For the California economy, surf's up. And that could 1) hasten the end of a long drought for the state in presidential politics.
In early May, California marked a striking milestone in its recovery from its economic 2) tailspin earlier in the 2000s when new data showed the state has surged past the United Kingdom as the world's fifth largest economy-even though the UK has about 25 million more people. Last Friday, Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown added an exclamation point when he reported that, because of the growing economy, the state government, which faced massive budget deficits less than a decade ago, would amass a budget surplus $8 billion larger than it projected as recently as January.
These powerful measures of economic recovery could fuel a revival for the state in national politics. California hasn't produced a truly top tier presidential 3) contender from either party since Ronald Reagan won the Republican nomination (and the presidency) in 1980 and Jerry Brown -- incredibly the governor back then as well --mounted a dynamic eleventh-hour bid for the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination that ultimately fell short to Jimmy Carter.
That seems about to change. Even with very limited national experience, Democratic party insiders generally consider first-term California Sen. Kamala Harris a potentially serious competitor for the presidential nomination in 2020 -- and a pre-eminent contender for the vice-presidency even if she skips the race or doesn't capture the top prize. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is openly exploring what would be a more long-shot presidential bid. And if Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom wins the California governorship in November, he would instantly become a potential future competitor, though most likely after 2020.
The 4) profusion of possible presidential candidates is only one 5) manifestation of a much larger shift in the state's political identity. Since the late 1990s, conservatives have argued California's economic and state budgetary struggles show the failure of a "blue-state" model that includes relatively higher taxes, tougher regulation of business, more public investment in education and social programs, and a systematic effort to promote low-carbon energy sources such as solar and wind power.
But in the past several years, California's has generated significantly more jobs and overall economic growth than Texas, the state that Republicans most often 6) tout as the paragon of a "red state" model based on lower taxes, less spending and regulation, and the aggressive development of fossil fuels.
And just as Texas led a coalition of conservative states in pursuing legal challenges against an array of domestic initiatives from former President Barack Obama, California is now spearheading the legal resistance from blue states to Donald Trump on issues from the environment to immigration. State Attorney General Xavier Becerra is engaged in well over two dozen lawsuits against the administration.
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In all these ways, California has now become the de facto leader of left-leaning America -- and the clear progressive counterpoint to Texas on the right.
As Manuel Pastor, a University of Southern California sociology professor, writes in State of Resistance, his new book on California, "Texas was once determined...to boast that it is the true national alternative going forward. But its model -- based on cheap energy, 7) urban sprawl, and political 8) disenfranchisement [of minorities] -- does not seem like a recipe for the national long haul."
Instead, Pastor argues, "What California is stumbling toward...is a path to a new American future, one in which the nation becomes more prosperous and more sustainable, more diverse and more cohesive, more engaged and more agreeable."
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As Pastor and other observers are quick to note, California has hardly solved all of its challenges. The state suffers from 9) uneven regional growth, high levels of income inequality, continuing concentrations of poverty that isolate many African-American and Latino families from opportunity, and above all, soaring housing prices that have 10) strained family budgets and 11) spurred a steady migration of middle-income residents to other states.
"The biggest hurdle [for the state] is housing," said F. Noel Perry, the founder of Next 10, a San Francisco-based think tank that studies economic and energy issues in the state. "What we've learned is more people are moving out of California than moving in and the data absolutely suggests that this exodus is being driven by the fact that the state has the highest housing prices in the country."
California's economy vs. Texas' economy
Yet even with those 12) formidable remaining obstacles, California's economic performance in recent years has been dynamic. Since 2014, California has created jobs at an annual rate of nearly 2.6%, according to calculations by the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program. That's far more than the 1.8% annual gain in Texas. That reverses the ranking from 2010 through 2014, when Texas, buoyed by those years' boom in natural gas production, created jobs at a significantly faster clip (2.8% annually) than California (2.2%).
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The trend is the same in overall economic growth. Texas increased its gross domestic product by nearly 40% from 2009 through 2014, compared to only about 23% for California, according to figures from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. But from 2014 through 2017, California increased its total output by 16%, more than three times the rate in Texas, the federal figures show.
That growth 13) spurt recently allowed California to pass the United Kingdom as the world's fifth largest economy, after the state had fallen to tenth in that global ranking as recently as 2012. Only the United States itself, China, Japan and Germany generate more output than California.
By: Ronald Brownstein
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<Words & Expressions>
1) hasten: 앞당기다.
2) tailspin: 악화, 폭락 예)본문에서 “economic tailspin”은 경제 악화를 의미한다.
3) contender: 도전자
4) profusion: 다량, 풍성함
5) manifestation: 징후
6) tout: 장점을 내세우다.
7) urban sprawl: 도시 스프롤 현상(도시 개발이 근접 미개발 지역으로 확산되는 현상)
8) disenfranchisement: 시민권박탈
9) uneven: 균등하지 않은
10) strain: 긴장시키다.
11) spur: 자극하다, (비유적으로) 박차를 가하다.
12) formidable: 어마어마한, 가공할
13) spurt: 갑자기 속도를 더 내다