Is It Time to Tax the Air We Breathe? | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Is It Time to Tax the Air We Breathe?

When California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a tax on drinking water as part of his newly unveiled budget, I started thinking: Wait a minute. Didn’t “we” already solve the problem of undrinkable water supplies in some largely impoverished parts of the agricultural San Joaquin Valley? In 2012, then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law declaring that “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.”

Apparently, declaring something a human right does not automatically solve the underlying problem, or do so even several years later. Who would have suspected as much? Does that mean that Newsom’s main legislative priorities — essentially creating newfound rights to healthcare and housing — might not lead to his desired goals? Go figure. For a variety of reasons, this water-tax proposal serves as an archetype of our state government and of government programs and priorities in general.

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