Gov. Brown’s press secretary slams Peggy Noonan

Aug. 20, 2012

By John Seiler

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan criticized our fair state. That brought an Aug. 19 reply from Gil Duran, Gov. Jerry Brown’s press secretary. But it’s Duran who’s inaccurate.

He wrote:

“Peggy Noonan assumes the role of Chicken Little in her assessment of California, but the facts contradict her gloom and doom (“A Nation That Believes Nothing,” Declarations, Aug. 11). The Golden State is leading the nation in job growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

That’s because we still have the country’s biggest population, almost double No. 2 Texas. But our unemployment rate July, as reported Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, remains stuck at 10.7 percent, third worst in the nation. And the L.A. Times reported:

“Still, California employers shed jobs in other industries such as trade, transportation and utilities, which lost 8,000 jobs. Manufacturing lost 3,100 jobs and construction, 1,200 jobs.

“The report also showed that the state’s labor force shrunk by almost 53,000 in July as job seekers stopped actively looking for work.”


“California attracts more venture capital investment than all other 49 states combined, according to Standard & Poor’s, and California’s exports are at historic highs after 31 months of steady growth.”

True enough. If you’re an 180-IQ computer nerd from anywhere in the world, you still make the pilgrimage to Silicon Valley, grab venture capital and make your billions — while outsourcing production to China and your server farms to North Carolina.

But if your IQ is <180, then there’s a good chance you’re standing in an unemployment line or heading to the U-Haul lot ready to head out of Dodge, Calif.

Bond ratings


“The state’s bond rating outlook shifted from negative to positive under Gov. Jerry Brown’s watch.”

That’s so misleading. In February, S&P did revise the state’s credit rating outlook to “positive.” But just three months later, in May, S&P warned, “We could change the outlook to negative or lower the rating if we believe the state’s credit quality weakens through the budget process.” Throughout that period, S&P gave California an A- rating, the worst of any state.

And on our site, as Chriss Street reported, Moody’s is warning of more California bankruptcies. And the Federal Reserve Board is warning that California and other municipal bonds are risky.


“California’s unemployment rate is the result of job losses that occurred when Republicans occupied the White House and the statehouse.”

Fair enough. Bush and Schwarzenegger were terrible leaders. But although the “White House” and “statehouse” parallel allows for a nice alliteration, in fact it’s an inapt comparison. The White House is the locus of federal executive power. But the California statehouse is the state Capitol that houses all three branches of the state government. And during Arnold’s entire dismal tenure, Democrats enjoyed large majorities in both houses of the Legislature.


Now, as to federal policy, why is California’s unemployment rate the third worst among the states? Moreover, a Democrat, Barack Obama, has been president for almost four years now. President Ronald Reagan inherited an economy just as bad in 1981, yet by 1983 the economy was humming with 7 percent growth due to his tax cuts.

As to Schwarzenegger, his worst jobs-killing policies — AB 32 and tax increases — are embraced by Brown. The new governor is a big booster of AB 32. And he’s pushing his Proposition 30 tax increases.

Ironically, the slight California economic recovery of the Brown years coincides with the expiration of Arnold’s tax increases in 2011. Remember how Brown spent much of spring and summer 2011 trying to “extend” Arnold’s tax increases, but was blocked by Republicans in the Legislature? For once, California businesses got a break — and it happened because Brown’s wishes were thwarted.

“Under Democratic leadership, jobs are coming back. That’s great news for California but ‘grim salad’ indeed for conservative parroters.”

Again: Then why is California’s unemployment rate 10.7 percent? Why has Michigan, under a conservative Republican governor, Rick Snyder, seen its unemployment rate drop from 15 percent — worse than California’s — a couple years back, to 9 percent and dropping today? It sure wasn’t Obama’s GM bailout, which has failed and cost taxpayers $24 billion.

Moreover, the inland area of California continues to suffer massive unemployment of more than 20 percent. And the municipal bankruptcies are just beginning.

After the hideous Bush and Schwarzenegger years, Republicans certainly still have much to answer for. But Democrats are running the show now, in control of the White House and the U.S. Senate, and especially holding almost total power in the state Capitol. Blame for the ongoing California debacle has to lie with them.

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