workplace injury in Texas than California. But why am I trying to talk you out of it? The less people in California the better it will be for those who stay. Maybe I should change the title of this essay to “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out of California!”