Steel is Director California Club for Growth, the immediate
past president of the California Republican Party, activist,
commentator, conservative stalwart and a
co-founder of the Davis Recall. He is an attorney
practicing in Palos Verdes, California.
At Home And Abroad
Challenging the status quo…
[Tony Strickland & Shawn Steel] 2/14/05
With the world's sixth largest economy, California has long
served as the bellwether for national economic success. When
California struggles, our whole nation suffers. Simply put, our
nation cannot achieve a complete economic recovery until California's
That is why we have
organized the California Club for Growth. The California Club
for Growth is a supply-side economic group
committed to economic growth through limited government and lower
taxes. Modeled after the national Club for Growth, we firmly
believe that we cannot tax our way to an economic recovery. With
Ronald Reagan's favorite economist, Art Laffer, serving as chairman,
we are working hard to make sure that California government turns
toward economic expansion. We do not engage on topics concerning
social or moral issues. We focus on economic freedom, but we
frame that focus in Reaganesque terms of liberty, opportunity
and taming the government "monster."
To achieve our goal, the California Club for Growth's political-action
committee has an aggressive strategy to recruit, promote and
elect leaders who believe that economic success requires lower
taxes. Our primary method for success is by bundling small political
contributions into meaningful support. Several years ago, the
political activists at EMILY's List (Early Money Is Like Yeast)
realized the power of bundling small contributions expressly
for Democratic women. Instead of having one political action
committee make a single contribution to a campaign, they asked
their members to support candidates with their seal of approval.
By bundling contributions, EMILY's List was able to elect its
slate of candidates. A brilliant concept, of course, EMILY's
List is a huge factor in the Democratic Party.
The Club for Growth works the same way. We interview candidates
for state offices, research their background and economic philosophy.
Once we select our candidates, we ask our members to provide
maximum financial support. With a membership base of more than
a thousand, one recommendation from the California Club for Growth
can make any candidate viable. (By comparison, National Club
for Growth raised more than $20 million in 2004 and elected numerous
U.S. representatives and two senators.)
Because we are nonpartisan, we can maximize our impact by endorsing
candidates in the primary election. Republicans and Democrats
in the California Legislature should know that no party label
or incumbency status will protect them. The California Club for
Growth is watching. When politicians (particularly Republicans)
raise taxes, the club will work to remove them from office.
Our organization also does not stop with the election of Club
for Growth candidates. In order to ensure that our candidates
continue to support sound economic policies, we track legislation,
publish scorecards and update our members on important votes
before the Legislature.
We are joining
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's reform movement by promoting initiatives
directly to voters, avoiding politicians
in Sacramento. It's a huge gamble. In support of the governor's
agenda, the California Club for Growth has filed two initiatives
to help him substantially redesign California's economic climate:
- Our first
initiative, Fair Competition and Taxpayers Savings Act, would
allow local governments to contract with private companies
if the goods or services can be provided cheaper. In his last
year, Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation prohibiting local governments
from contracting out services to California vendors. This limits
competition and is unfair. This initiative will save taxpayers
millions of dollars a year, simply by offering choice and competition.
- We also are
proponents of the Merit Pay Initiative that would give economic
incentives for hard-working and capable teachers.
It is entirely possible that Schwarzenegger will hit a home
run, winning with a number of initiatives this fall. To escape
the economic recession of the early 1980s, President Ronald Reagan
adopted aggressive supply-side economic policies. They helped
produce one of the greatest economic expansions in history. Like
Reagan, the governor also realizes that limiting government and
lowering taxes is a proven formula for economic success.
This is a struggle that California Club for Growth is happy
to join. CRO
Former Assemblyman Tony Strickland is president of the California
Club for Growth Shawn
Steel is Director California Club for Growth, a co-founder
of the Davis recall campaign and immediate past chairman
of the California Republican Party.
2005 Shawn Steel