Around the world, Neo-liberalism is triumphant -- but not everywhere. Robert Reich writes that, in the recent American election, California -- which used to be a pilot project for Milton Friedman's economic prescriptions -- overwhelming rejected Donald Trump:
In sharp contrast to much of the rest of the nation, Californians preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 2-to-1 margin. They also voted to extend a state tax surcharge on the wealthy, and adopt local housing and transportation measures along with a slew of local tax increases and bond proposals.
Perhaps that's because Californians know something that the people in Trump's Heartland don't understand. Consider:
For years, conservatives have been saying that a healthy economy depends on low taxes, few regulations, and low wages.
Are conservatives right? At the one end of the scale are Kansas and Texas, with among the nation’s lowest taxes, least regulations, and lowest wages.
At the other end is California, with among the nation’s highest taxes, especially on the wealthy; toughest regulations, particularly when it comes to the environment; most ambitious healthcare system, that insures more than 12 million poor Californians, in partnership with Medicaid; and high wages.
So according to conservative doctrine, Kansas and Texas ought to be booming, and California ought to be in the pits.
Actually, it’s just the opposite.
For several years, Kansas’s rate of economic growth has been the worst in the nation. Last year its economy actually shrank.
Texas hasn’t been doing all that much better. Its rate of job growth has been below the national average. Retail sales are way down. The value of Texas exports has been dropping.
California has rejected neo-liberal orthodoxy. And that rejection has made all the difference:
California leads the nation in the rate of economic growth — more than twice the national average. If it were a separate nation it would now be the sixth largest economy in the world. Its population has surged to 39 million (up 5 percent since 2010).
California is home to the nation’s fastest-growing and most innovative industries – entertainment and high tech. It incubates more startups than anywhere else in the world.
Californians have their problems. When it comes to climate change, they are enduring the brunt of Nature's assault. But the state -- whose population is larger than Canada's -- knows that Neoliberalism is a con job.
Image: 8 tracks.com