Can California Win the New Space Race?

California may have gotten its global allure from the Gold Rush and the movies, but it’s planes, missiles and now drones and spaceships that have underpinned the state’s industrial emergence.

Today, after decades of rapid decline, California’s aerospace employment is growing again, albeit slowly, providing a new chance for the state’s productive economy.

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Property and Democracy in America

To understand how American democracy has worked, and why its future may be limited, it’s critical to look at the issue of property. From early on, the country’s republican institutions have rested on the notion of dispersed ownership of land — a striking departure from the realities of feudal Europe, east Asia or the Middle East. Read more

Transit Planners Want to Make Your Life Worse

In our system of government, the public sector is, well, supposed to serve the public. But increasingly the bureaucracies at the state and local level increasingly seek to tell the public how to live, even if the result is to make life worse.

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Public Schools Should Be Places of Learning, Not Propaganda

California likes to think of itself as the brain center of the universe, but increasingly much of that intellectual content comes from somewhere else. Once a leader in educational innovation and performance, California is now toward the bottom of the pack.

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Will The Democrats End Up Saving The California Republican Party?

Left to its own devices, California’s Republican Party would be ready to be embalmed for display at the Museum of Natural History. But there’s one last hope for the state GOP: the growing lunacy among Democrats.

Many positions now taken for granted by Democrats should threaten their hold on the bulk of California’s middle- and working-class voters.

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California Can’t Afford to Be an Economic One-Trick Pony

For the past decade, the soaring stock prices and nosebleed valuations of Silicon Valley’s IPOs and tech sector 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. On a GDP basis, according to the most recent federal data, Texas by the last quarter of 2018 was growing nearly three times as fast.

Slower growth could expose California even more to its growing, and unhealthy, dependence on the relatively small, in terms of employment, tech sector.

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California’s Progressive Betrayal

California’s left-wing policies hurt working-class and middle-class residents.

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. The state’s private-sector labor unions, notably the building trades, organized a “Blue Collar Revolution” protest against the Democrats’ climate legislation. Read more

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

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.

SB50, introduced by state Sen. Scott Wiener, would allow division of existing houses to duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes “by right” in single-family neighborhoods. Further, higher density apartments could be built-in single-family neighborhoods close to transit. This could lead to significant house value losses by families for whom their home is their greatest single asset.

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Clippers Offer A Better Model For SoCal Than The Lakers

This year’s basketball season, with the collapse of the Lakers and the surprising rise of the Clippers, poses a metaphor for the region. On the one hand, there’s the Laker obsession with the “star system” and impressing outsiders, notably on the East Coast. The Clipper model, reflecting a culture of hard work and teamwork, relies not only on celebrity but the raising of often obscure people into prominence.

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Candidate of Big Tech

In the free-form, roller derby race for the Democratic presidential nomination, few candidates are better positioned than California’s Senator Kamala Harris. She is a fresh and attractive mid-fifties face, compared with septuagenarian frontrunners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, or the aging progressive Elizabeth Warren. Part Asian-Indian, part Afro-Caribbean, and female, Harris seems the frontrunner in the intersectionality sweepstakes that currently largely defines Democratic politics. Yet the national obsession with ethnicity and novelty obscures the more important reality: Harris is also the favored candidate of the tech and media oligarchy now almost uniformly aligned with the Democratic Party. Read more