Kotkin refers to a New Republic piece by John Judis suggesting that the Obama administration should follow Jerry Brown’s lead.
Now, it’s no surprise that Obama’s political and ideological allies are going to hold up California as a cultural/political model. This lines up with a rather progressive vision of how society ought to be: Dynamic, creative, tech driven, egalitarian/collectivist if not nearing planned models of equality. Such a society has generous social programs, high taxes, and lots of environmental laws on the books. Public sector unions are big and politically powerful and diversity for its own sake is often held as the highest ideal around.
During the last election, a similar vision was sold to the broader electorate as the best way forward for America, for the ‘middle-class,’ for the old democratic union base, for black folks, for minorities, for Northeastern democrats and the gentry liberal/multicultural elite in our cities, for the 60’s boomer idealists/NPR class/liberal youth vote in and around many universities and in the suburbs.
So how is California doing in Kotkin’s opinion?:
‘Brown may be basking in the temporary glow of the state’s short-term budget surplus, but he must know that the long-term pension obligations, at both the state and local levels, and the costs of a vast welfare class are, to use the overused phrase, not sustainable. Without some new engine of economic growth beyond social media, capital gains and property bubbles, the state recovery will never spread to the vast majority of Californians and could nudge the interior parts of the state more toward either penury or even the Republican Party’
This blog is still operating under the assumption that California leads the nation in terms of certain cultural trends, which bears watching.
Any thoughts and comments are welcome.
Here’s Jerry Brown back in 1975 on William Buckley’s Firing Line. Does his free-thinking liberalism necessarily end up backing into a kind of Statism, and can political incentives swallow free-thinkers?:
***See Matt Welch’s piece here on how the New Republic has gone full progressive in many ways. In this blog’s opinion, neo-liberalism is more like that of Will Wilkinson, or can be found at the Economist.
Hearst Castle 4 by Bill Kuffrey
California’s anti-union and anti-immigration democrat-Full video and background on Mickey Kaus here.
A good post on Robinson Jeffers from Malcolm Greenhill, which highlights how the rugged and vast beauty of California makes it easier to imagine what culture is, and what it ought to be on this outpost of Western Civilization.
-A link for Michael Lewis’ article about California politics, public pensions and Schwarzenegger’s time in office.
Dream big: Via Reason: ‘California’s Public Transportation Sinkhole’ A great city deserves great art extravaganzas…: L.A.’s New Public Art Piece ‘The Levitated Mass,’ Or As The American Interest Puts It: ‘A Moving Rock’
The people who promise solutions to poverty and homlessness seem to be engaged in a utopian cost-shifting exercise which favors their interests and overlooks crime, violence and personal responsbility…hardly a way to balance the budget: Repost-Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘The Sidewalks Of San Francisco’…
Some concentrated wealth on top, a stalled legislature with members who know how to play the game…and a service sector beneath…that probably can’t go on forever: …From The WSJ: ‘Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus’…