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Politics

California’s “Motor Voter” System: Unsafe At Any Speed

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, August 15, 2019

After a drubbing of the first order in the 2018 midterm election—congressional Democratic candidates winning all seven House races in Orange County, a one-time conservative bastion that’s synonymous with Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and John Wayne—California Republicans cried foul.

Politics

San Francisco’s “Overpaid CEO Tax” Won’t Solve Its Mental-Health And Drug Epidemics

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, August 13, 2019

It is now commonplace to criticize corporate CEOs within progressive political circles, so it is no surprise that San Francisco, one of the most politically progressive cities in the country, has proposed a tax on CEOs. But just not any CEO, only those with exceptionally high salaries compared with others in the company. Dubbed the “CEO Excessive Salary Tax,” the proposal would tax a company’s gross receipts depending on the difference between its CEO’s pay and the median salary of its workers.

Politics

In The Limbo Dance That Is Trump-Newsom Animosity, A New California Law Shows How Low You Can Go

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, August 8, 2019

Donald Trump received only 31.6% of California’s vote in the 2016 presidential election.

That Trump failed to carry the Golden State barely qualifies as news.

Politics

Deconstructing Kamala Harris’s “Medicare For All” Plan

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, August 6, 2019

California senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris just released her “Medicare for All” plan. Some claim her plan, which retains private insurance, is better than Bernie Sanders’s plan, which eliminates private insurance. But the economics of Harris’s plan shows that private insurance has no significant role in “Medicare for All,” even if it is advertised that way.

Business

The State Government In Sacramento: Where California Sports Teams Have A Home-Field Advantage

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, August 1, 2019

I’ve always respected Steve Ballmer.

Not only does he have a head for business (he went from making $50,000 a year as an assistant at Microsoft to becoming one of the richest people in America), but his heart goes out to the less fortunate (his Ballmer Group philanthropy aims to help impoverished children and families escape poverty).

Economic Policy

San Francisco’s Flawed “IPO Tax” Proposal Would Tax So Much More

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, July 30, 2019

San Francisco supervisors thought they had designed a wealth tax that would hit only those benefiting from the initial public offerings (IPOs) of highly successful San Francisco technology businesses, such as Uber, Pinterest, and Airbnb, among others. Tech companies often compensate employees partially with stock, whose values can rise enormously in an IPO.

Education

From Top Gun To Culture Wars, California Doesn’t Lack For Sequels

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, July 25, 2019

Proof that there’s no escaping politics: New Jersey senator Cory Booker, one of two dozen Democrats seeking the presidency, crashing this weekend’s Comic-Con International festivities in San Diego; at the same festivities, actor Orlando Bloom and San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer getting into a he-said/he-said over immigration.

One of this year’s Comic-Con highlights was actor Tom Cruise’s surprise appearance, during which he showed footage of the Top Gun sequel he’s been filming in and around San Diego.

Politics

Kamala Harris’s Economic Policies

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, July 23, 2019

There are now five Democratic presidential candidates who appear to have separated from the original field of 25: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris, who has made a significant move in the polls since her performance in the first Democratic debate.

Last week, Harris moved slightly ahead of Biden, 23 percent to 21 percent, in one highly respected poll. This same poll found Harris ahead of Trump, 49 percent to 41 percent, if the election were to be held now.

California

Why California Lawmakers Like To Raid The Climate-Change Cookie Jar

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, July 18, 2019

For a brief moment last week, there was an unlikely hero in Sacramento.

His name: Bob Wieckowski.

You’re forgiven if you’ve never heard the name before, especially if you don’t follow the inner workings of the California State Legislature or live in the immediate vicinity of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Housing

What Do Silicon Valley Tech Workers Earning $100,000 Call An Old Van? Home.

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, July 16, 2019

It takes an annual income of about $130,000 to qualify for renting the average apartment (less than 800 square feet of living space) in the technology hubs of Silicon Valley and San Francisco, where the average monthly rent is about $3,250. This minimum qualifying income is at the 93rd percentile of the US earnings distribution and is nearly $60,000 higher than the median salary for individuals in San Francisco.

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California on Your Mind is a twice weekly journal about California politics and economic policies, and how they affect California’s economy. At one time, California policies helped create the “California Dream” by fostering affordable housing, creating high quality schools, and facilitating substantial infrastructure investments. These policies helped make California the 20th century destination for thousands of businesses, and for tens of millions of Americans who moved to California from other parts of the country. Today, a very different set of state and local policies is contributing to rapidly increasing housing prices, growing homelessness, lower quality schools, and insufficient public investments.

This journal discusses California political and policy developments in real time, describes how they will affect the California economy, and analyzes how reasonable policy reforms can reduce California’s cost of living, improve California schools, increase public investment, and help restore the “California Dream”.

 

About the Authors

Lee Ohanian

Lee E. Ohanian is Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Professor of Economics at UCLA. He is an adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and previously has advised other Federal Reserve Banks, Foreign Central Banks, and the National Science Foundation. He has been an economic adviser to state and national political campaigns and has testified to the U.S. Senate and the California State Legislative Assembly on economic policy issues. His research, which recently has been discussed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other media sources, focuses on economic policies and economic growth, and as been published widely in a number of peer-reviewed journals. He is a frequent columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Rochester.

 

Bill Whalen, a Hoover Institution research fellow since 1999, writes and comments on California and America’s political landscapes. Whalen is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee and Forbes.com and also writes frequently for Real Clear Politics, The Hill and the Washington Times. He is also the host of Hoover’s Area 45 podcast that explores policymaking and politics as they pertain to the Trump presidency. Prior to joining the Hoover Institution, Whalen served as chief speechwriter and director of public affairs for former California governor Pete Wilson. He’s also served as a strategist for numerous California political hopefuls, including former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. A native of Washington, D.C., Whalen received a B.A. in journalism from Washington & Lee University. ​