Newsom’s Dubious History-Making

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For 170 straight years, California’s population grew. Last year, we’ve just learned, it shrank by 182,000 people. Congratulations to Gavin Newsom on making history.

For Newsom, dubious history-making has become routine. Yesterday, he rolled out the “largest economic recovery package in state history,” demanding $100 billion for his “California Comeback Plan.”

Other states, of course, don’t need a comeback plan. They’ve been “back” for some time. Florida, which ended all COVID restrictions and banned vaccine passports, continues to vastly outperform California by any measure: education, the economy, and public health.

As the shiniest object in his “recovery” package, Newsom is dangling $600 checks. Politico’s headline summed it up: “Newsom wants to hand out cash before California recall election.”

It’s the classic playbook of corrupt regimes: massively overtax people, squander the proceeds through graft, and return small sums as a “gift” at opportune times. Even Gray Davis’ top operative says Newsom is “playing Santa Clause.”

But what kind of a “recovery” does Newsom have in mind, anyway? He forecasts 8.5 percent unemployment for this entire year and says jobs in California won’t return to pre-COVID levels until 2025. That’s apparently his definition of “roaring back.”

Even as some businesses and schools now “open,” the reality is Help Wanted signs and Zoom in a Room. For Newsom, such malaise is the new normal; he sees this as the beginning, not the end, of a deepening cycle of dependence and control.

But that’s simply not in our character. I still believe in the promise of California. I believe the essential dynamism, independence, and daring of this state will overcome the endemic cronyism, incompetence, and erring of this governor.

In fact, I believe Newsom will soon be leaving office after the shortest tenure of any California Governor since the 1800s. At least he can say he made history one last time.

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