Sunday, April 19, 2015

John Wood, Jr. ― California’s Economic Recovery is for the Few

There is a strange disconnect that can be noted in the definition of economic recovery promoted by many on the political left when it comes to evaluating the economic performance of Democratic executive office holders. In the case of President Obama, many Democrats are eager to observe the resurgence of the stock market and the return to pre-recession baseline revenue levels as evidence of a restored economy. More recently, as the headline unemployment rate has declined, they’ve claimed the official reduction in unemployment as a landmark of economic recovery. Yet even as progressive rhetoric stresses income equality and champions the financial plight of the poor and the working class, real unemployment (when one factors in those no longer counted in the labor force) is near 10%, the poverty rate close to 15% (where it has been for several years) showing millions of Americans sliding down the ladder of opportunity. This is the disconnect between rhetoric and outcome in President Obama’s America. Much the same could be said, however, of Governor Jerry Brown’s California. 

A Bloomberg Business article published after Governor Brown’s State of the State Address at the beginning of the year made much of the fact that California had overtaken Brazil as the world’s 7th largest economy (see Brown’s California Overtakes Brazil). As the Golden State’s GDP recovered from dips following the recession and as California corporations returned substantial profits to investors, the aggregate economy in California did indeed swell as rivals in the global economy such as Brazil and others continued to languish in the aftermath of the global recession. 

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