Brexit: The Gift That Will Keep on Giving

We’ve already had plenty of coverage here about the elite left’s unhinged whingeing about the Brexit vote, and I predict the Brexit vote will become for Europolitans what the sainted Citizens United decision is for lefties here in the U.S—a source of perpetual rage and blame for everything that bothers them about human existence in the 21st century.

I had thought that the scare campaign would succeed, and indeed between the late polls and the rally in the financial markets in the days before the vote it certainly looked that way. But then in the back of my mind I wondered if this would play out like Proposition 13 in California back in 1978. The scare campaign about how Prop. 13 would ruin California was turned up way past 11. I recall one legendary story of a local government official who said that when he told audiences that Prop. 13 would “cripple local government,” he saw nothing but smiles in the audience. That’s when he switched sides. And I think I’ve told the story here before of asking my dad, then serving on the local school board in a district heavily dependent on residential property taxes, what he thought of Prop. 13 and how it would affect the school district. “It’s a meat-ax approach to the problem that will wreak havoc on our finances. I don’t know how we’re going to manage if it passes.” “So, dad, are you gong to vote for it?” Answer: “Damn right I am.”

In the case of Prop. 13, there was a multi-billion dollar state surplus (thank you, Gov. Reagan) that Gov. Methuselah, I mean, Jerry Brown, denied existed until the day after Prop. 13’s landslide election, at which point he said, “Oh—look: a $4.5 billion surplus! I guess we’ll be able to survive Prop. 13 after all.” There are still lefties that say Prop. 13 did ruin California, but this thesis sits uneasily with their current thesis that progressivism has saved the state and made it into a model. And despite Prop. 13, California is among the highest-taxed states in the country, revealing that what really bothers liberals is any time the people say “No!” to them. I recall Tom Wicker’s New York Times column about Prop. 13 at the time, called “How To Spit in Your Own Face.” (Yes, I know, anyone who drooled as much as Wicker shouldn’t use that imagery, but self-awareness is something many liberals seem to lack.)

Likewise I think Britain will survive just fine or likely prosper (just as California boomed immediately after Prop. 13), and the EU might even consider laying off some of the 1,750 linguists, 600 full-time interpreters and 3,000 freelancers it uses to facilitate its meetings in Brussels and Strasbourg (because what good is a European parliament if you can’t have multiple locations), or even eliminating some of the many mid-level Eurocrats who have salaries higher than Prime Minister Cameron.

The final delicious irony is the way the Europolitans are pointing to the sour market reaction in Friday as evidence that Brexit is a mistake. It recalls to mind Winston Churchill’s comment in 1925, shortly after be became Chancellor of the Exchequer, that “I would rather see finance less proud and industry more content.” That was an odd thing for a Conservative Party leader to say at the time. Interesting today that it now finds an entirely congenial home amongst conservatives. Odd, isn’t it, that liberals suddenly care more about Wall Street than they do about the workers in the union halls?

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