Though President Donald Trump would like Americans to believe that California has it all wrong, the most populous U.S. state – which stands opposite the president on most socioeconomic issues – is outperforming the rest of the country in terms of job growth, manufacturing, personal income, corporate profits and the total return of its bonds, according to a Bloomberg analysis.
Trump attributes the prosperity of the U.S. economy during his 17 months as president to his evisceration of environmental regulations and other consumer protections, abandoning the Paris climate accord, aggressively deporting undocumented immigrants, prohibiting people from certain nations (mostly majority Muslim) from emigrating to the U.S., prosecuting sanctuary cities for protecting immigrants, cutting taxes most for corporations and the rich, and appointing a Supreme Court justice who just wrote the 5-4 decision limiting the rights of tens of millions of workers.
California Governor Jerry Brown, on the other hand, has overseen vast growth and progress:
California's 4.9 percent increase in GDP last year was more than twice the gain for the U.S. and enabled the state's jobless rate to slide to 4.2 percent, the lowest on record since such data was compiled in 1976. Per capita income since 2013 grew 20.5 percent, making California the perennial No. 1. Among the biggest states sharing the Trump agenda, Texas remains an also-ran with less than a third of California's $31.8 billion in receipts from agriculture, forestry and fishing and $63 billion less than California's $289 billion in equivalent GDP as the nation's largest manufacturer, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While the Texas unemployment rate is lower at 4.1 percent, California's is falling faster and its total workforce of 17 million is 37 percent greater and has increased 2 million during the past five years, more than any other state.
Investors also make California the best-performing state, with 462 native companies in the Russell 3000 index producing a 587 percent total return (income plus appreciation) during the past decade, 262 percent the past five years, 76 percent the past two years, and 27 percent the past year — easily surpassing the Russell 3000's total return of 371 percent, 154 percent, 59 percent, and 22 percent, respectively. In the market for state and local government debt, California also is superior, representing more than 20 percent of the No. 1 BlackRock Strategic Municipal Opportunities Fund, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
On the issue of climate change, California clearly leads the pack – both nationally and globally.
California is the global leader among governments committed to safeguarding the planet from climate change. Corporate California's revenues from clean energy companies dwarf those of the other 49 states or any country. The state's auto emissions law, now contested by the Trump administration, is the nation's most stringent. The legislature voted to become a sanctuary state, preventing police from participating in federal enforcement or asking people about their immigration status. The same assembly also made California the first state to declare a $15-an-hour minimum wage and to require solar panels on new homes. Its citizens approved Proposition 30, temporarily raising personal income and sales taxes to fund education.
Trump and his enablers in the Republican Party fail to grasp the reality that clean energy increasingly is good for business, especially in California. "He can't distinguish the white horse of victory from the pale horse of death, to quote the Apocalypse," said Brown during an interview at his Sacramento office last week. "He's riding a dead horse. That will become obvious to more and more people."