Bill Maher is right about a lot of things, but this one takes the cake.
On HBO’s Real Time Friday night, the comedian reamed California for its beyond-enthusiastic love of regulation.
Meanwhile, he said, the state can’t protect its water supply.
“In a story I’m getting tired of reporting,” he began, “California is running out of water…72% of the entire West is in severe drought. The Bay Area was just placed under a water shortage emergency with mandatory restrictions.”
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But, he asserted, things aren’t as they seem:
“There isn’t — even with the drought, really — a water shortage problem. It’s more a ‘where the water’s going’ problem. California agriculture accounts for 80% of our water use, even when California agriculture is less than 2% of our economy. We actually have enough water. We just give way too much of it to farmers who get their water subsidized by the government…”
Bill went on to say farming in the state are now mostly “Big Ag.”
Almond farmers, he pointed out, have doubled in the last two decades — “despite the fact that almond production alone uses more water than all the humans and businesses in Los Angeles and San Francisco combined.”
He summed it up this way:
“We have to make a painful choice: Getting [water] to the people, or getting it in the nuts.”
“It’s not like California doesn’t know how to regulate,” he added.
Then Bill turned his guns toward restriction, and boy was he right:
“We are the most regulated state in the nation, with more than 395,000 regulatory restrictions. It is a constant nightmare of inspectors and permits and fees. In this state, if you get to your car 10 seconds after the parking meter expires, it’s already gone and you’ll never see it again.”
“California has rules about every nitpicky thing you can imagine. If you don’t believe me, try parking in Santa Monica or trying to start a business or getting your solar power hooked up.”
Bill’s rant brings to mind a swimming rule in the state last April.
From my article “Cruel, Cruel Summer“:
As reported by KESQ, the [Riverside County’s] officially instituted a one-person-per-pool policy for privately-owned public-use swimming pools — HOA’s, apartment complexes, motels, hotels, and country clubs.
So gentlemen, better work on those pecs and abs. And ladies, bikini bodies will be more exposed than ever — in between taking your turn at dips, you’ll just be standing there in the open, wet, waiting for your significant other to enjoy their lone submersion.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering: The policy applies, regardless of the size of the pool.
I assume the thinking is that your germs get out with you?
Also, no parties at pools will be permitted.
I’m also reminded of Adam Carolla’s perfect example — from around the same time — of California’s ever-tightening control:
“[I] was thinking about the beaches and the sort of symbolism of the beaches. And remember when you were a kid and you would go to the beach, and there was a beach sign, and it just said one thing on it? ‘Closed Midnight to 5 A.M.’ And every year, they started adding something to the sign — no frisbee. No dogs. No Beer. No smoking. Well, now it’s ‘No Beach.’ … [T]he sign is a metaphor for big government. Nothing ever gets taken off the sign. Something gets added to the sign every time.”
Back to Bill, he had a few more:
“You can’t fly a kite in a park in Beverly Hills. Or ride a bicycle or climb a tree.”
“But for 30 years,” he continued, “Nestle took water out of the San Bernardino National Forest under a permit that expired in 1988. And Coca-Cola is somehow allowed to take water from municipal water supplies, stick it in bottles, and sell it back to the taxpayers who own the water to begin with.”
“395,000 regulations, and somehow that slipped through the cracks?” he asked.
Speaking of cracks, Bill referenced a place where not even the California sun shines:
“For a state that just loves to be up everybody’s a- all the time, water management might be a better place to direct that instinct.”
Of course, he was describing the result of Democratic leadership. And he is, very vocally, a Democrat.
Will Bill one day migrate?
I wouldn’t put it past him.
In the meantime, he stuck it to the state:
“When it comes to regulations, either go big or go home. Or I’m going to find a new home, because my house is one gender reveal party away from burning down while I’m asleep. … California, I love you. I’ve been here a long time. I was a booster for you when it wasn’t fashionable. And I don’t wanna go. But I’m not gonna breathe ash for the rest of my life. You make me very happy, California. But I can be happy without you.”
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