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California To Say Goodbye To The Gas-Powered Car

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

California governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order last week to ban new sales of autos powered by internal combustion engines by 2035. Why? To fight climate change. But prohibiting the internal combustion engine won’t move the climate change needle.


Is California “Falling Down”—Again?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

I first moved west to California in February 1994, about a month after the Northridge Earthquake struck Los Angeles and four months before O. J. Simpson’s ride up the 405 became a live-televised national spectacle.


How Much Will Restoration Of Racial Preferences Matter In California?

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

California’s Proposition 16 on the November ballot would restore racial and gender-based preferences in college admissions, public contracting, and public hiring. These preferences ended in 1996, when Californians voted by a two-thirds majority to amend the state constitution and prohibit race and gender preferences.


“Extraordinary” And California’s Legislature—In The Same Sentence?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, September 9, 2020

After a recently concluded bill-drafting session considered remarkable only in the remarkable job that lawmakers did in avoiding a host of weighty matters, what could California’s State Legislature do for an encore?


California Businesses Leave The State By The Thousands

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

California businesses are leaving the state in droves. In just 2018 and 2019—economic boom years—765 commercial facilities left California. This exodus doesn’t count Charles Schwab’s announcement to leave San Francisco next year. Nor does it include the 13,000 estimated businesses to have left between 2009 and 2016.


New Election, Same Old Problem: California’s Initiative Overload

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, September 2, 2020

With only 60 days remaining until the election, now’s a good time to look at what lies ahead on the California ballot.

The State

Hollywood Nights, California Daze

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, August 26, 2020

One way to view California is through a television lens.


How Much House Does $25 Million Buy In San Francisco?

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, August 25, 2020

San Francisco is the most expensive housing market in the country. But doesn’t $25 million—not $2.5 million, $25 million—buy you a lot of house? You might be surprised at just how little. As I describe below, this home showcases just how comically distorted California’s housing policies have become, and why San Francisco continues its chronic march toward falling off an economic and social cliff.


For Harris, Green Pastures Beyond The Golden State?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, August 19, 2020

I’ll confess: for over a week now, I feel like I’ve won the lottery—well, at least enough numbers on my ticket to earn a modest reward.


When Will California’s Government Address Not Just Intake, But Its Integrity?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

In a time otherwise dominated by pandemic-related news and events, this recent tweet by California governor Gavin Newsom caught my attention: “Our. System. Is. Broken.”


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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 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. ​