The next great progressive Democratic hope in 2020 is Phil Murphy.
You’ll know him real soon. Tuesday, he gets sworn in as Governor of New Jersey.
But Murphy has the personal wealth (he’s a former Goldman Sachs executive), the street cred (as President Obama’s Ambassador to Germany) and the fertile ground (Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 13 points) to use the Garden State as a launching pad for his sense of progressive nirvana.
That nirvana? California! Murphy wants to make New Jersey into the next California.
That’s right. The state with the highest poverty rate in the nation, according to the Census Bureau. (How does your state compare? Go to page 27 of this fascinating Census report.)
So when Murphy says he sees California as a “model” to emulate, New Jersey residents in the know say “Uh-oh.”
And if they’re really smart they’ll say “U-Haul.”
California’s generous safety-net programs appear to have made poverty worse, according to local, mainstream-media coverage of the lowlights there including:
- 55% of immigrant families (but only 30% of “native” families) receive some sort of means-tested benefits;
- A sanctuary state;
- restrictive land-use (anti-development) policies driving up the cost of housing; and
- a welfare bureaucracy employing nearly one million people, many of whom might lose their jobs if their “customers” were to graduate off the dependency trap.
Murphy says he will “pursue creative reactions” and possibly challenge in court policies like the Republican tax bill recently signed by President Trump. But he also claims the “only thing we’ve promised is a stronger and fairer economy in this state,” and quickly adds “that includes for organized labor.”
Whoa! Wait, what’s that? Did I hear a “fairer economy”? (This is when the unnecessary adjective warning goes off, heralding the addition of an adjective acting as an antonym for the word it’s modifying.)
But if the solution is the California-model of social services, there appears to be no end to the downward spiral of higher taxes, more poverty . . . and the public-sector Gravy Train grows and grows, gets longer and longer.
For Murphy, that may not be a bug, but a feature. That’s because there’s a tipping point, where there are simply enough Gravy Train passengers and beneficiaries (recipients and government employees, sometimes they’re both) that if they all get out and vote, the tax-and-spend-more progressives will win, no matter what.