Gov. Jerry Brown has not been campaigning much in 2014. Up roughly 20 points in the polls, he has not needed to describe his policy proposals for a 4th term, much less reach out to voters for their support. Yet he does have an agenda, one pointed out by Samantha Gallegos of the Capitol Weekly: keeping California’s economic growth slow, urging residents to live in more densely-packed cities, and spending more cash on public transportation.
It is an agenda first noted by Joel Kotkin, a self-identified Democrat who writes frequently about California and warns that the state’s governing elite is deliberately making life difficult for middle class families.
With its war on the gas-powered automobile and the single-family home, California is exiling small business entrepreneurs and homeowners–all because Jerry Brown “really believes in this green stuff,” Kotkin has noted ruefully.
Brown typically dismisses concerns about California’s slow economic growth, rising inequality, persistent high unemployment, and alarming poverty rate by insisting that “smart” people still find a way to succeed.
“We’ve got a few problems, we have lots of little burdens and regulations and taxes,” he said recently, “but smart people figure out how to make it.”
Indeed, the state’s budget depends on those smart people in finance and high-tech. For most other people, there’s the highway–or the dole.
The creation of an elite business class and a poverty-stricken underclass is more typical of Third World countries. Under Brown and his Strategic Growth Council (SGC), that model promises to continue.
Gallegos writes that the SGC
is a cabinet-level body with a portfolio that cuts across virtually all aspects of California government. It works to conserve natural resources, limit greenhouse gas emissions, improve housing and transportation, cut urban sprawl and help state and local agencies plan communities so California can cope with a projected population of 50 million by 2049.
Note that the SGC’s mission is not actually to promote “growth,” but to restrict it. And note, too, that it leaves out the main challenge to California’s future–namely, its hundreds of billions in unfunded liabilities and debt.
The SGC is also based, fundamentally, on a lie.
It is simply impossible that limiting California’s greenhouse gas emissions will have any effect whatsoever on global climate–even taking the left’s assumptions about climate change for granted. The huge economic and social cost of limited economic growth is being undertaken for no environmental benefit whatsoever.
Meanwhile, the governor promotes open-border policies to ensure the political dominance of Democrats for the foreseeable future, without much thought as to how those new arrivals are going to find jobs, or create them. In his heart of hearts, he believes that California should actually have far fewer residents than it actually does. But the political hegemony needed to enact a slow-growth plan cannot come without those votes.
Recent polls show that Brown is barely ahead of Republican challenger Neel Kashkari–a political neophyte–among the state’s rising number of independent voters, and losing among white voters. In fact, his lead is drawn entirely from Latino voters, who back the incumbent governor by staggering, almost dictatorial margins. So while his economic agenda requires “managed” population growth, his political agenda requires the opposite.
It is a vast experiment in social engineering whose failure is not in doubt.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak