Insanity Wrap #116: California Tumbles Into the Sea

Renée C. Byer/The Sacramento Bee via AP, Pool

Insanity Wrap needs to know: Are you ready for the Great Tech Worker Reverse Migration out of California?

Answer: You’d better be, because it sure looks like it’s coming.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

  • Portland police forced to dial 911 for assistance
  • FDA makes distillers pay up for helping out
  • Andrew Cuomo graciously allows a few thousand Bills fans to attend playoff game, takes a seat for himself

And so much more.

Shall we begin?

This Is Not a Sane World, Exhibit #1,000,006

Distillers FDA Fees
(Image by soumen82hazra from Pixabay.)
When There Wasn’t Enough Hand Sanitizer, Distilleries Stepped Up. Now They’re Facing $14,060 FDA Fees

Big Government is here to assure you that no good deed will go unpunished:

For many American craft distillers, 2020 was already one of their worst years ever. The COVID-19-related closure of tasting rooms and cocktail bars, loss of tourism, and inability to offer in-store sampling slashed their sales revenue and cut them off from their customers. Then this week, just as it seemed they’d made it through the worst of a terrible year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had one more surprise in store: The agency delivered notice to distilleries that had produced hand sanitizer in the early days of the pandemic that they now owe an unexpected fee to the government of more than $14,000.

“I was in literal disbelief when I read it yesterday,” says Aaron Bergh, president and distiller at Calwise Spirits in Paso Robles, California. “I had to confirm with my attorney this morning that it’s true.” The surprise fee caught distillers completely off guard, throwing the already suffering industry into confusion.

Insanity Wrap tries to keep it clean, and even somewhat-semi witty.

Like the Tyson worker who got fired despite the fact that he and his coworkers literally risked their lives last Spring to keep the country fed, these distillers stepped up in our time of need.

If anything, the FDA ought to be paying them a bounty for their courage and service.

But all we have to say to this story is: Screw these fees, screw the FDA, and if they don’t get the message then maybe it’s time to send it with tar and feathers.

Insanity Wrap doesn’t know what you’re going to do with this news, but we’re going to buy an extra bottle or two from our favorite local distiller.

Scaremongering, By the Numbers

Given how much more grim the situation seems to be in the U.K. — at least according to the newsish (we just made up that word) anchors in our infotainment industry — Insanity Wrap feels comfortable presuming that hospitalization numbers are even less bad here than they are across the pond.

Your Daily Dose of Mostly Peaceful Protest

Portland Police Forced To Beg For Community’s Help In Curbing Out-Of-Control Violence

Back in the Olden Days of Yore — February of 2020 — we’d have just called the police.

In Soviet Portland, police call you.

A Big Steaming Bowl of Stupid

Not. Good.

We have our public officials to thank for this big steaming bowl of stupid.

Allow us to explain.

For the last several months, Insanity Wrap has been saying the exact same thing regarding the Wuhan Flu:

  • Protect the vulnerable
  • Care for the infected
  • Don’t take stupid chances with the first two

It becomes very, very difficult to get people not to take stupid chances — like nursing home staff who refuse vaccination — when our public officials either lie to us (like Dr. Fauci) or get caught out as hypocrites (Gov. Newsom) or both (Gov. Cuomo).

When public officials break their public trust, people will act as though public officials are no longer trustworthy.

Crazy, right?

Not really.

“Show me a man’s incentives and I’ll tell you how he behaves,” Insanity Wrap likes to say.

By their own bad example, our public officials have incentivized bad decision-making, and so we’ve gotten more of it.

“How are you going to keep them locked down on the farm once they’ve seen Gavin Newsom at the French Laundry?”

That’s not insanity: It’s dark justice.

Previously On Insanity Wrap: Transgender Propaganda Claims Straight Is Hate

It’s the End of California As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

California Tumbles Into the Sea
Oklahoma dust bowl refugees. San Fernando, California. (Public domain image via Picryl.)
These Tech Companies Are Paying Workers the Same Rates Across U.S.

Insanity Wrap is here to warn you that if same-salary-anywhere goes big across the Valley, it’s the end of California as we know it:

Tech workers and employers alike are beginning to question location-focused pay scales. A handful of companies are moving to abandon them altogether.

In setting pay without regard for location, tech companies including Reddit Inc. and Zillow Group Inc. ZG -1.32% are making a potentially expensive gamble to retain talent and gain a hiring edge. The move can entail maintaining relatively high salaries of employees who are relocating, and adopting a revised scale for new hires. Though it is early, the move challenges a long-held, but not universal, notion that where people live should determine what they make.

Some big tech firms including Facebook Inc. were clear early on in the pandemic that people moving away from the Bay Area to less expensive cities would see a pay cut. Payment platform Stripe Inc. offered one-time bonuses for workers who moved out of San Francisco, Seattle or New York—and agreed to a pay cut of up to 10%.

But a pay cut for any reason can be bad for worker morale, said Jake Rosenfeld, a sociology professor at Washington University in St. Louis who researches pay determination. “Employers really have to do a bit of a dance to justify it to workers,” he said.

Let’s say you’re a tech worker struggling to make it on a low-six-figure salary in the Bay Area, where the traffic is awful, the rents are high, the mortgages are astronomical, and the streets are strewn with poop and syringes.

You might take a paycut to move to a much more affordable area with less congestion and fewer human turds to dodge. Then again, you might not, because California really does have a lot going for it, starting with the incredible climate.

Insanity Wrap knows. We’ve lived there, and sometimes do still miss it.

But if your employer is willing to pay you the same to live somewhere more affordable, suddenly the decision to move becomes a much easier one to make.

During the Dustbowl days of the Great Depression, Oklahomans migrated in droves to California’s fertile farmland and easy living. Is Oklahoma ready for the Great Reverse Migration?

Insanity Wrap can tell you that whether the other 49 states are ready for it, California most assuredly is not.

California’s tax revenues are highly dependent on highly-paid workers just like you. If you and your coworkers find themselves in a position where your employer will effectively subsidize you to bug out…

…then what happens to California?

Insanity Wrap already knows the answer to that one and so do you, gentle reader.

Californians have been willing to put up with high taxes, a punishing cost of living, and bad governance because the tech jobs, climate, and cultural attractions made the tradeoffs bearable.

That might be changing.

On a Personal Note: Way back in 1994, Insanity Wrap saw Steely Dan in concert at Denver’s Fiddler’s Green just months after moving here ourselves from San Francisco. When they got to the line in “My Old School” that goes, “California tumbles into the sea…” we weren’t at all offended that the crowd went wild. We can also assure you that the Californication animosity has only increased since then.

Here’s Another Damn Thing We’re Supposed to Be Concerned About

Why not give up your seat for a fan, Gov?

One More Thing…

Insanity Wrap Presents Lockdowns Explained
(Seen on MeWe.)

That’s a Wrap for today.

Come back tomorrow for another Insanity Wrap…

…assuming we make it that long.

Previously On Insanity Wrap: Video of NYC Mob Taking Over Street, Attacking Car, As Murder Rate Skyrockets