Postcards to Voters Day 11.14.2017

There are more than a few salacious headlines vying for our attention this morning, but few are as important as this one. Clear-eyed analysis out of University of California Berkeley Labor Center shows that wage, environmental, and health protections help the economy.

Read an excerpt from WaPo's article below, or the whole study here, and then write to the author of the study and thank him for taking his work seriously.

Ian Perry
University of California Berkeley Labor Center
3rd Floor, 2521 Channing Way
Berkeley, CA 94704

//[Ian] Perry shows that between 2011 and 2016, the “left-coast” state enacted “51 policy measures addressing workers’ rights, environmental issues, safety net programs, taxation, and infrastructure and housing … Labeled “the California Policy Model” (CPM) … this set of policies expanded the role of government in California’s economy by raising its minimum wage, extending health insurance to millions of residents, setting ambitious climate policy, and raising taxes on high earners and corporations.”

If the conservative growth critique is even half right, economic conditions in California should be terrible, especially compared to other places that didn’t enact such measures.

Instead, Perry generates two findings. First, the CPM measures had their intended effects (this may sound obvious, but if, for example, a minimum wage hike isn’t reaching anybody, we wouldn’t expect any job impacts either way). In fact, low wages gained in the state, and wage inequality fell a bit. The state is on track to meet its reduced-emissions goals. Health coverage is significantly up in California relative to non-Medicaid-expansion states (this is a conventional finding among all expansion states).

Second, and this is the punchline: State GDP and job growth “were not adversely affected by the California Policy Model.” As the figure below reveals, compared with states whose politics were dominated by Republicans over the period of the study (2011-16), state GDP growth, along with both private and total employment grew faster in California than in the control group of states. The private-sector jobs bar is important to preclude the argument that the CPM hurts private, not government-sector, job creation. Not so.//

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