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Making it Easier to Reach LAX

Kevin Klowden
Managing Economist at the Milken Institute and Director of its California Center

On Thursday, June 26th, the Los Angeles Metro Board of Directors committed the agency to building an intermodal light rail, bus and tramway station to actually serve Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). This is a significant development for Los Angeles, for a number of reasons. It not only affects quality of life issues for the […]

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Fractured California – a New Opportunity

Kevin Klowden
Managing Economist at the Milken Institute and Director of its California Center

California is on the verge of a major political opportunity – if only the state can seize it. With Kevin McCarthy’s election to Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, California now has both the majority and minority caucus leaders in the House of Representatives coming from the same state: McCarthy from Bakersfield in the […]

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Stockton’s Trend-Setting Bankruptcy

Kevin Klowden
Managing Economist at the Milken Institute and Director of its California Center

Ever since the city of Stockton issued bonds as a means of paying off its pension debt in 2007, it has been in a slow, steady march to the expected city bankruptcy that was approved, fittingly on April Fool’s Day, 2013. The irony of the declaration is that the U.S. Bankruptcy Judge who is overseeing […]

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Losing Our Share of the Pi

Kevin Klowden
Managing Economist at the Milken Institute and Director of its California Center

The recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy announcement by Rhythm and Hues Studios occurred on the eve of an Oscars they not only won an Academy Award in Best Visual Effects for their visually stunning work in the film “Life of Pi,” but also helped to facilitate wins for Best Cinematography and Best Director.  At the same […]

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Does the Lone Star State have California Beat?

Kevin Klowden
Managing Economist at the Milken Institute and Director of its California Center

As Texas Governor Rick Perry stumps around California attempting to recruit businesses to the Lone Star State, he brings an underlying message: Texas is better for business than California. When we look at these two powerhouse state economies, both with significant oil and gas resources and strong economic drivers, we see some marked differences. The […]

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Are there Other Stocktons Out there?

Kevin Klowden
Managing Economist at the Milken Institute and Director of its California Center

Originally posted on the Milken Institute Currency of Ideas blog The decision of Stockton, Calif. to consider bankruptcy has had ramifications throughout the state. The city’s relative size of nearly 300,000 people and significant deficit that could reach as much as $38 million by next year raise significant concerns about the financial health of cities […]

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Want more jobs? Open wallets for small businesses

Kevin Klowden
Managing Economist at the Milken Institute and Director of its California Center

Over the past few weeks, the Obama administration has
been touting initiatives in the Small Business Jobs Act,
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and other legislation passed in
2009 and 2010 as a sign that it is pro-business, and in particular, pro-small
business.

Here at the Milken Institute, we’ve repeatedly noted
that small business is an essential component of any economic recovery. From
the first quarter of 2008 to the second quarter of 2009, businesses with 50 or
fewer employees shed a staggering 2.9 million jobs. While small businesses are hiring
again, they are not doing so at a rate nearly fast enough to reach their
pre-recession level any time soon. Still, while White House efforts in this
area have been solid, the single greatest remaining concern among small
businesses persists: the lack of access to credit.

The issue of credit for small business is not simply a
matter of business as usual; it’s actually a key impediment to hiring. During
the financial realignment that took place during the Great Recession, small
businesses saw significant constraints placed on two of their most important
means of accessing revolving credit: credit cards and real estate equity. While
the equity issue is a direct consequence of the collapse of the housing bubble,
the slashing of credit lines attached to business credit cards has had a more
profound impact.

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Losing Our Base: Why Film Flight is Important to All Californians

Kevin Klowden
Managing Economist at the Milken Institute and Director of its California Center

There are very few industries in California that not only drive the
state’s economy but make up a seminal part of its identity. The
entertainment business fits that bill-and from an economic standpoint,
the most significant part of the industry is production, whether the
medium is feature films, television or commercials.

But California’s employment base in film production has been eroding
for more than a decade. Between 1997 and 2008, the state lost more than
10,000 direct jobs in the industry and 25,000 more indirect jobs; all
told, that’s a loss of $2.4 billion in wages and $4.2 billion in real
output.

Although these losses pale in comparison to California’s overall
unemployment numbers, they’re still significant because they represent
an ongoing structural erosion, not just collateral damage from the
recession. And the losses haven’t been limited to Los Angeles.
California has also been bleeding post-production jobs in specialties
such as special effects and animation, trends that have had a big
impact in Silicon Valley and other parts of Northern California.

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A Highway To Historic Tourism

Kevin Klowden
Managing Economist at the Milken Institute and Director of its California Center

Policymakers should get hip to this timely tip: Investing in Route 66 could create jobs and tourism from Chicago to L.A.

One of the great job creation ideas included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was to make a significant investment in infrastructure – whether it was in roads, bridges, waterways or alternative energy. However, most of the funded projects involve repairing existing structures or building elaborate new ones.

But there’s a low-cost alternative that could create jobs, help relieve several overburdened highways and increase tourism: Revive Route 66.

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The U.S. Space Program: Looking for the Right Stuff

Kevin Klowden
Managing Economist at the Milken Institute and Director of its California Center

On April 15, after two months of speculation, President Obama gave a
speech at the Kennedy Space Center outlining his new ambitious plans
for NASA and the American space program.

It’s a bold plan with a number of positives, not only nationally, but
in particular for the state of California. Its emphasis on unmanned
missions and private rocketry contractors can only help the state,
which is home to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Ames Research
Center, plus contractors such as Space X and Scaled Composites.

However, the long-term risks for California under this plan threaten to
undermine any true benefits the state might see. There are two
significant factors that raise concern: the shifting of risk from the
public to the private sector, and the continued failure of the
government to establish clear, achievable goals for the manned space
program. One of these two factors will invariably cause a future crisis
for our space program, but the other may have more profound impacts on
our overall competitiveness, both in aerospace and in other scientific
sectors.

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