Brooks looks back on what good government looked like in California, where from 1911 to the 1960s its governors were pro-market and pro-business progressive reformers. In addition to their accomplishments in education, business, and public works, they focused on the middle class to build prosperity. But the model is abandoned, and Brooks says California is now in crisis. He cites declines in infrastructure spending and the interests of the coastal affluent trumping those of the inland middle class, to name a few. The solution is a return to the pro-market progressivism that built modern California with a focus on supporting immigrant entrepreneurs, averting state bankruptcy, and unleashing the state’s industrial and agricultural base.
Brooks is a New York Times columnist.