Jerry Brown expresses satisfaction with CA’s 24% poverty rate

Jerry Brown expresses satisfaction with CA’s 24% poverty rate

If you live in a state that has by far the highest effective poverty rate in the U.S. — at just under one-quarter of the population — you would seem unlikely to express satisfaction with the economics status quo.

But if you’re the governor of that state, and the media think you’re a whiz-bang because there aren’t any more budget stalemates every summer, you can just blithely say that 24 percent poverty is just the way it is, man. This was in the Sac Bee.

“Brown defended California’s business environment, citing venture capital and foreign investment in the state.

“There’s a fellow named Schumpeter who talked about the creative destruction of capitalism,” he said, referencing the economist Joseph Schumpeter. “And, I put the emphasis on creative, and, change is inevitable. We’re getting 60 percent of the venture capital, we’re the number one place for direct foreign investment in the United States. Do we have everything in all respects? No. But we have an abundance that constitutes a two trillion dollar economy.”

Brown celebrates dynamics that are roiling San Francisco

media-blackout-efxAs my Cal Watchdog colleague John Seiler notes, it’s pretty cool to see California’s governor invoke an economist who is a free-market icon, not a Krugmanite — even if it’s Texas that reflects Schumpeter’s core insights far more than Cali. But it’s also very curious in that anyone who celebrates the California status quo certainly isn’t looking at the 24 percent of folks in poverty. Or the stagnant middle class. More than anyone, such a celebration is about the tech titans of Silicon Valley and San Francisco — the allegedly evil 1 percenters.

It’s no stretch to say Jerry Brown is celebrating the same economic dynamics that have San Franciscan lefties going goon on rich techies.

But then we live in a state in which outside of Christopher Cadelago and Dan Walters at the Sac Bee and Steve Greenhut at the U-T San Diego and the editorial board of the U-T (which includes me), practically no one ever mentions that California has the nation’s highest poverty rate if cost of living is included.

Do these journos think cost of living shouldn’t be included? Or are they just clueless? Or are they scared to break with the pack?

I don’t know which of these is true. But it is stunning that so few of the articles about how California is doing simply omit our nation’s worst poverty ranking.


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