Come to California and Travel Freely!

Paul Krugman is blogging about Cato’s latest Freedom Report, so I went over to take a look. California, once again, is ranked a dismal 48th:

Our low ranking, of course, is due to the fact that our taxes are high and we look poorly on businesses polluting our air and water. But as I browsed the various categories, I came across this:

What’s this all about? We were an absolute travel hellhole through 2012 but then suddenly jumped to paradise status in a single year. We currently score 0.007062 on travel freedom, whatever that means, but I guess it must be pretty good since it makes us #5 in the nation.

Drilling down, it turns out that our overall travel score jumped from -0.00707 in 2012 to 0.003676 in 2013. But why? Drilling down even further, their downloadable spreadsheet records only one change: our score on “Finger or thumbprint required for driver’s license”—although I can’t quite tell precisely what caused this since there seem to be two columns with two different numbers and only one of them changed. What’s more, as far as I know we still require a fingerprint to get a driver’s license. Can anyone help me out here?

In any case, what’s really weird about this whole thing is that apparently our travel freedom rank can skyrocket from #49 to #10 due to one change that’s somehow related to fingerprints on driver’s licenses. What the hell kind of travel freedom ranking is this, anyway? Texas is currently #50 and I’m afraid to even look at their raw data. Speed traps? Lots of civil asset forfeiture? Passports required if you enter the state driving a Prius? Lingering memories of Chuck Norris constantly kicking ass on Texas highways? It is a mystery.

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate