Editor’s note: This has been excerpted with permission from the Pacific Research Institute. To read the entire report, click here.
The economic outlook for California inspires as much optimism as a weather report of dark clouds and heavy thunderstorms. Rather than entertain the possibility that the hard times are the result of poor public policy, blame has been assigned to an outside influence: climate change. It’s a way to avoid the hard work of rolling back the policies that hurt the economy and an excuse to accelerate the green agenda.
According to the UCLA Anderson School of Management, while “the state’s economic outlook will improve substantially,” a full recovery “will not occur before the end of 2022.” The September report also predicts that even though the unemployment rate will fall below 10% by the end of 2020, it will be “close to 6% at the close of 2022 (compared to just under 5% for the U.S. as a whole).”
A couple of weeks after the school issued its forecast, Bloomberg News was reporting that “California’s Boom Collapses” as “wildfires, power outages and extreme weather that have ravaged California are setting the stage for a deepening economic crisis for an engine of U.S. growth.”
By December, the Bank of the West’s California Economic Outlook noted the state’s “labor market recovery is lagging the nation” and assumed “additional substantial fiscal support from the federal government will be needed” to reach even “modest job growth across the state of California in 2021.”
Three months after its September analysis, the Anderson School predicted “the ’20s will be roaring, but with several months of hardship first,” caused by “rising COVID infections, continued social distancing, and the expiration of social assistance programs.”
Of note: There were no climate-related policies enacted over the last quarter of 2020 that would have changed the somewhat dreary economic forecasts to conditionally optimistic projections.
Part of California’s economic troubles were clearly caused by the pandemic economic lockdowns, which the Legislative Analyst’s Office called “an unprecedented disruption to California’s economy,” grinding it “abruptly … to a halt.” The lockdowns were the products of policy decisions and had no connection whatsoever to climate. Just another one of this state’s many self-inflicted wounds.
Wildfires are also to blame.
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Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.