The following posts have been selected by the editors. These posts include articles about Hoover scholars but not written by them. Others are about the Hoover Institution or this site.


In October 2013, the Hoover Institution’s “California Public Pension Solutions” conference, co-hosted by Hoover senior fellow Josh Rauh and SIEPR’s David Crane and Joe Nation, engaged Hoover Institution fellows, pension scholars from across the country, current and former California and out-of-state policy leaders, and other pension reform specialists to discuss, in-depth, solutions to California’s public pension challenges.

After a full day of rigorously discussing solutions and a public address by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, conference attendees were asked to complete a post-conference survey.  The survey consisted of ten statements; attendees marked whether they strongly agreed, agreed, were uncertain, disagreed, or strongly disagreed with each statement and then marked their confidence level (very confident, somewhat confident, uncertain, somewhat unconfident, very unconfident).  This survey is modeled after the IGM Forum conducted by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

The Post Conference Report presents the results of the survey providing a graphic for each statement showcasing the raw and weighted responses.  Accompanying each graphic is a short summary providing more detail on the topic addressed in each statement.

Statement 1

Some key findings include wide consensus that for reform to occur, the “California Rule” needs amended; wide disagreement that small reforms—like eliminating spiking and double-dipping—would solve pension challenges; and strong agreement that San Jose’s recent pension reform is the best example for other California cities/localities to follow.

To explore the report directly, click here.

The Defining Ideas article “Reform or Bust” by Hoover research fellow Carson Bruno also provides an analysis of the report.


Interview: California’s Economic Dissonance


Hoover research fellow Carson Bruno talks to John Batchelor about the results of the Hoover Institution Golden State Poll discussing Californians views on the “California comeback,” top policy priorities for 2014, and Governor Jerry Brown’s re-election.

Click play below to listen:


Audio MP3




Hoover research fellow Tom Church talks to John Batchelor about the GOP’s Principles for Immigration Reform.

Listen to it on John Batchelor’s website or click play below to hear the interview.


Audio MP3



Last fall, the inaugural Hoover Golden State Poll asked this simple question: in a California slowly but steadily digging out of its worst economic recession since the Great Depression, are the residents of Golden State feeling any different about their fortunes?

The results suggested a disconnect between favorable media reports of a state in recovery and an electorate in something of a funk. Twice as many Californians reported being worse-off financially that better off over the last year. More than half said they weren’t confident in their ability to find another job in California within six months that pays as well as they’re currently making.

The second Hoover Golden State Poll – a sampling of 1,000 Californians conducted last month – was released earlier this morning. Its results point to a disturbing trend: in America’s nation-state, its residents have little exuberance for its political leadership – both California’s governor and the State Legislature. Moreover, there’s an inverse relationship between Californians’ top priorities and many of the ideas championed by lawmakers in Sacramento.

Among the survey’s economic findings:

  • 1 in 5 Californians see their family’s finances improving in the next six months, while 70% do not
  • 2 out of 3 Californians predicted their state tax rates will increase this year, while 1% predicted a decrease
  • Only 1 in 7 Californians are “very confident” they can afford both higher taxes and other pocketbooks expenses

On the policy front:

  • Asked to list their top priorities, Californians gave top billing to strengthening the economy, improving the job situation and balancing the state’s budget
  • Respondents’ bottom-three priorities: dealing with global warming, strengthening gun laws, continuing the state’s high-speed rail

Finally, on the political front:

  • Gov. Jerry Brown received a 33% job approval rating (37% disapproved, 30% had no opinion)
  • 1 in 4 Californians believe Brown deserves reelection, should he seek it this fall, while 44% would like to see a new governor
  • California’s State Legislature received a 21% job approval rating (49% disapproved, 31% had no opinion)
  • Despite media reports depicting harmony under the State Capitol Dome, only 1 in 4 Californians see their state’s government as an export-worthy model

Carson Bruno, a Hoover research fellow and member of the Golden State Poll research team, has written this analysis of the survey for Hoover’s online journal, Defining Ideas.

Lanhee Chen, also a Hoover research fellow and Golden State Poll researcher, has penned this Bloomberg column detailing how Californians’ lack of economic enthusiasm could spell political trouble for Gov. Brown.

And Hoover research fellow and Golden State Poll researcher, Bill Whalen, penned this Sacramento Bee column noting among things the oddity of Brown’s twin embrace of the popular (fiscal restraint) and politically toxic (high-speed rail).

If you want to examine the survey in its entirety, please click here (to see September’s inaugural survey click here).

We hope it offers some insight into the ongoing mystery that is California.



Tim Kane writes at Fox News:

“A curious case of generational timing can be observed in the fact that major changes to U.S. immigration policy occur once every two and half decades. It has been 27 years since the last generational shift, and other signs indicate that 2014 is likely to the “Year of Immigration Reform. Barack Obama in 2014, like Ronald Reagan in 1986, is in the sixth year of his presidency, likewise re-elected but wounded and looking for ways to cement his legacy.”

Read the rest here.


Hoover Research Fellow Lanhee Chen writes at Bloomberg:

“In my view, Republicans are therefore left with two alternatives: passing nothing at all, or embracing a complete set of reforms that addresses the legal status of those who came to the U.S. illegally. Between these two, Republicans should embrace comprehensive reform. It’s good policy and good politics.

“That entails a significant shift in direction. The Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform legislation last summer, and the bill has subsequently languished in the House, where its prospects are grim at best. Now, with President Obama’s approval ratings in the tank because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s horrific rollout and congressional Democrats desperate for a win going into 2014, there is newfound interest in trying to jumpstart the stalled effort for immigration reform.”

Click here to read the rest.

Time to Regroup on Immigration Reform


Immigration reform, it seems, will be put off until next year, giving proponents the opportunity to regroup and retool their efforts at passing legislation. One major issue that pundits and lobbyists will spend more time on will be figuring out whom they can persuade among House Republicans, especially on the legalization and amnesty issues.

Despite the stalled legislation, broad support for immigration reform remains among many different groups, many of which are now focused on the House GOP. The AFL-CIO took out ads criticizing the House for not moving forward; a high-powered group of CEOs rallied to show support for some legislation to be passed; and a handful of conservative groups are pushing for the House to put forward its own version of reform.

Democrats and Republicans are keeping an eye on the 2014 elections in which immigration reform is expected to be a major factor, whether passed or not. Republicans, if assigned the blame for failing to pass any form of legislation, could face the wrath of voters.

Meanwhile, two new reports support proponents of legislation. Two economists, in an NBER Working Paper on the local labor market effect of immigrant workers, found that low-skilled Mexican-born immigrant workers in a region significantly soften the blow from a recession or low economic growth. Because they are mobile, immigrant workers move during poor economic times, freeing up opportunities and pushing up the wages of locals.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s report  showed the positive impact on growth, the budget, and housing prices that would occur were immigration reform put into place. The report also notes that, under almost any approach to immigration reform, changing our current system will benefit the economy.


Now that a deal has been reached on the debt ceiling, immigration reform could come back to the front of the legislative line. In an interview with Univision last week, President Obama said immigration reform would go back on the agenda. (White House press secretary Jay Carney later clarified that President Obama meant that he would continue the effort that has been under way for most of the year.)

The House GOP is split on taking up reform again. Representative Labrador (R-ID) indicated reform wouldn’t happen until next year. Much of the GOP is skeptical that there are any good-faith negotiations to be had after the debt ceiling fight. Senator Rubio (R-FL) blamed President Obama for creating an unfriendly negotiating environment. But some see Representative Cantor (R-VA) introducing the KIDS Act that would legalize so-called DREAMers; Democrats would then be hard-pressed not to pass the act or bring it to conference in the Senate. Either way, many identify the GOP as the group that can break the impasse.

The interest in immigration reform is still there. Representative Gutierrez (D-IL) urged the president to reach out to Speaker Boehner and thus set the stage for an agreement. In addition, hundreds of GOP supporters are expected in Washington, DC, at the end of the month to pressure members into passing some sort of immigration reform.


Research Fellow Lanhee Chen writes in his Bloomberg column:

…there may be an opportunity for Republicans in particular to connect with Hispanic voters in California. Although we found a lack of economic confidence across the board, the poll results were especially pronounced among Hispanics. On paper, California Republicans have the right economic message to appeal to Hispanics, particularly those in parts of the state still suffering from unemployment rates as high as at the peak of the recession.

Unfortunately, continued inaction on immigration reform in Washington blocks Republicans’ ability to communicate on pocketbook issues. We know this because during last year’s presidential campaign, Republican nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney had an economic message that should have appealed to Latinos, who faced significantly higher unemployment rates than whites during President Barack Obama’s first term in office.

Click here to read more.