Beating CA’s Nomenklatura

Yesterday’s opinion piece about California by Ezra Klein in the New York Times got a lot of attention, and deservedly so. But it missed a key point. Whether California’s progressivism is rhetorical or substantive, public sector employees always win. They are the nomenklatura in California’s political system, beneficiaries of spending and services regardless of ideological direction. That’s why prison guards benefited from both the rush to incarcerate that commenced in 1976 and the steeply progressive tax increase enacted in 2012. Like all smart special interests, they pay attention to what legislators do, not what they say or tweet. Indeed, no one is better at using the ideology of the time to further their interests.

The article ended impotently (“California needs to do better”) and people reading one-day articles won’t make California better, not when special interests wake up every day wondering how they can get more from $300 billion per year of spending and amendments to 29 legal codes that rule daily life in California. To serve the general interest, you have to operate as persistently and ruthlessly as special interests do. That’s our approach. If you want to support it, you may do so here. If not, choose another approach. Just don’t be a sideline sitter hoping California will do better.