Economic Policy

JaneMarkets solve a great many problems societies face, and capitalism is the greatest wealth-creating system the world has ever seen; self-interest is a strong driver for mutually beneficial trade and specialization. The profit motive and the potential to enjoy the benefits of one's work serve as catalysts for people to fulfill each other's needs by pursuing and specializing in what they do best.

Capitalism, then, is a system that harnesses human nature to bring about beneficial outcomes.

But, it is always imperative to remember that capitalism is a rules-based system, whereby clear, discernible private property rights and certain societal principles are upheld and protected. As a system designed to harness, rather than suppress, human nature, capitalism needs to be guarded against the more base parts of human nature that can result in injustice. The preservation of these rights, and the establishment, maintenance and enforcement of these rules falls to the hands of elected governments at the federal, state, county and municipal levels.

Thus, government's job is two-fold—(1) it is a facilitator of economic activity by creating an environment that allows freedom of choice and action; but, (2) it is also an assessor of the fairness of that economic activity, at times a regulator of how that economic activity proceeds, and, on occasion, an interdicting force (when one's economic activity creates harm to others) by actively upholding and enforcing fundamental principles or laws. This dual role forces government to balance an open environment that encourages entrepreneurship, invention, innovation and growth with guarding against social ills and misbehavior.

California's government also has the task of providing services to the state's citizens. These services are financed largely by taxation. And, California's tax structure and rates are higher than any other state. This is California's reality.

If we are going to remain a state that taxes a great deal, I believe we need to recognize two things:

First—Tangible and measurably beneficial outcomes for our citizens, who pay these taxes, should be easily identifiable and morally defensible. I believe in individual responsibility—it is a societal imperative. But, I also believe that governments can and should give a reasonable helping hand to those in need of it, when they need it. To that end, California's programs and services are robust and well-intentioned. What we, as a community and as a state, must do a better job of is not only communicating the very real and tangible economic and social benefits from these programs and services, but also enforcing our rules to the utmost when they are being abused. We should never make the perfect the enemy of the good, but we must be sure that abuse and fraud, when they do occur, are stopped and punished with the full force of the law. Robust enforcement makes these programs and services both more efficient, and easier to tout as models for the rest of the nation.

Second—California's high tax rates afford our state an opportunity to incentivize societally positive activities by offering tax breaks for participation in well-monitored, but simple programs. Take my Education Policy Prescription and my minimum wage implementation policy as prime examples as to how we can hopefully encourage positive societal benefits without having to raise taxes on the state's population writ large.

California is an economic powerhouse for a reason. We live on land imbued with great resources and in communities full of talented individuals. Our brand of capitalism is well-regulated, and backed by robust services that help to facilitate an attractive and active economic environment. Yet, we must recognize that California has tools in its belt to do even more great things! Identifying and utilizing these tools both innovatively and sensibly is essential. If elected, I intend to proceed from this philosophy and seek creative ways to solve problems.

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