News & Politics

California GOP Congressman: The Mess at Our Ports Is a 'Shining Example' of Democratic Policy Failures

Cynthia Smalley/Mike Garcia For Congress via AP

On Thursday, as California’s clogged ports continued to struggle, U.S. Congressman Mike Garcia (R-CA) didn’t pull any punches when discussing exactly who he believes is to blame for the mess at our nation’s busiest ports. “I blame both the federal government and the state governments,” said Garcia in an interview with Fox News’ Stuart Varney. “This is what happens when you have life-long politicians trying to run a country when they’ve had absolutely zero business experience. Between Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer you’ve got three politicians who have earned 141 years of paychecks, all of which were as politicians–none of which were in the business world.”

Add in decades of failed leftist policies and we have a recipe for disaster. “I love my state,” said Garcia. “But from an economic perspective, it’s a wobbly top that is like two revolutions away from falling down.”

And what does the congressman see as the source of the mess at our ports? Two policies championed by Democratic politicians and environmental activists: AB-5 and CARB regulations.

AB-5 prevents California’s truckers from operating as independent contractors. The California Air Resource Board, or CARB, is a leftist government entity that has as its vision unprecedented and aggressive carbon emissions regulations. CARB’s goal is so radical that it plans to eliminate all new vehicle emissions in the state of California within thirty years. To that end, only CARB-compliant vehicles—including trucks—are allowed to be registered in the state.

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Combined, AB-5 and CARB force “truckers to leave California because they can’t operate as independent contractors,” Garcia said. If truckers “do stay, they have to buy trucks effectively every seven years even though their mileage may be low, so this is why we don’t have [many] truckers in California anymore.” Garcia knows these crippling leftist policies are examples “of how California’s policies affect the entire nation” since, as we are painfully aware, leftist policies don’t often stay in California.

Fundamentally, the mess at the ports illuminates the core differences between leftists and conservatives. While leftists fine shipping companies because they have to wait to unload their goods, conservatives believe there’s a better way of relieving the port congestion. “What they should be doing—rather than imposing fines—they should be cutting costs, incentivizing people to get out of there with lower port fees and quicker turnaround times,” explained Garcia. “That’s how we’re going to get this thing moving.” Instead, leftists punish people who don’t do what they think they should. Conservatives believe incentives work much more effectively than punishments.

In the end, Garcia told Varney, California can fix the ports mess by allowing “truckers to operate as independent contractors, repeal[ing] AB-5, and relax[ing] the guidelines around carbon emissions.” The congressman also warned not to forget that as California goes so goes the country, while noting that instead of repealing AB-5, Democrats in Congress are working hard to nationalize it in the form of the PRO Act.