Steven Greenhut

Steven Greenhut is a senior fellow and Western region director for the R Street Institute. Write to him at sgreenhut@rstreet.org. His political views are his own.

Jerry Brown Heads Toward the Sunset

 

California Gov. Jerry Brown introduced his final budget last week. For a sense of perspective, the first general-fund budget he introduced back in 1975 was for $11.5 billion. His final one spends $132 billion — a whopping $190 billion if we included total spending from all special funds. It’s 44 percent larger than the budget […]

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Some Republicans Think Left Turn Is a ‘New Way’

 

Some bad ideas — and bad politicians — just won’t go away. Former California Republican Assembly leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley, who was pressured to leave his top leadership post after signing on to Gov. Jerry Brown’s 10-year extension of the business-killing cap-and-trade program, has announced a “new” plan to help the GOP “regain […]

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To Put It Charitably, California’s Tax Idea Is Nuts

 

Sacramento I’ve routinely slammed California’s Democratic leaders for their plodding lack of creativity in dealing with the state’s many crises. Pick a problem (infrastructure, poverty, housing, etc.) and they have the same basic solution: Raise taxes, expand a bureaucracy, and give the government more power and money to “do something.” It would never dawn on […]

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New Year’s Blues: Few Signs of Another Tax ‘Revolt’

 

Sacramento We know the story by now. The public was fed up with a dysfunctional government that was awash in debt and mismanagement. The Democratic administration was fixated on imposing liberal social policy and lavishing benefits on those inside the “swamp,” but couldn’t even handle its most basic responsibilities. Voters turned to a flawed political […]

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Is California’s ‘Third Rail’ Still the Kiss of Death?

 

Sacramento A union official was once reportedly asked what exactly it was that he wanted. The questioner was not talking about the goal in some particular political battle, but the end game. The union guy’s answer is one that anyone who “negotiates” with California’s voracious public-sector unions needs to keep in mind. What is it […]

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California’s Infrastructure Is Crumbling (When It’s Not Burning)

 

Sacramento When I first moved to California from Ohio in the 1990s, I spotted a postcard in a gift shop that noted the state’s four seasons: wildfires, mudslides, earthquakes and riots. The postcard wasn’t entirely wrong. Outside of drought years, the state does suffer through a regular cycle of fires, slides and earthquakes, although the […]

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Time to Tear Down These Schools

 

Sacramento I love the Houston Chronicle story about the modest suburban Texas grocery store that defeated the Soviet Union and ended the Cold War. Seriously, any museum that commemorates the fall of communism needs to have photos on the wall of Ronald Reagan, Lech Walesa, Pope John Paul II, and the former Randall’s store in […]

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Will Court Filing Salvage Jerry Brown’s Legacy?

 

There’s little question that Jerry Brown has had a long and storied career in California politics. He was the state’s youngest governor when he was first elected in 1975 and will soon begin his final year as the state’s oldest and longest-serving chief executive. One can already find early reviews of his historical role in […]

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What the ‘H’ Was I Thinking About Rhum?

 

My increasingly deep collection of spirits has long had a weak spot. No matter how interested I’ve become in everything from artisanal mezcals to Islay Scotches, I’ve nevertheless avoided experimenting with rum. It’s no small oversight given that rum is an enormous category, with its sugar-derived spirits distilled in around 80 countries. A drinks enthusiast […]

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Bay Area Takes Police-State Approach to Tobacco

 

Sacramento The 2014 death of Eric Garner spurred Black Lives Matter protests. In fact, Garner’s final words — “I can’t breathe” — became a rallying cry for the movement designed to combat overly aggressive police behavior. Garner was approached by police for allegedly selling “loosies” — individual cigarettes sold without the proper tax stamps. He died after […]

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