As is customary on New Year’s Eve, many are looking back today, compiling their lists of winners and losers and memorable moments from 2018.
The PRI “All Stars” (Rowena Itchon, Kerry Jackson, Lance Izumi, Ben Smithwick, and myself) have also gotten in on the act. This week’s episode of PRI’s “Next Round” podcast (subscribe in iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn, or YouTube to listen each week) features our annual year-end awards.
Our awards, which span many categories, are presented in the style of the annual “McLaughlin Group” year-end awards, a tradition now carried on by our friend and past PRI podcast guest Tom Rogan of the Washington Examiner. Here’s a few of our highlights.
Biggest Winner of 2018
Rowena Itchon’s big winner of 2018 were California’s public sector workers. In the aftermath of the historic Janus ruling in June, public employees in the Golden State now no longer have to pay union dues, and they retain their First Amendment rights.
Biggest Loser of 2018
For Ben Smithwick, the big loser of 2018 was California taxpayers. He notes that the effort to repeal California’s controversial gas tax increase failed at the ballot box in November, while the Trump tax reform legislation provision limiting the state and local tax deduction is hurting some homeowners. Meanwhile, an effort to gut Proposition 13’s taxpayer protections with a split-roll property tax scheme will be voted on in 2020.
Best Idea of 2018
Lance Izumi’s best idea of the year is a proposal by the Trump Administration to combine the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor. In a column he wrote on the proposal, Izumi notes that the proposal could better focus education policy on workforce development, while eliminating duplicative bureaucracy and cutting unnecessary spending.
Worst Idea of 2018
Among Kerry Jackson’s selections for the 3 worst ideas of the year (you’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear the other 2) is San Francisco’s Proposition C, which imposes a new tax on employers to fund homeless services. He argues that this self-defeating tax increase will result in more, rather than fewer, homeless people in The City due to the decreased economic activity that will result from a less competitive tax burden for employers.
Free-Marketeer of the Year
In choosing my “free-marketeer” of the year, I stayed close to home in honoring our senior fellow in business and economics, Wayne Winegarden. Wayne’s research and analysis on government electric car subsidies exposed the fact that only the wealthy are benefitting from them, and made national news this year as some in Congress pushed to eliminate these giveaways to the wealthy.
From all of us at the Pacific Research Institute, we wish you a Happy New Year!
Tim Anaya is the Pacific Research Institute’s communications director.