California

In Defense of Houses

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A critical component in the rise of market-oriented democracy in the modern era has been the dispersion of property ownership among middle-income households—not just in the United States but also in countries like Holland, Canada, and Australia, where it was closely linked with greater civil and economic freedom. In its early days, this dispersion was largely rural, but after the Second World War, it took on a largely suburban emphasis in the U.S., including within the extended metro regions of traditional cities like New York and Los Angeles.  read more »

California Can’t Afford To Be An Economic One-Trick Pony

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For the past decade, the soaring stock prices and nosebleed valuations of Silicon Valley’s IPOs and unicorns has been a boon for California, helping create a record budget surplus of almost $22 billion.

Yet this bonanza has occurred just as the state’s overall job creation, once among the country’s leaders, has slowed to a more middle of the road status, well below the rates for key competitors such as Nevada, Arizona, Washington State and Texas.  read more »

The Stockton Sandwich

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I just spent a few days in Stockton, California visiting old family friends. They’re a recently retired Lutheran pastor and his wife who relocated from Southern California and returned to their hometown. Being lifelong members of the church has many benefits, but making lots of money isn’t one of them. They run a lean operation and found a modest three bedroom two bath fixer upper for $195,000 and proceeded to do almost all the renovation work themselves.  read more »

Is There A Future For Transit-Oriented Development in Orange County, CA?

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California was once a state of great builders, and its legacy of grand construction projects remains plenty visible today. Major infrastructure investments like the California Aqueduct enabled the sprawling metropolises of the Southern California desert to thrive, becoming some of the most prolific economic and cultural centers in the world. The Golden State pioneered highway construction, linking its cities with each other and the rest of the nation. And perhaps the most iconic symbol of California, the Golden Gate Bridge, was a remarkable civil engineering feat of its time.  read more »

Primer on Politics of Homelessness in LA

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I’ll start by giving you all a chance to consider some basic questions that Mayor Eric Garcetti and his staff failed to address –- and the mainstream media left hanging -- in the wake of a report that confirmed the obvious rise in homelessness in Los Angeles over the past year or so.  read more »

What Do the Oligarchs Have in Mind for Us?

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There seems to be no good reason why a thoroughly scientific
dictatorship should ever be overthrown.
~Aldous Huxley,
Brave New World Revisited

The recent movement to investigate, and even break up, the current tech oligarchy has gained support on both sides of the Atlantic, and even leapt across the gaping divide in American politics. The immediate concerns relate to such things as the control of key markets by one or two firms, the huge concentration of wealth accruing to the tech elite and, increasingly, the oligarchy’s control over and manipulation of information pipelines.  read more »

What Is Social Justice?

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Perhaps no issue more motivates progressive activists than social justice. Good intentions may motivate the social justice warriors, albeit sometimes sprinkled with a dollop of self-hatred. But good intentions do not necessarily produce good results. Indeed, often the policies favored by progressive idealists hinder the economic and social progress of the very people they seek to rescue.  read more »

California’s Progressive Betrayal

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The recent California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco exposed the divide between the state’s progressive and working-class voters. Progressives, in their militant certitude, support left-wing policies that often don’t affect them; it’s the working class that suffers the consequences of these proposals. But the Green New Deal, widely embraced by party leaders, pushed too far, triggering a backlash at the convention.  read more »

Making Life Worse: The Flaws of Green Mandates

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“Saving the planet” should be an unbeatable political slogan. Yet consistently the imagined “green wave” mindlessly embraced by most of the media continues to fall short, as evidenced by recent elections in Canada and Australia, as well as across much of Europe.  read more »

Densification Efforts Like SB50 Are The Wrong Fix To California’s Housing Problem

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For decades California’s regulatory and tax policies have undermined our middle class, driving millions out of this most favored state. Perhaps nowhere is this clearer than in a drive that seeks to destroy the single-family neighborhoods preferred by the state’s middle-income households.  read more »