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.


The statistics tell us that California is in the midst of an economic recovery – albeit, uneven growth that mirrors what’s happening at the national level.

In its third quarterly report of 2013, released earlier this month, the UCLA Anderson Forecast predicts that the Golden State’s payroll job growth will rise by 1.7% in 2013, 1.9% in 2014 and 2.2% in 2015. The state’s unemployment rate will average 8.9% this year, then drop to 7.9% in 2014 and 6.9% by 2015 (U.S. unemployment fell to 7.3% in August).

The question is: how do these numbers translate with Californians who’ve had to endure the state’s worst recession in over 75 years? Are they feeling better, worse, or just hanging in there?

Between August 27 and September 5, Hoover’s Golden State Poll (a joint collaboration of the Hoover Institution and the research firm YouGov) surveyed 1,000 Californians on their confidence in California’s recovery – their job security and pocketbook choices (last October, a Hoover/YouGov survey sampled Californians’ attitudes toward state government and policy choices in Sacramento).

Among the findings:

Twice as many Californians reported being worse-off financially (33%) than better off (17%) over the last yearThat’s in line with what the Hoover Golden State Poll found last fall, when 34% of Californians said they were worse off financially than a year ago and 19% said they were better off.

Among survey respondents who are currently employed, more than half (55%) said they weren’t confident in their ability to find another job in California within 6 months that pays as much as they are making now.

We also took the public’s pulse on several controversial topics with regard to energy and the environment: climate change, fracking (Gov. Brown having just given the go-ahead to do so in California by signing SB 4 last Friday) and gasoline prices.

Among the findings:

When asked to consider both the economic benefits and the potential environmental harms of fracking, Californians were of three distinct minds: 38% positive, 40% negative and 22% not yet sure.

42% of surveyed Californians would like state revenues generated by AB 32 to be refunded to taxpayers. That’s more than six times the percentage that chose high-speed rail (7%), and roughly twice the percentage that would like to see the money directed to energy efficiency/renewable energy tech (18%) or state general expenditures such as education or health care (18%).

For a more detailed explanation of the survey’s results, click here for this Defining Ideas analysis by Hoover research fellow Carson Bruno, who studies California public policy, and Jeremy Carl, a research fellow and a member of Hoover’s Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy.

As for the survey itself, click here (PDF) if you want to examine the data.


In The News: Still Hope For Immigration Reform


Although immigration reform is currently at the back of the line, there is still hope for reform. Worries about opposition groups putting heat on House Republicans during the August recess turned out to be misguided. Republicans faced much less pressure than expected, but instead of leveraging that lack of opposition into legislative movement, the House has allowed Syria and other issues to derail the previous momentum.

Luckily, the public hasn’t forgotten completely about immigration. Business leaders and advocacy groups noticing the congressional lull have begun reviving legislative interest among members of Congress. State congressmen have been contacting their national counterparts, urging them to move on with more bills in the House of Representatives.

Republicans aren’t the only ones being pressured to act. President Obama put a lot of political capital into passing reform; failing to pass such reform would reap disfavor from the Hispanic community and traditional liberal groups such as the AFL-CIO and would strike many as yet another failure to pass legislation he favored. Although not all voters may agree with his policies, the president’s inability to pass gun legislation in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre and his indecisiveness concerning Syria are doing nothing to change his image as one who “leads from behind.”

Now that the Syrian situation seems to be at a tentative stopping point, both the president and Congress have the incentive to return to immigration reform. House Republicans have been hearing much less anti-immigration feedback than they were expecting; they’re also hearing positive support for reform. President Obama thus has a vested interest in passing something (perhaps by October) so as to be able to point to one legislative success after months of turmoil; if the president isn’t able to pass immigration reform legislation, the states may take matters into their own hands.

We should know within the next three to four weeks whether reform will be shelved completely or brought back into the discussion. Renewed pressure from business leaders, advocacy groups, and constituents is making members of Congress reevaluate letting the chance for reform pass by. More attention in the media and across op-ed pages can revive the legislation and convince Congress that it is worth taking up immigration reform again.


Immigration seems to be out of the limelight until President Obama and Congress come to a decision on limited military action in Syria.

The biggest test over the August break was whether activists would put enough pressure on their congressmen to make them rethink supporting some form of immigration reform. Several news reports indicate very little pressure occurred.

That said, at this point it looks like the one thing that could stop immigration reform in its tracks is time. Sen. John McCain fears that if legislation doesn’t continue in the next few weeks, then any chances of reform will be lost. Rep. Mari Diaz-Balart predicts the same fate.

Pressure on Rep. Paul Ryan from constituents and Tea Party activists seems to have fallen to a manageable level, but Speaker Boehner faces a different kind of challenge over immigration reform. Senator Rand Paul hinted that Boehner’s speakership might rest on how he addresses immigration reform.

Back in March, many initially thought would be through both houses in June. Now, an October vote beckons. Business leaders and immigration activists are doing what they can to move the process along from the outside. One argument likely to see more traction this fall is over immigration’s budget impact. Since congress is heading into another debt ceiling fight, any bill that is deficit reducing could garner much needed support.



The prospects for a bipartisan immigration bill in the House of Representatives took a turn for the worst when House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte was reported as “flatly opposing” a path to citizenship, even for so-called DREAMers. However, it still appears as though Chairman Goodlatte will continue to push piecemeal legislation through the House when Congress returns from the August recess. If legislation moves along that path, the Senate will have the opportunity to negotiate with the House as early as this fall.

Meanwhile, the August recess town hall meetings members are conducting are less intense than expected. Activists, for and against, the bill are using the meetings in order make themselves heard. Thus far the pressure hasn’t been reported enough to make House Republicans who were initially supportive of immigration reform back off from their efforts. Some studies are even bolstering support for immigration reform on the grounds of economic stimulus, both low-skilled and high-skilled.

Both sides of the aisle continue to push their agendas and measure public support. Democratic Representative Luis Gutierrez claims enough votes to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the House, if only it were put to a vote. And Republicans have a big conference call coming up where members will relay what they’ve heard from their constituents over the break.


In The News: August Recess Update







The House and the Senate are in recess until Wednesday, September 9th. The Senate passed its version of the bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act on June 27 by a 68-32 vote. Many Republicans voted for the bill with the caveat that their vote was preliminary in order to move the process along, and that they would revisit the legislation when it inevitably came back to the Senate.

The House began immigration proceedings soon after, but did not complete its work before the summer recess. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte wavered between packing the House’s version of immigration into a comprehensive bill and splitting up the bills to consider and pass them in a piecemeal fashion.

Two weeks ago, news leaked that Chairman Goodlatte had put together an “immigration resource kit” for GOP members of the House that contained briefings on the various parts of immigration reform and seemed to confirm his decision to take a piecemeal approach. Confirming what many had predicted about the House’s approach, it preferred border security before any sort of legalization or pathway to citizenship and was receptive to high-skilled immigration reform and some version of the DREAM Act.

So far, five bills have been passed out of the House Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees concerning border security, interior enforcement, agricultural workers, high-skilled visas, and E-Verify requirements. Only the border security bill had some semblance of bipartisan support.

The August recess that members are on now will partly determine whether the House will continue its immigration efforts. Activists on both sides are planning to lobby members during town hall meetings. When members come back in September, other legislative issues stand in their way, including another debt-ceiling fight. Prospects for reform looked better when the estimated timetable for completion was before the August recess: we should know by late September whether immigration reform is likely to continue.

Many thought that by taking a piecemeal approach, the House had doomed immigration reform by rejecting the Senate’s comprehensive bill. Senator Chuck Schumer, leader of the Senate Gang of Eight, has publicly stated that is not the case. If the House passes a series of bills that address all the issues included in comprehensive reform, then the Senate and the House will have common ground to work with during conference committee.

One main challenge ahead is the treatment of the eleven million undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States. The Senate bill gave them a pathway to citizenship in the form of a thirteen-year wait through a Registered Provisional Status. The House looks like it will delay any form of legalization until two things happen: first, the border must be “secure” by whatever definition they agree on; second, all noncitizens currently in line for permanent resident status obtain their green cards before any currently undocumented immigrants do so.

Our own Lanhee Chen has written a column summarizing where things stand today.



Former Secretary of State and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Condoleezza Rice released a report and an op-ed today in conjunction with the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Task Force on Immigration, where she is a co-chair. Her op-ed, titled “The way forward on immigration” was co-written with the co-chairs of the BPC’s immigration task force, Henry Cisneros, Ed Rendell, and Haley Barbour. The BPC also released a statement titled “Room for Consensus.”

She writes: “As the debate continues, we must avoid making the perfect the enemy of the good: Our current system is fundamentally flawed and broken. If we can focus on where there is agreement and then work conscientiously to narrow our differences, then real and durable reform is possible.”

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 1.21.52 PM

Edward Lazear, Hoover Institution Senior Fellow and Chairman of the Conte Initiative on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, appeared  on BloombergTV about the Senate immigration bill and the priorities he would like the see the House address when it considers the legislation. Click here to watch the interview.



Hoover Senior Fellow Edward Lazear writes in the Wall Street Journal about the point system in the Senate immigration bill and how the House can fix and improve the bill:



“Compared with the system in place now, the Senate’s immigration reform is a big improvement. But the bill has flaws that make it less likely that the people with the most to contribute to U.S. society can get here legally. Still, the flaws can be fixed by the House.”



Click here to read more.


Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Gary Becker weighs in on the Senate immigration bill:

Gary Becker

“The Senate immigration bill before the House of Representatives is the most thorough overhaul of the approach to illegal immigrants in a long time. That is a major step mainly in the right direction. The bill also expands the number of skilled immigrants who can enter if they have enough ‘points’ in a new merit-based system for admitting 250,000 immigrants annually. Although the bill on the whole should be applauded, it misses the opportunity to truly ease the entry of legal immigrants.” 


Click here to read more.