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How California Got Schooled On Innovation

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, April 2, 2020

Rest assured that the old political notion of “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste” is alive and thriving in California—even amidst a pandemic.


What Happens When Someone Dies While Health Care Workers Sit At Home, Prohibited From Working?

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

A broad group of economists, including Nobel prize winners, advisers to US presidents and California governors, former US Treasury officials, and advisers to the Federal Reserve and other central banks agree that California’s destructive Assembly Bill 5, which prevents many health-care workers and delivery drivers, among others, to work as independent contractors, should be suspended immediately.


Winners And Losers Amidst A Pandemic

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, March 26, 2020

As we California shut-ins figure how to avoid coming down with cabin fever while hunkering down against COVID-19, fear not for Gov. Gavin Newsom. He’s on the job—and very much in the public spotlight with constant media briefings on the Golden State’s efforts to combat and contain a spreading pandemic.


As COVID-19 Spreads, California Wages War With Gig Businesses That Would Save The Most Vulnerable

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Late last week, California governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order for nearly all California residents, shuttering most of the world’s fifth largest economy. This shutdown remarkably increases the need for on-demand drivers for delivery of groceries, medications, and prepared food to California households, particularly the oldest and most vulnerable.


So Much For “The Luck Of The Irish” This Week, But What Of The Luck Of California’s Governor?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Maybe you dressed in green, imbibed Guinness, and feasted on corned beef and cabbage at some point in the past few days. Otherwise Erin Go Bragh was “Erin go bust” in California, what with a raft of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations canceled and bars closed statewide.


California’s Most Egregious Union Giveaway Ever

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Last year, California lawmakers passed a large and purely gratuitous union giveaway that thus far has managed to sneak under the radar. Assembly Bill 378 allows about 40,000 childcare workers to unionize. This is the most egregious union giveaway ever, because the issue that unionization is supposed to address was created by—guess who—state lawmakers. 


With School Bonds And Parcel Taxes Failing, Has California Overtaxed Taxpayers’ Patience?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, March 12, 2020

It wasn’t exactly hell freezing over, but a surprise result in last week’s primary did send a chill up California’s political spine.


California And Vermont Primaries Show Sanders’s Candidacy Will Soon Be Over

by Lee Ohanianvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, March 10, 2020

It is just a matter of time. Democratic primary outcomes, particularly in the exceptionally liberal states of California and Vermont, clearly show that Bernie Sanders is not generating nearly the support or enthusiasm needed to win the Democratic nomination, even though Sanders won both these primaries.


Bernie Took California, But All’s Not Golden In The Biggest Of Super Tuesday Prizes

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Friday, March 6, 2020

With distance comes perspective. And though it hasn’t been all that long since Californians went to the polls, here are some thoughts with regard to this week’s primary in the Golden State, one of 14 states to participate in this year’s “Super Tuesday” of voting, coast to coast.


What A Lucky “13” On The Primary Ballot Says About California Elections

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, February 27, 2020

Of all the characters involved in next Tuesday’s California primary—the two billionaires whose impossible-to-miss advertising budgets are making it a banner year for local television; the “democratic socialist” who may make the Golden State his biggest delegate haul on “Super Tuesday”—my eye is on Charles Lightfoot III.


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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. ​