Meg Whitman keeps reciting the same misinformation about job loss resulting from California’s bad business climate, claiming that businesses are leaving California because of “over-regulation”. But the truth is, we have lost fewer jobs than neighboring states that have fewer worker protections and lower taxes on corporations and the wealthy. Arizona, Nevada and Oregon had over 6.5% job loss, while California had 4%.
The “bleeding of jobs” — the notion that a large number of jobs are businesses are fleeing California — is a familiar talking point in state politics these days, especially among Republicans. But in the only broad, longitudinal nonpartisan study out there, the numbers don't match the rhetoric.
According to the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), California loses very few jobs to other states, and businesses rarely move either out of or into California. A recent report found that
The annual net employment change in California due to relocation — a loss of about 9,000 jobs — represents only 0.05% of California’s 18 million jobs.
Not only is Whitman wrong on the big picture, the specifics she cites aren’t credible either. She continually points to aerospace giant Northrop Grumman’s relocation from Long Beach to Virginia as evidence of businesses fleeing the state. Which would make sense… except that Northrop Grumman didn’t actually leave California. They moved their corporate headquarters, which amounts to just 1 percent of their workforce, while over 30,000 employees remain here in California.
This isn’t the first time Whitman has twisted the facts to support her corporate agenda. One of her favorite examples of how California regulations stifle business is that it took eBay subsidiary PayPal over two years to break ground on a building in San Jose. The truth, as the San Jose Mercury News reported, is that that the city processed eBay's development application in record time, and the delay was actually caused by eBay.
So why does Whitman keep making this stuff up? Because in the face of record unemployment, Meg Whitman has no real solutions. The centerpiece of Whitman’s economic plan, eliminating the capital gains tax, would do little to create jobs, but would be a boon for millionaires and billionaires.
Many policy experts say such plans will do little in the short term to create the 2 million new jobs Whitman promises: The state's bleak economy is primarily the result of its deep investment in the real estate boom. The resulting mortgage crisis and credit crunch led to hundreds of thousands of construction-related workers being laid off in an industry that is unlikely to rebound anytime soon.
It's no surprise Whitman doesn’t want to talk about the foreclosure crisis and subsequent job loss – after all, she sat on the board of Goldman Sachs, which has been the subject of several federal investigations for its role in the subprime lending collapse. And she’s continued to avoid answering questions about the mortgage-backed securities that made her rich while working-class families lost their homes and life savings.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about whether Abel Maldonado, Schwarzenegger’s appointed Lieutenant Governor, has been exploiting the tragedy of the San Bruno gas fire for political gain. But what about Meg Whitman’s shameless exploitation of the economic hardship workers in California are enduring?
Whitman has already spent over $119 million dollars trying to convince voters that she understands our pain. But in reality, she’s exploiting the economic downturn to help her corporate cronies get even richer by doling out huge tax breaks to millionaires while rolling back the workplace rights and protections that make California a great place to live and work. Learn more about Whitman’s jobs plan.