This Week: The economy, the flip side of cheap gas and a leader’s vision

By Anthony York | Posted January 30, 2015

It was economy-heavy this week on the Grizzly Bear Project. Which is cause for some concern, considering I’m not an economist.

I feel like I know enough to be dangerous. I know the fundamental difference between a Keynesian and Supply-Sider. I get that the wage issues we’re wrestling with now have been part of capitalism since Marx wrote about them in the mid-1800s. And I know that most people don’t know how to talk about these things rationally – probably because most of us understand so little.

My hope is to learn more and share what I’m learning, because I believe we are at a transformative moment in our state’s history, and the policy decisions we make over the next two years will set the course for California’s future.

That is really the spirit that drives The Grizzly Bear Project – to promote understanding and the ability to make informed decisions. This is California, where every voter is a policy maker. We do better when we take that responsibility seriously.

As this week’s PPIC survey and John Myers reminds us, most Californians don’t understand their government. That’s on us. We have to make this story matter, to help let people know why and how what happens in their strange place called Sacramento shapes the lives of more than 38 million people.

So, let’s figure this out. It’s clear to me now that we all agree there are problems left to fix here. Now, we can have a rational, healthy argument about how to fix it.

This is my outlet for my shameless California nationalism, because I believe in our fundamental grooviness, even in the face of the massive challenges we still face.

While the state has recovered the jobs it lost in the Great Recession, the manufacturing sector is still struggling. We’ve lost more than 260,000 manufacturing jobs in California over the last decade. Another sector of flat job growth – government. We’ve cut back in California, unlike some states…

Also, a quick look at the flip side of cheap gas prices: In Bakersfield, low oil prices means revenue shortfalls and job loss.

And finally, there are some differences emerging between the governor and Senate Democrats on the economy, safety net, and higher education.


This Week on the Grizzly Bear Project

Illustrating the transformation of California’s economy

It’s great to see the growing political focus on the economic gap between the haves and have-nots. Democrats and Republicans agree that the wealth gap exists, and that it is a problem that must be fixed in order for our state, and our nation, to thrive.

Government work declines in California, but is on the rise elsewhere

As part of my ongoing look at the California economy, and my new love of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, I’ve been studying how different sectors of the California economy have performed over the last decade. The goal is to get an accurate picture of the post-recession California economy to see how our job market is changing, and what it might mean for our future.

Senate leader talks poverty, Jerry Brown while staking out budget turf

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) addressed the Sacramento Press Club this week, to articulate his vision for California’s future.De León pushed Brown to do more to help the poor in California, laying out a legislative plan that the Senate leader said is focused on “opportunity for all Californians to fully participate in out state’s economic resurgence.”

Oil price drop leads to financial woes in Kern County

Cheap oil is a boon for California consumers. We are a state of freeways and suburbs, with some of the longest commute times inthe nation. Low prices at the pump help Californians’ pocketbooks. But for every bit of good economic news, it seems there’s always some group or region that takes a hit.




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Anthony York
Anthony York has covered California politics for close to 20 years. Before launching the Grizzly Bear Project in 2015, he covered Gov. Jerry Brown's administration for the Los Angeles Times. He is the former editor of Capitol Weekly, a former Associate Editor of the California Journal and of, where he also served as the Web site's Washington D.C. correspondent. He tweets at @anthonyyork49

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Senate leader talks poverty, Jerry Brown, while staking out budget turf
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) addressed the Sacramento Press Club this week, to articulate his vision...