Debra J. Saunders

Already, the state is developing what Chapman University fellow Joel Kotkin called in this summer's City Journal a "bifurcated social structure" -- with lots of rich people, lots of poor people who can mow their lawns, but a thinning middle class.

California Lutheran University found that California suffered a steep decline -- steeper than in other states -- in households earning between $35,000 and $70,000. Unfortunately, new progressives -- like Brown -- "favor policies such as 'smart growth' and an insistence on 'renewable' energy sources" that, Kotkin wrote, could make certain areas "look like a gated-community."

Already, I've heard grumbling from folks who are making plans to pull up stakes because they feel as if they are being squeezed by California's high taxes and declining standard of living. Sure, it's probably just talk. But California can't afford to lose a single one of the 140,000 households that earned more than $480,000 in 2008, and represent 1 percent of tax filers, yet pay almost half of the state's income taxes.

As mayor of Oakland, Brown was pro-business and pro-development. But he also went for flaky causes that are simply too precious in this difficult economic environment. He was a key figure, for example, in hyping bike lanes and light rail and otherwise delaying reconstruction of the Oakland-Bay Bridge.

I asked Brown spokesman Sterling Clifford on Wednesday if Brown had considered delaying the pending implementation of AB32. Bad timing. The law threatens some jobs in the state's manufacturing sector (which represents one-fifth of state jobs), but would create only 1,000 to 3,600 permanent "green jobs" each year, according to a recent UC Berkeley study.

Clifford answered, "We have to get past this idea of AB32 being bad for business."

OK. Then Brown better come up with new ways to convince employers that Sacramento wants them to hire, stay in business and make a profit. If not, that scary 12.4 percent jobless rate could grow.

Debra J. Saunders

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