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Waiting For Gavin

10 Inequality Takeaways

Advice for California’s new governor collected from interviews with three authorities on poverty and income inequality, and from stories in our Waiting for Gavin series.




Photo: David Teter


1. Move forward with early childhood education. A recent analysis reports that California’s children are behind before they even enter Kindergarten.


2. Make more moves toward universal health care. In the recent election cycle health care was a central issue — and candidate Gavin Newsom promised to make single-payer coverage a reality for Californians.


3. Lay the groundwork for a broader conceptualization of portable employment benefits that can go between jobs in an economy in which job-churning has become the norm.



4. Begin changing the rules by which we can raise taxes. California doesn’t have an inheritance tax or an oil extraction tax; it does have Proposition 13, passed in 1978, which requires a two-thirds majority vote to raise state or local revenues through taxes.


5. With an aging population we need a more caring economy — more family-leaning benefits for people who want to provide care for their elders.


6. Keep racial equity and economic equity in view at all times. We need to ensure that labor opportunities not only propel people into middle-class jobs, but also that they’re reducing racial disparities.


7. Plan ahead for an economy in which there may be fewer jobs due to technology and artificial intelligence.

8. Put some real resources into a major expansion of the state earned income tax credit. It’s a proven program that helps low-income working families.


9. Stabilize funding for the state’s community colleges. There’s good evidence that these institutions can be very effective if workers and students can get to them and get through their programs — but they’ve really suffered from underfunding.


10. Set the standard for what it means to live in a well-off country. California’s actions don’t only affect people who live here, but also how the rest of the country understands what should be done, and what kind of society we want to live in.



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