California Dreaming

The Golden State is looking increasingly leaden.

Beginning in 1990, the Manhattan Institute’s estimable quarterly City Journalhelped restore safety and order to Dinkins-era New York. Many had given up on the Big Apple—recall its hopeless depiction in Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987)—but under editor Myron Magnet, CJ doggedly contended that the city’s chaos and decay were simply the result of bad policies and were therefore reversible. CJ was right, as mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, whose policies led to a renaissance of prosperity and urban civility in the city, subsequently demonstrated.

Brian C. Anderson (CJ’s current editor) notes in his introduction to The Beholden State that the transformation of New York in the 1990s “was one of the great public-policy successes in history.” In recent years, CJ has undertaken a similar rescue project for the state of California, publishing a series of detailed articles exploring the policy failures of the once-Golden State.  Whether California, too, can be saved remains to be seen.

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