SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — This week on In Depth, KCBS’ hosts Doug Sovern and Ed Cavagnaro speak with Neel Kashkari, the Republican candidate for governor of California who says that his opponent, Gov. Jerry Brown, does not deserve the credit for reviving the state’s economy.
Kashkari, who served as the assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury under President George W. Bush, oversaw the Troubled Asset Relief Program and said that as one of the architects of the bank bailout that stabilized the economy in late 2008, he deserves far more credit than Brown for turning things around. In fact, Kashkari claims, the governor has done a terrible job, as steward of the state.
Asked if California’s economy is better off than it was four years ago, Kashkari conceded that it was, but said that it was due to the rest of the nation bouncing back—not Brown’s leadership.
“Frankly, I have more to do with stabilizing the American economy than Gov. Brown did. Let’s be honest. And he raised taxes last year and stock market went up and so now he’s celebrating this so-called surplus. If the stock market goes down year, the surplus is going to be gone.”
Kashari said that while TARP may not have been popular—with conservative Republicans especially—it prevented a depression and has even turned a profit for the American people. Now, he says, he’s the man to send to Sacramento, to cure what is ailing California.
“Look at where we are: near the bottom in jobs, near the bottom in education, number one in poverty, crime is climbing all around the state—and it is directly tied to his prisoner-release program, we’ve got a terrible drought that we’re unprepared for and now he’s funding crazy train by raising gas prices,” he said.
“I know Gov. Brown is not going to want to debate me. If that were my legacy, I would not want to debate me either.”
Kashkari understands it will be a long shot to unseat the popular governor, and unless he makes the race competitive soon, he will not attract the financial support he needs to do it. But he insists he can do it and he plans to make the economy the centerpiece of his campaign.
LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE KCBS IN DEPTH INTERVIEW: