07/04/2022

Democratic priorities collide, as legislators side with unions over high-tech companies that are driving California’s economy.

In a Meet the Press interview in March, Gov. Jerry Brown blasted the Trump administration’s threat to cut off funds to California if it becomes a “sanctuary state” for illegal immigrants. “We’re the innovation capital, high-tech, agriculture, $40 to $50 billion industry. You don’t want to mess with California, because you’re going to mess with the economy,” he said.

Brown echoed the talking points that Democrats often make here, as they tout the state’s high-tech economy as proof of the success of California’s economic model. But California’s leaders are conflicted. On one hand, they boast about the innovation that thrives in Silicon Valley, with its burgeoning internet-based businesses and the development of alternative energy sources and electric vehicles.

On the other hand, they hector those tech companies for the “creative destruction” they cause as they pioneer new methods of providing goods and services that displace old-school unionized businesses. They also complain about Google and other firms for creating so many high-paying jobs that it drives up the cost of housing, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area — never mind that the high prices are caused by the lawmakers’ slow-growth policies.

Such “cognitive dissonance” can be entertaining at times. For instance, earlier this summer the state Assembly passed a $3 billion subsidy for electric vehicles. As Business Insider reported, the measure “appears to be a Tesla bailout” given that this maker of high-end electric cars “will soon hit the limit of federal tax rebates,” which begin to expire after a manufacturer sells 200,000 electric vehicles.

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