Report questions Whitman's economic policy

Jessica M. Karmasek Aug. 12, 2010, 10:58am


SACRAMENTO (Legal Newsline) - In a letter to Californians published this week, some economists are calling the state's Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's economic policy proposals and promises "deeply flawed."

The details of the Open Letter to Californians are presented in a report, "Can Californians Trust What Whitman is Selling?" by UC Berkeley economist Michael Reich. The report and the letter were published on Tuesday by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Whitman faces California's Democratic Attorney General and former governor Jerry Brown in the Nov. 2 election.

According to the letter, Whitman's 48-page economic policy document, "Building a New California, Meg Whitman's Policy Agenda," presents an inaccurate diagnosis of the state's economic woes and "an inappropriate set of policies to address them."

She asserts, the letter says, "that California has lost its competitive edge because it has a poor business climate caused by a bloated public sector, too much spending, too high taxes and excessive regulation.

"Whitman promises to restore economic growth and create 2 million private sector jobs by cutting $15 billion in state spending, eliminating 40,000 state employees, redefining public pensions, cutting taxes for the rich, and reducing environmental and worker protections."

These promises, some economists say, are not "credible."

"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," they wrote in the letter. "If implemented, her policy proposals will deepen California's budget crisis and are likely to reduce employment and economic growth."

The economists who contributed to the letter include a Nobel Laureate winner and faculty from UC Berkeley, UCLA and Stanford, among other institutions of higher education.

They argue the former eBay CEO's plan "is not based on facts or experienced analysis."

"If implemented, Whitman's program would worsen California's budget malaise and its economic performance," the report says.

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