What can Brown do for you?
October 13, 2011
Here are some highlights from Gov. Jerry Brown's appearance at the State of the State Conference:

• California can't go on investing more in prisons than in higher education. Brown believes his realignment program, which will shift 35,000 nonviolent offenders from state prisons to less expensive local jails, will start to shift the balance of spending.

• Brown is chafing at what he believes to be excessive federal regulation of education. "You can't micromanage education from D.C.," he said. He also urged Californians to be realistic about the choices we face. "You can't keep starving schools and expecting miracles."

• Brown pledged to undertake sweeping regulatory reform to clear out rules that seem to be onerous and impeded job growth. "You don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water," he said. But California's regulatory morass is a "multi-headed monster." Getting rid of outdated or excessive regulation often entails a fight, though. When you find a regulation that needs to go, "it's like killing a vampire. You've gotta put a stake through its heart."

• The governor believes America is at risk of stagnating as an aging society. We have to think about the global competition we face.

• Politics thrives on fear, Brown said. Fear of crime led to our overinvestment in prisons. Now fear of terrorism has caused us to become a more closed society. Immigration restrictions that prevent the best scientific and skilled talent from coming here are part of the unintended consequences wrought by that fear.

• There's no avoiding pension reform, Brown said, announcing that he will be making concrete proposals soon. Increased longevity and lower-than-expected rates of return mean we have to act now to deliver on the promises we've made and get the system on sounder footing. "I won't take my pension till I solve the pension problem," he said. Noting that he's not currently drawing a pension from his many years of government service, he declared himself "a pretty good pension buy."

• The political culture has to change and the fingerpointing has to stop. "We need people to get out of their comfort zones and collaborate with people they may not agree with."

Don't miss the video for some blunt talk, inspiration and even a moonbeam reference.


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