...California today boasts a fabulously rich technology elite; it’s also home to the highest poverty rate among the states, adjusted for costs, according to the U.S. Census. Under its largely one-party regime, notes liberal economist James Galbraith, California has seen inequality grow at among the fastest rates in the country. The state endures the widest gap between middle and upper incomes in the country—72 percent, compared with a national average of 57 percent. The Golden State may see itself as a standard-bearer among advanced economies, but it suffers a level of inequality worse than Mexico. According to a recent United Way study, close to one in three families in the state are barely able to pay their bills.Read more here.
California’s one-party system revolves around well-organized and well-funded interests, including tech moguls, Hollywood executives, green nonprofits, and unions. These interests have all been enthusiastic Harris backers and funders, and the senator and vice presidential nominee has also won over Wall Street, which appreciates her hands-off approach to regulation.
Any claim to populism—in the sense of overturning the current order—is fanciful when it comes to Harris. Her ties to the tech sector, including major backers of her failed presidential campaign, are particularly tight.
...Harris is unlikely to push antitrust enforcement or defend free speech in ways that might inconvenience her backers.
...Yet closeness to Silicon Valley and Hollywood does not mean that Harris’s ascent will be good for businesses outside the charmed circle of tech and media conglomerates. Harris has backed a state tax and regulatory regime that has devastated the state’s middle and working classes. Once in the White House, she would presumably push similar policies ruinous for business—particularly small businesses unable to cope with high taxes, restrictive labor laws, and ever-more draconian environmental regulation.
Harris emerged last year as an early supporter of the Green New Deal, which roughly follows California’s hard-core environmental regime. Unlike Joe Biden, she favors banning all fracking. As California attorney general, she vigorously fought to use climate change-driven laws to force Californians out of their cars and homes for the supposed pleasures of public transit and apartment living.
...A future Harris administration would likely impose California’s green mandates on the nation. These measures have burdened California with electricity rates that since 2011 have increased five times as rapidly as the national average. They’ve also been linked to wildfires and, seemingly every summer, rolling blackouts. The state’s purposeful closing of nuclear and gas plants, notes environmental author Michael Shellenberger, means that “the tens of billions that Californians have spent on renewables come with high human, economic, and environmental costs.”
...Over the last decade, California has fallen to the bottom half of states in terms of manufacturing employment growth, last year ranking 44th, with a new job-creation rate one-third to one-quarter that of prime competitors, such as Texas, Virginia, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida.
Though making up less than one-fifth of the state’s population, the Bay Area—the base for Harris, former governor Jerry Brown, current governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—dominates California politics. With a large edge in Democratic registration, the area has been a fount of green and social-justice proposals cloaked in notionally progressive idealism but devastating to the middle and working classes.
...As California’s attorney general, Harris was criticized by reformers for putting petty miscreants, like pot smokers, in jail, even while joking about her own use, and for being too deferential to law enforcement. In the post-George Floyd era, Harris has turned hard in the other direction, with nods towards support for “defunding” the police and other policies fueling a new urban crime wave. But we can expect Harris to embrace her tough-prosecutor mode in going after political enemies; she joined lawsuits against fossil-fuel executives for voicing doubts about climate change. Under a Harris administration, we could expect further expansion of the de-platforming and censorship of those caught not “right-thinking.”
The bottom line: don’t underestimate Kamala Harris. She is a savvy political operator. She will be hailed by the compliant media as a progressive egalitarian and an ideal promoter of the American dream —but if her past performance is any guide, she will be neither.
Sunday, August 23, 2020
"Under a Harris administration, we could expect further expansion of the de-platforming and censorship of those caught not “right-thinking.”
Joel Kotkin knows California. He also knows Kamala Harris's record there. He writes in part in City Journal,