California’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is basing her campaign on her time as Ebay’s CEO, saying that her experience there gives her the job-creation bona fides to run a state. “I came to understand (at eBay) that job creation is dependent on a fragile mix of circumstances – circumstances all too often disrupted by the intrusive hand of government,” she has said.
Whitman reiterated this message at the state’s Republican convention Friday night, saying that creating jobs in California is “the number one thing we have to do“:
2.3 million Californians wake up every morning not know what they’re going to do. And I see this tearing at the fabric of our very culture. And that’s why the number one thing we have to do is we’ve got to put Californians back to work.
But if Whitman believes that job creation is the most important thing she could do as governor, she has a funny way of showing it. According to an analysis by Michael Reich, Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley, “her policy proposals are likely to have negative effects on jobs and economic growth and to deepen the state’s budget crisis.”
Whitman promises 2 million jobs will be created by her administration, but according to the California State Department of Finance and from independent forecasters, most of that job creation would happen anyway, “without any of Whitman’s policies.” And her determination to slash certain government programs would cause a hemorrhaging of jobs, including more than 63,000 at Medi-Cal and Calworks, California’s Medicaid and employment services programs.
Whitman would also cause all of this economic pain for individual households while simultaneously exacerbating California’s budget crisis. She likes to make a big show of her planned $15 billion in unspecified spending cuts, without noting that California’s fiscal hole for just next year is $20 billion. Her tax plan would also add $6 billion to $10 billion to California’s deficit, offsetting two-thirds of her planned cuts.
A group of 20 California economists — including former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Nobel Prize winner Kenneth Arrow — have signed a letter stating that “the evidence and theory that Whitman uses to diagnose California’s problems are unscientific and an unsound basis for policy. As a result, her diagnosis and her proposed economic policies are both deeply flawed…If implemented, Whitman’s program would worsen California’s budget malaise and its economic performance.” And her program certainly wouldn’t accomplish what she sees as the number one thing she has to do.