Steven Greenhut

Steven Greenhut is a senior fellow and Western region director for the R Street Institute. His political views do not reflect the views of the institute.


California GOP’s Final Death Throes


Sacramento The final vote tallies are in for a handful of tight legislative races. It’s now clear that California Democrats have gained supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature, meaning they can raise taxes without needing to woo any Republican votes. The state Republican Party has long abandoned hope of ever gaining majorities, but each […]

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When Lunatics Run the Asylum You Get Monty Python


Sacramento California’s pension funds continue to face a fusillade of bad news, including new reports showing that retirement benefits consume 20 percent of Los Angeles’ general-fund budget. Put another way, one out of every five dollars the city spends goes to a retired city worker, a percentage that has quadrupled in the past 14 years. […]

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California the New Redoubt of Secessionism?


The most enjoyable part of the Trump victory has been watching people here in liberal northern California suddenly discover that some of the ideas libertarians and conservatives have long championed — gun ownership, federalism, resistance to federal edicts, even secession — might not be as crazy as they had once thought. The “Yes California” campaign, […]

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California Misses Another Electoral Wave


It’s hard to overstate the significance of Donald Trump’s improbable presidential victory Tuesday, yet the GOP tide barely fazed the nation’s most populous state. Democrat Hillary Clinton won by more than 28 percentage points, besting Trump by a number of votes (2.5 million) that’s larger than the total population of 15 states. Clinton even won […]

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‘Two Californias’ Ruled by One Distorted Vision


Sacramento Some pundits were aghast after a federal jury acquitted Ammon Bundy and several others for their roles in an armed standoff at a wildlife refuge in desolate eastern Oregon. They said the decision put targets on the backs of federal workers, opened the door to anti-government extremism, or was evidence of white privilege, because […]

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Election Time in a One-Party State


Sacramento After George W. Bush was declared winner of the 2000 presidential election, I headed from our newspaper offices to the Orange County Republican Party election event, where I expected an easy night of jotting down crowd reactions. I was thrilled Al Gore had been vanquished, but my happiness turned to angst as this early […]

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California Aborting Free-Speech Rights


Sacramento In signing a bill that criminalizes the distribution of a “confidential” video of a “health-care provider,” Gov. Jerry Brown has at least dispensed with the notion that California’s Democratic leadership cares at all about free-speech rights. The new law, which could lead to jail time for violators, is the latest troubling example of how […]

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Teams Kneel at the Altar of Tax Subsidies


Sacramento The debate over standing for the national anthem is back on center stage this week, now that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been given the greenlight to start the game when his team kicks off at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The whole thing is annoying. One of the few things worse […]

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At What Point Is California a Lost Cause?


Sacramento A pseudonymous writer named Decius sparked a debate throughout the conservative media with his argument that this presidential election echoes “Flight 93” — the aircraft that crashed in a Pennsylvania field during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In his view, voters are like that flight’s passengers. We can rush the cockpit and maybe give […]

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California’s Moral Superiority Complex


Sacramento I was drinking a beer recently in a bar in a small northern California town when a woman came in and demanded to know if any of the people sitting there owned a pickup truck parked out front. There was a dog inside it, sweltering in the 100-plus-degree Central Valley heat. She was going […]

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