Silicon Valley: Richest Region in America Can, Must Do Better

A new article in Forbes describes San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale as the richest region in America. And yet, our poverty rate is too high and our education successes are too low. We have the capacity to change it.

The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area’s median household income of $96,481 is the highest in the United States. The typical area household earns $42,000 more than the typical American household.

As in many of the nation’s wealthiest areas, the poverty rate in San Jose is well below average. Just 8.7 percent of the city’s population lives below the poverty line, much lower than the national poverty rate of 15.5 percent.

In San Jose, 47.5 percent of adults have at least a bachelor's degree, well above the comparable national rate of 30.1 percent. Nationwide, 5.3 percent of households earn $200,000 or more each year. In San Jose, 18.2 percent of households earn that much, the second highest share of any metro area in the country.

But things could not only be better here; we have the power to set a path for other regions to follow.

Liberals such as Bernie Sanders and Robert Reich have the correct analysis: The gap between rich and poor is too great. Technology has changed the economy and manufacturing jobs are leaving. The middle class has diminished—57 percent of Americans don’t have a net worth—and the economy cannot be sustained with all of the gains in growth going to the top 2 percent.

Reich and Sanders argue that we should return manufacturing jobs to the US, tax the wealthy, provide educational opportunity for free and reenergize the middle class. However, the solution is not to go back to the old economy.

There must be some and incentive for businesses to help achieve the above-mentioned goals. Technology competes with labor, making many jobs obsolete and allowing global competition from those who are willing to do more for less. The labor “market” has always been problematic. Someone will usually do a job for less pay than the currently employed. That’s just a fact. Labor wages are artificially set by business. A corporate executive makes millions—sometimes billions—by laying off workers and reducing costs to receive a higher profit.

Could the Board of Directors at HP find someone to ruin the company for half the salary Carly Fiorina charged? Of course they could, but the club demands a higher salary.

Could Walmart pay their employees more and still make obscene profits? Of course they could, but Walmart would argue it pays its employees “market” wages. Whose market? Their market.

Tim Cook recently defended the $185 billion Apple parked offshore because of a 35 percent tax rate to repatriate the money and the complicated tax structure of the United States. He is correct. There should be a lower rate to repatriate the money and the U.S. tax code should be simplified.

But repatriating Apple’s money would still allow them to keep more than $116 billion while also bringing our deficit down. It would be a patriotic act. If all companies did the same, it would erase our national deficit and we could give everyone a tax break in the future.

The real point here is our region, Silicon Valley, can make monumental changes. We can end homelessness. We can change the way the economy runs. We can innovate and provide a new economic model for the rest of the world.

Sweden recently cut their work hours back to six hours a day. That would be heresy here, but it makes sense as we move forward in the new economy. Technology has replaced jobs, making our lives easier. People should benefit from those advances. Moreover, this would create more jobs and allow more people to benefit from the economy. The key is not to cut revenue from those who labor less.

We live in a consumer economy. Companies benefit when people take home disposable income, but clearly the market is shrinking. Not from demand, but from lack of liquidity in the market. Fewer and fewer people are able to afford products. The use of credit has allowed companies to grow and consumers to purchase, but eventually it is a losing model—as there becomes a tipping point when the consumer, shackled with debt, can no longer pay. Student debt, mortgage debt and credit card debt are what sustain our economy. This needs to change.

Further, we have the ability and models to end homelessness. The old liberal way of giving people money does not work. The conservative horse manure that you make everyone work also does not work. But there is an answer. Phillip Mangano, a George W. Bush Administration appointee, has the answer.

It is a combination of getting people into housing and providing services. Not offering a shelter, but giving them a key to a real home and providing the real services they need. Housing and homeless advocates understand the model and are implementing it. They need resources.

Mangano shows that using resources in this manner saves taxpayers money. Most of the emergency services that are used in this country go to the small minority of people who are truly homeless and helpless. Redirecting resources to provide them housing and services would come at a fraction of the cost we currently provide this population for emergency responses. That’s a fact.

Silicon Valley is rich enough to end homelessness. We simply need the will to implement what we already know.

Education must also change. Robert Caveney has a program that addresses education for the 21st century. We still use a 19tht century model to teach our children. Technology changes too fast for the system to keep up, but we must teach our children how to think, not simply recite or learn in the same fashion prior generations were educated. We can’t continue to put our kids through a system that is antiquated for our times.

The Caveney system, which I’ve previously written about, is a simple change from treating our kids like cogs in a wheel to understanding each has an individual capacity and all learn at a different rate. It is a system that empowers children to learn creatively and teach themselves. They advance only when they have mastered the skills, each at their own rate.

Finally, Silicon Valley is home to world leaders in innovation. From technology and education to government and human development. The late John Vasconcellos used to say that Silicon Valley leads the world in every human endeavor, including gender equity, diversity and human achievement.

The rest of the world looks to us for inspiration. For whom much is given, much is expected. We can rise to the challenge, as we are the richest area in the richest nation in the history of the earth.

We can do this.

Rich Robinson is an attorney and political consultant in Silicon Valley. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.


  1. Rich Robinson would eliminate the one factor that has created all this wealth: competition.

    This is just more ‘equality of results’ nonsense. That is a perversion of ‘Equal Opportunity’.

    When results are made equal, what’s the difference between that and communism/socialism?

    “To each according to his need”? History proves that just doesn’t work.

    Never has, never will. It just leads to mediocrity.

  2. “It [eliminating homelessness] is a combination of getting people into housing and providing services.” “Redirecting resources to provide them housing and services would come at a fraction of the cost we currently provide this population for emergency responses. That’s a fact.”

    Please cite fact-based studies. The article treats homeless as a homogeneous group – i.e., 1 size fits all solution. Doesn’t work that way in practice.

    The studies I’m aware of measured homeless “frequent flyers” i.e., those consuming a disproportionate percentage of emergency services as those unable or unwilling to provide proper self-care. Confinement to a “structured living environment” seemed the only effective treatment.

    One first step could be triage. Reinstate SLEs (aka poor farms) and use savings to fund housing and services to those capable of self-sufficiency.

  3. You should stick to trying to fool voters into voting for whatever candidate you’re being paid to push. Everyone works fewer hours for the same pay…brilliant! There’s no way that could ever have a negative effect on productivity. You’re also so smart that you know how to end homelessness…just give everyone a home! Sometimes the best solutions are the most obvious. It would best if the free homes you plan to provide to the drug addicts, parolees and sex registrants who are incapable of or not interested in pursuing employment are better than those which hard working people can afford. In that way, you’ll be able to encourage people to quit their low paying jobs so that they can also become eligible for these free benefits.

    • Then they can move. Like the wonderful citizens of San Jose told the Police and Fire Department people. They elected a group of morons, who in their infinite wisdom, reduced the pay and benefits of the very people responsible for safety infrastructure, emergency response and law enforcement. 75% of the Fire Department lives out of Santa Clara County! Some of them even live out of State!
      Now that the Silicon Valley Companies wont let the Corporate sheep telecommute anymore, there is some sort of uproar. Too bad, my sympathy button is broken, but the middle finger works fine.

  4. > A new article in Forbes describes San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale as the richest region in America.

    Progressives always fantasize that they are “rich” when they contemplate spending other people’s money.

    How come they never fantasize about how poor they REALLY are?

    Rich Robinson’s share of the U.S. National Debt: $57,200

    Rich Robinson’s per capita share of total U.S. debt: $203,500.

    Pay up, you deadbeat!

  5. Hey Rich,

    The Bay Area is experiencing a variation of a Diaspora. The rich, well-educated and talented (God bless them) are displacing Tens-of-thousands of the Great Unwashed (including illegal aliens). I have heard people like you who want to “share the wealth.” I reject this argument. I support “earn the wealth.” I also support the gentrification of San José.

    Since you want to “share the wealth,” would you please send me $100,000.00 per month (after you pay the taxes) for life? C’mon you can do it. Just tighten your belt, write a few more communist manifestos, pimp yourself to the next generation politicians-whatever it takes, just pay me.

    What government must do is to create “new towns” outside the Bay Area and or in other states so the poor, the down trodden and others will have some decent place to live. Government must also reinvent the Works Projects Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to employ the impoverished to better their lives and rebuild our nation.

    As to the gap between the rich and poor getting wider, this gap can’t get wide enough for me.

    Screw “share the wealth” communist based entitlement programs.

    David S. Wall

    • > Since you want to “share the wealth,” would you please send me $100,000.00 per month (after you pay the taxes) for life? C’mon you can do it. Just tighten your belt, . . .

      NOT SO FAST, Wall-E. Curb your enthusiasm.

      Rich will just increase the National debt by $100,000, and then expect you to vote for him.

      You’re just encouraging reckless anti-social behavior.

    • David Wall, did you just write that you are for displacing people, but then the government “must” create new towns for them so those people will have some decent place to live? If you don’t want governments helping people here, why would you advocate for government creating entire towns elsewhere? If in fact the government (local, state, or federal) used your taxes to “create an entire town” you would shoot off an angry letter or angry comment detailing why the government shouldn’t be spending your hard earned tax dollars to “create an entire town”. If you don’t want to spend money on poor people here, why on earth would you, of all people, argue the government should spend money creating entire towns for them? Are you softening your position on the government spending your money on displaced people?

      I just can’t figure you out. By the way, you seem so angry about everything. May I asked how you made your living in San Jose? You attend most San Jose City Council meetings and I have watched you so many times. You have many valid arguments, but most of your public comments seem to derive from a deep angry place. I just want to know your story. We all have a story that leads to our current views. What is your story? If you would care to share, many of us would like to hear it.

      I admire your commitment to the City of San Jose. Because you are obviously a long time homeowner, you might want to consider selling your home for a couple million bucks or more and leaving here and starting Wall Town. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. You could create a town. Many of us here that did go to school, got degrees, worked hard, saved, hold excellent jobs and still can’t make it here…we just might come and live in Wall Town and be happy to have you be our Mayor!

      Signed- A lifelong San Jose City Citizen that may have to move to Kentucky unless you start up Wall Town outside of the Bay Area.

  6. Well I’m officially in poverty now. I demand free housing, so I can rent it out to section 8 homeless people!

    I demand a 21st century education as I was taught the 19th century communist manifesto during the 20th century!
    I was taught power come’s from the end of a rifle.

    I wan’t to get to know how so many people in communist Russia, Cuba and China have become so wealthy redistributing the wealth they have created in the last 50 years.

    I want to know how flooding the country with illegal aliens that are doing jobs that Americans won’t do, giving them drivers license’s, and registering them to vote will help our kids get jobs to pay for there student loans.

    I want overtime pay back for the excess tax money the government took from my pay check back when I was working 60 hour weeks so I could afford to live in a crappy little house in San Jose and paying 11-14% interest rate during Jimmy Carters socialist revolution.

    Yes I demand Hillary, Obama, John Kerry, George Sorros, Bill Gates, Nancy and DiFi.
    Pay restitution, to the people, strip the wealth from these hypocrites.

    Show us the way Fidel, Mao, Chavez gives to the people, oh wait, never mind they kill people and take the money!

  7. If this person actually puts his money and work effort where his idealistic, blathering, rambling mouth is, he MIGHT have a particle of credibility. But ad hominem or not, he’s a POLITICAL CONSULTANT. He consults politicians on how to remain and improve their standing and CAREERS as POLITICIANS, which means he tells them how to spin positions and manage nuance so that they get more money from donors and more votes.

    And then they PAY HIM good money from their donors for this. His job is literally to produce BS.

    Now, if he were an actual capitalist making wealth here in the valley, who understands the struggle required to succeed in this competitive environment, then he might have something to say about changing models. But what really does he know about economic models? My guess is ZERO expertise in how global economies function.

    If you ask me, this is his free ad to further deepen his leads so he can get that call that says, hey I wanna run, help me win.

    Rich, come back to earth, among those of us who walk and live among the rich and poor. We just want fair, but know it ain’t always so. Oh well, we work harder and warn the next guy.

    Come up with solutions, Not lousy regional politician speeches.

  8. Conservatives who write comments on this blog need to read and listen before they jump to their stereotypical ad hominem attacks.

    First, providing housing and services cost you less than you are currently paying in taxes.

    Second, Philip Mangano is a conservative pushing these policies. . .a George W. Bush official.

    Third, how selfish can you be to not understand unbridled, absolutist capitalism does not work. If not for the socialist elements in our system including unemployment, welfare, medicare and social security–the economic system would have died a natural death years ago.

    Fourth, understanding the world economy is essential for my clients to succeed, especially in the Silicon Valley.

    A lot of angry people who live the best, richest place on earth. Find some time to think before you opine–or at least research before you spew McCarthy era garbage. Thank heavens the right is losing because there are some real ignorant people out there. . .let’s bring on Madam President Hillary Clinton and keep this country moving away the the dinosaurs who would drag us under.

    • > First, providing housing and services cost you less than you are currently paying in taxes.

      Conclusion: We’re paying too much in taxes.

      > Second, Philip Mangano is a conservative pushing these policies. . .a George W. Bush official.

      News bulletin: George W. Bush, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and the “Republican establishment” are are being rejected wholesale by authentic free market conservatives. If Phillip Mangano is advocating Republican establishment crony capitalist policies, he’s no conservative.

      > If not for the socialist elements in our system …

      “Socialism” is just primitive shamanic tribalism supported by foraging. “Socialism” doesn’t provide “unemployment, welfare, medicare and social security”. It merely teaches primitive people how to forage for these benefits among capitalist peoples.

      > Fourth, understanding the world economy is essential for my clients to succeed, especially in the Silicon Valley.

      Nonsense. Your clients merely need to understand how public grifting off of taxpayers can be accomplished. If your California High Speed Rail clients understood the world economy, they wouldn’t be conning people into building a $64 billion point to point choo choo train in an age of go anywhere self driving vehicles.

    • Mr. Rich Guy,

      Liberals who write thoughtless articles about economics, should take a class in economics.
      Put their money where there mouth is. Go build a house for some homeless people like Jimmy Carter does.

      Please show me some other socialist country that spends more money on poor people than this country.
      This country is so far in debt from reckless spending, there will be no end to the poverty the next generation will be facing.

      Don’t believe me go ahead elect that communist dinosaur, she and her friends have already dragged most of us under. The sooner this socialist government class that’s running Washington goes extinct the better off we all will be.

      • The Bernie Sanders platform is to emulate Europe, more specifically Scandinavian countries that have a MUCH higher quality of life index than the USA. Education, health care, security for senior and the unemployed etc. PERIOD! Yes, our national government spends more on health care than Canada, but wait, their system covers everyone and ours the poor and elderly, hmm, whats wrong here? Is it the “liberals”? Cuba has more inclusive health care than the USA, statistically. Lets face it, the American Dream is being sold in this valley to those coveted highly qualified scholars from Asia that we don’t have here to keep the valley as the center of the tech universe. After all, there are more scholars in India than the USA. Is that because the are harder working and smarter? Ha! The Asian H1B represent a fraction of a percent of the highest income families in there impoverished countries (per capita). So why waste taxes on student loans, scholarships, and public subsidies of our colleges when those coming from the 2 highest population countries can come here and pay full fare? California pays 12% of the UC Berkeley operating costs. These global companies will continue to close any chance for our government to receive any taxes on the billions of profits they have stashed overseas.

        On the micro side lets look at our downtown SJ policy. In the last 30 years there has not been single low income or senior housing project of any significance. But wait. Downtown is the County’s transit hub. Who would most benefit from this, living downtown? No way, it doesn’t fit the RDA/Tech model (Santa Row II) of a population of 1 dimensional people, tech professionals, This is segregation. Remember that in our history? We might as well have signs on buses and restaurants directing separate seating and restrooms for non-professionals.

        • The downtown former Plaza hotel is being converted into homeless housing, the downtown YWCA has housing for homeless women, downtwon’s Montgomery St shelter was rehabbed in past 30 years. CityTeam was paid to leave Julian St. with the idea that St. James park would become the urban gem it once was.

          It’s not clear to me that senior or homeless housing should be built on some of the area’s most valuable, yet high-crime real estate. Dumping homeless shelters into industrial areas far from transit or services (e.g., CityTeam) doesn’t seem sensible either.

          • I said downtown, 30 years. Paseo Plaza the 1st major condo development was early 1990’s. Since then sir, its 100% “luxury” housing. The YMCA goes back before my time frame. And, I was not talking about shelters! Housing, you know, where people have a life? Lets all just have a drink at The Continental and hope not too many of those “other” people will annoy us on the way to our condo/BMW

          • The Colonnade near SJSU is < 30 years old. Pretty sure some transitional housing has been built / announced in downtown too.

            Shifting the goal posts doesn't change your argument's specious underpinnings: low income downtown housing makes no sense. SJ has abundant land that's much much less expensive than downtown with better access to shopping and essential services.

          • PS, I was referring to LOW INCOME, not homeles. Low income means working, many hard working, some multiple jobs. Their contribution is to crime is less than the chronically unemployed.

        • Dear Mr. Skull,
          Hillary is trying to emulate France, Bernie is trying emulate Venezuela or North Korea, I can’t figure out if he want to shoot the opposition or put us all in reeducation camps. At least he is honest about his plan, not so with Hillary.

          Scandinavia doesn’t have 25 million illegal aliens grinding down it’s system millions more entering legally and and refugees that hate us, you just won’t believe the taxes they pay.

          Our heath system, Obama care the worst system money can buy. Yet Canadians that get really sick, jump in the car and head south with a wad of cash. Haven’t heard of any one yet that flew to Cuba for cancer treatment, and you sure don’t want to head go to Cuba for AIDS treatment.

          I’m elderly, and poor according to Mr. Rich Guy, yet my Obama care is $1670 a month, that’s our largest bill.
          Free health care my a$$. Keep my doctor he quit medicine and his assistant went to law school.

          Now lets talk about why we have to go to H1B India for Engineers. In India and education is a valuable way up the ladder of success. English is the official government language in India. This is the dream land for these people, and they compete to get here.

          In our schools English is a second language, in the USA that will get you a job as a janitor working for H1B engineers, it’s the new economy according to MR. Obama. Our schools produce kids that can’t find the USA on a map of the world. In our schools we don’t say the Pledge or fly our flag any more because it might offend some one that’s not supposed to be here, poor things!

          Lack of a good education here is not a handicap it’s a handiout. Your education is about applying for stuff that will feed you and your kids, find you free government housing and subsidized medical care. All you have to do is fill out the right government forms. Its a stay at home job worth 20-60 thousand a year, and don’t forget what party is handing out all these goodies.Don’t forget to vote, No ID’s required here Mr. Skull, just sign here for your California drivers license.

          You want these people to live down town in the high rent district so they don’t have to feel discriminated against.
          Don’t you think they might have felt more discriminated against by people from wherever they came from than they do here?

          I remember when I was a kid they used to put poor people in nice new high rise building. It was called the projects, like most social programs the government runs, it was a failure. Crime ridden, rat and cockroach infested dirty leaky failures.

          What does the government run well? The military, at least when the spineless party is running it or the Messiah doesn’t veto the budget.

    • If I had any doubts that Rich Robinson was anything but an angry hypocrite, those doubts have been laid to rest after reading the nonsense he wrote above:

      …providing housing and services cost you less than you are currently paying in taxes.

      Huh? Who pays the difference? The Tooth Fairy?


      …a George W. Bush official.

      When you don’t have credible facts, the ad hominem logical fallacy is always a good filler.


      …how selfish can you be to not understand…

      Here’s what I understand, Rich: what you label “selfish” are simply hard-bitten taxpayers who want people like you to get your cotton-pickin’ fingers out of our wallets for a change. If you believe there’s a problem, then you dig into your own wallet to fix it. We pay far too much in taxes already.


      If not for the socialist elements in our system… the economic system would have died a natural death years ago.

      Complete nonsense. American exceptionalism — the American competitive free market — is where all the loot comes from that people like you are always trying to confiscate to fund your newest, greatest, bestest ideas. Go away! No one is starving here, and there is already plenty of public money in the form of EBT cards, cash grants, housing assistance, food stamps, unemployment assistance, etc., etc. There is no need for ever more taxpayer loot for your economic illiteracy.

      That money doesn’t grow on trees, it is taken from working people and given to unproductive folks who always have their hands out for more.


      …understanding the world economy is essential

      What, there are no mirrors in your house? You’re the one who doesn’t understand Econ 1A.


      A lot of angry people who live the best, richest place on earth.

      Including you. Why are you so upset? Are you angry because taxpayers are resisting opening their wallets yet again? How much is enough, Rich? Give us a number. What percentage of our income is enough in taxes for you? 50%? 65%? 90%? Give us that number.

      We’re tapped out, Rich. Open your own wallet for a change, and leave working taxpayers alone. We don’t need do-gooders trying to come up with more ways to spend our money. It may surprise you, but we know how to do that better than you do.

  9. Mr. Robinson: I get that you believe Philip Mangano is the new messiah. What I’m missing is credibility. Every item I’ve read about Mangano simply recycles the same recommendations proffered over the past 30 years promising to end homelessness. His political pedigree is irrelevant. Proven solutions are.

    If only more housing and services were a solution. That was also the claim for the failed War on Poverty – which evidently we lost. Despite spending millions, the homeless impact is worse than ever. Yup, we’ve had a slight dip in the most recent survey, but well within the bounds of normal statistical variation. And Hawaii’s homelessness has gotten so bad that their governor recently declared it an emergency.

    Valley residents don’t lack lack compassion or empathy, but they’ve learned to recognize a con. Some call it compassion fatigue, others call it a sham. The only material beneficiaries are the homeless service providers, bureaucrats, and builders. The San Jose Rescue Mission and Salvation Army has morphed into a multi-million dollar segment spanning several dozen non-profits.

    Perhaps something incremental will help. Paying San Jose’s Living Wage to homeless Downtown Streets workers would be a good start.

    If you want acolytes, then reference peer-reviewed studies and identify why current programs general fail to make a dent. Otherwise we have no reasonable means to solve a critical problem.

    • Just a not for the conversation,

      I had to go check, In the US we spend an average of $20,000 per person or $60,000 per family or nearly a trillion dollars a year in this country trying to help poor people. That includes some 20 million that don’t belong here.

      Since LBJ’s war on poverty, 22 trillion Dollars!

      That’s your Tax’s !

  10. Robinson for president! RR proves again the value in thinking outside the box realistic approaches yet to be tried. Good work Rich

    • “RR proves again the value in thinking outside the box…”

      Couldn’t agree more! Ronald Reagan put the country back on the right track for the next 25 years, until the current gang messed things up again.

  11. Here’s the deal with our man Rich.

    He earns a living using the English language to manipulate and obfuscate our reality the best he can. He sells his manipulations that are in the form of fluffy untestable ideas to politicians who then use these canned manipulative messages on the voter/taxpayer to convince the voter/taxpayer that that politician is the best person to be paid by YOUR tax dollars to make decisions ABOUT HOW TO SPEND your tax dollars. They test these messages on the voter/ taxpayer to see which message is successfully manipulating the voter/ taxpayer so that they can get your vote.

    THATS ALL THATS GOING ON HERE: “pay me to spend your taxes based on fluffy ideas you can’t possibly test!” That’s a politician and Rich makes it happen. And this article is his free ad space.

    Rich thinks his job is driven by ideals of equity and progressive philosophies, but by definition he is nothing more than a pilot fish feeding off the scraps of political sharks. A symbiotic relationship of each feeding the other BS to survive. It’s disgusting, really, and self-serving, and very far from the ideals of the true fighters for human rights who sacrificed themselves so others might live better, like Chavez, king, Mandela, and our soldiers.

    To Rich, a sacrifice is giving up the front row seat at the demo convention so the old lady from Dixie in a wheel chair can see better. A story he’ll talk about again and again at cocktails afterward. Did you see the blue hair from Lafayette come to hear Madame speak. She was ever smiling because I was a gentleman.

    No Rich, don’t just start blazing your socialist guns because Bernie had the balls to own up to his convictions and make them socially acceptable again before either of the Clintons or Obama did. You especially can’t talk about Willy the centrist sellout –source of the Great Recession–and then bring up socialism in the same article. It just makes you look dumb.

    Your problem is not your intelligence though, (I don’t think many outside your circle ever gave you the benefit of the doubt to begin with).

    Nope, your problem is, despite what your article tries to say, you believe in the false dichotomy of capitalism vs social responsibility when there is no dichotomy, just updated and globalist ways of approaching GLOBAL inequities by the valley capitalists that you don’t understand.

    But NEVER did you discuss housing for people who are actually working in the valley at those hitech companies, who make over $100k and still can’t Afford a home. There is no philanthropy for those people. TALK ABOUT INEQUITY. No welfare or housing vouchers. Yet you want homes for those who don’t work or can’t due to choices they made in life? Drugs, booze, laziness, or illegal crossings.

    That’s why no one buys your crap. It smells false and opportunistic.

    And it never occurs to you that some of the people responding to your article might be the valley leaders who are steep in global economic knowledge and are aware from a global perspective just what real suffering is going on in the world. So you talk down to us because you know better. Well, rich. You don’t. And every time you write something it shows.

    Put your money and your life where your mouth is or shut the heck up.

    • Given Mr. Robinson’s record of self-promotion, his article is less about humanitarian ideals than securing contracts with Clinton’s campaign. His wounded shriek excoriating critics coupled with an emphatic Clinton endorsement passes the Occam razor test.

      Would be nice for him to respond with substantiated solutions instead of slogans. But exceedingly difficult when one’s intellectual armory is barren. A friend summarizes it as “Big hat, no cattle.”

  12. Speaking of High Speed Rail, Rich . . .

    “They cut the budget to $68 billion by eliminating high-speed service between Los Angeles and Anaheim and between San Jose and San Francisco.”


    I’m sure they will be able to keep within their budget by eliminating high-speed service between San Jose and Coalinga, and between Buttonwillow and Los Angeles.

    $68 billion just doesn’t buy what it used to (but there’s NO inflation!).

  13. Anyone who believes the government’s “$68 Billion” price tag for Moonbeam’s “bullet” train is too credulous and naive to be allowed to vote. That figure needs to be at least doubled to be anywhere near the true cost.

    The scheme proposes to drill tunnels through 72 miles of seismically unsafe mountains. From the article linked above:

    Herbert Einstein, an MIT civil engineer and another of the nation’s top tunneling experts, said, “I don’t think it is possible.”

    Listen up, folks! That’s Einstein talking.

    I still think the proposal to build a giant 300-foot tall Pyramid as Gov. Moonbeam’s legacy project would save state taxpayers most of those $Billions.

    With Brown’s slow as molasses “bullet” train, land that now pays property taxes would stop paying any taxes on the gov’t rights of way for hundreds of miles of tracks, dozens of stations, and associated parking lots, etc. Train fares would have to be subsidized forever. While airlines can now take passengers from SF to LA in one hour, Gov. Moonbeam’s “bullet” train will (very optimistically) require a 4.5 hour trip.

    But a Pyramid could even be a tourist attraction, offsetting part of the cost. Tourists could be guided through the interior to view the portal cut into the side of the Pyramid, where every Full Moon would allow a Moonbeam to illuminate a golden tablet with the single word: LEGACY.

    The Gov gets his legacy project, taxpayers are spared an enormous burden, and everyone who wants to can still get from NorCal to SoCal in an hour.


    • Then there’s the problem that public schools math and reading score are the 3rd & 4th worst in the country. Remember when CA led the nation? A trip down I-5’s congested crumbling roadway is like a vibrating chair. We’re neglecting what matters most.

    • Ten years ago the price tag just for buying the right of way for the Moonbeam Express was about $400 billion,
      I was really surprised when the cost was revised down to $68 billion.

      I suppose when you can totally through away reality of a budget the price come’s down quite a lot.

      Since everyone in Silicon Valley now makes $94 K a year and in Holyweed even more, they can afford a $400 one way ticket to La-La Land. Will my Tesla go that far?

      • > Will my Tesla go that far?

        Yes. Your Tesla will go that far.

        Tesla demonstrated awhile back a way to change the battery pack on a Tesla in half the time it takes to fill a gas tank on a similar sized luxury car.

        With current technology, you could drive your Tesla to LA with just one stop for battery change.

        Or, you could spend thirty minutes at a rest stop for a conventional battery charge. While you’re relaxing in Buttonwillow, you might get lucky and see a terrorist drive a car bomb into a vehicle underpass and blow up the High Speed Rail, putting Jerry Brown’s $68 billion dodo bird out of business.

    • > The scheme proposes to drill tunnels through 72 miles of seismically unsafe mountains.

      EXCELLENT analysis, Mr. Smokey.

      At the end of the day, I think this is going to be the stake in the heart of the California High Speed dodo bird.

      I know people who will NOT ride BART through the tunnel under the bay.

      A lot of people are claustrophobic. Lot’s of people also fear earthquakes.

      If you subtract from the pool of potential dodo bird riders those people who are claustrophobic, or fear earthquakes, or fear being in a tunnel during an earthquake. the potential ridership shrinks dramatically.

      I suspect that a train travelling at 200 miles per hour could be easily derailed by even a small earthquake that moves the rails sideways or vertically by only a few inches. A derailment would be catastrophic. A derailment ten miles inside of a tunnel in a seismically unstable region would be horrific.

      The fact of the matter is that his system is being designed and engineered by politicians to meet a COST target. If reality requires spending $300 billion to make a safe system in a seismically unsafe region, put the politicians COMMAND the costs be kept to $68 billion in order to save face, corners will be cut.

      NO sane person is going to ride a bullet train though a 72 mile tunnel built for $68 billion when the engineers said that a $300 billion tunnel was necessary.

      • Keep in mind that Japan operates high speed trains through tunnels, surface, and elevated tracks. They overcame problems in a more seismically unstable environment and their safety record speaks well for engineering prowess.

        I suspect the engineering problems can be solved. But at this point, we don’t know what they are as the studies haven’t been completed. What we do know is that even the most direct, least costly route far exceeds the initial cost estimates and will only grow larger.

        All the data I’ve seen indicates the CHS project fails to meet the criteria promised to voters when the bond measure passed. And no likelihood that promises and reality will converge. We have enough data to know that the project should be stopped. At this point, it seems the only way to do it is along the lines of the repeal of the 18th Amendment (rescinded prohibition).

        Other means to stop squandering money?

  14. 77 year old Governor Jerry Brown still seems to be mad that he didn’t get a Lionel train set for Christmas as a kid. What else can explain his stubborn obstinence about building the expensive and dangerous California High Speed dodo bird.

    Californians KNOW it’s a dodo bird, and technologically savvy millennials can see the future emerging right in front of their noses:

    Jerry Brown doesn’t take my phone calls, but perhaps some politically connected person could type a memo to the governor and remind him that the state he governs is ready, willing and able to be a leader in innovative twenty first century transportation systems.

    • Looks like one of those coin operated Port-A-Potty’s from a few years back. Just put wheels on it, a methane generator and an automatic butt wiper and we could solve the water shortage and homeless problem with one
      click of a mouse. Do you think we could just get Al Gore and Hillary to use it ?

  15. We’re only half a century behind, folks!

    The Japanese “Shinkansen” Bullet Train began service in 1964, fifty-one years ago.

    And IF the California High Speed dodo bird actually begins service in 2022, it will only be three generations behind the Shinkansen.

    But if California actually spends the money and time to make the 72 miles of dodo bird tunnels seismically safe, it is possible that the dodo bird could actually be a FULL CENTURY behind the Shinkansen.

    But what the hell, this is what made Silicon Valley the economic engine of the world:

    “We may be late to market with our VCR, but it will be the best $10,000 VCR on the market.”

  16. “Reich and Sanders argue that we should return manufacturing jobs to the US, tax the wealthy, provide educational opportunity for free and reenergize the middle class.” Reich and Sanders just want to take more from the top 2%, who already pay 60% of federal taxes, and give it to the slackers who produce nothing in the form of homes and “services.” We already have “educational opportunity for free” but blacks and Mexicans drop out of high school at alarming rates, thereby throwing away their opportunity in exchange for welfare. Just stop, Rich. This country provides more opportunity to “the disadvantaged” and “people of color” than any nation in the history of the world. However, since you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink, outcomes will always be unequal. Nationwide, 70% of black children are born to an unmarried woman, and “Dad” is nowhere to be found when it comes to ponying up for the support of his kids. A huge percentage of Latina girls are Moms before their quinceañera. All your BS programs haven’t improved those statistics in decades. Instead, it only gets worse.

    I do agree with you, however, that CEO salaries and perks are often unjustifiable when compared to their companys’ results. They get obscene bonuses despite terrible results. That ain’t right. And when the boards finally get around to terminating them, they get obscene platinum parachutes. That ain’t right, either. They circulate around like unsuccessful Division 1A, NFL, and NBA head coaches who, after they get canned for poor results, shop around and get assistant coach positions, and five years later the losers are head coaches again. The same is true of many CEOs. Carly is a perfect example. She is not content to have started HP into the tank, now she wants to be the President for Chrissake!

    “We can end homelessness.” Have you got a plan for that, Rich? I doubt it. The vast majority of the homeless are mentally ill, with no hope of recovery while they are out on the streets due to LPS, a well-meaning law with disastrous unintended consequences, not the least of which is the ballooning homeless population. They have a not much better hope of recovery at the hands of the psychobabble crowd. Not only will it not happen, it CAN’T happen under the state of current psychotherapy, which is just a hair’s breadth more sophisticated than rattles and beads.

    “Technology has replaced jobs, making our lives easier. People should benefit from those advances. Moreover, this would create more jobs and allow more people to benefit from the economy.” Jesus, I thought you were smart, Rich, yet it’s clear that you fail to grasp the irreconcilable contradiction in those two sentences. The jobs technology has replaced will NEVER create more jobs for those whose jobs were replaced. Simple example: most parking lots used to have low wage, low education, low skills attendants. Technology has replaced those jobs with a machine into which you feed your ticket, followed by a validation or your money when you leave the lot. What new jobs were created by that technology that could be filled by the workers it displaced? That would be zero, zip, zilch, nada, Rich. Those displaced parking lot attendants have neither the brains, the initiative, nor the perseverance to retrain for a technology job. Current western society has neither the inclination, let alone the will, to set those folks adrift, where they would surely perish. So, those who work, including the uber rich CEOs, pick up the tab for them. All your Pollyanna-ish dreams and schemes and tax funded programs will never elevate the bottom15%-20% to the middle class.

    “It is a combination of getting people into housing and providing services. Not offering a shelter, but giving them a key to a real home and providing the real services they need. Housing and homeless advocates understand the model and are implementing it. They need resources.” I didn’t see anything in your model program about those folks doing anything but taking from the rest of us via these government programs that aren’t free to anyone but the recipients. What do they give in return for this largesse paid for by those who produce? Once again, that would be zero, zip, zilch, nada, Rich

    This nation has passed the tipping point. 54% of the population receives one or more forms of “government assistance”, which in reality is taxpayer assistance. Further, if any Democrat becomes our next president, especially Bernie-the-proud-to-be-Socialist-Democrat-Sanders, you can kiss the USA goodbye no later than the death of your grandchildren, Rich. And well meaning, educated folks like you will be the primary cause of that demise.

    “The late John Vasconcellos used to say that Silicon Valley leads the world in every human endeavor, including gender equity, diversity and human achievement. The rest of the world looks to us for inspiration.” He was only partly correct. Neither the Muslim world, the Chinese world, much of the Indian world, nor much, if not most, of sub-Saharan Africa, look to us for inspiration; and that is well over half of the world. A huge percentage of that lot hates us, but our government keeps giving them our tax money and they keep taking it. Who is the bleeping moron in that deal?
    You live in a dream world Rich, and though the world needs dreamers, those dreams must be strongly tempered by reality. The more successful you are in getting your clients elected, the sooner the USA will go in the tank.

    • Another group of workers displaced by technology: Golden Gate Bridge toll-takers. They wouldn’t even keep a few on to handle pay-by-cash, like tourists, who then get screwed by their rental car companies. That’s it: screw the tourists who make up a large part of the SF economy.



    The California High Speed dodo bird is going down the tubes.

    Bye-bye dodo bird!!!

    “A groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held in January, but most of the roughly $2 billion spent so far has been for planning and design.”

    So, the “groundbreaking ceremony” was really just publicity stunt and didn’t have anything to do with starting construction on a “real” system”.

    Well, at least we’ve got $2 billion dollars worth of “plans and design” for a ridiculous anachronism that will never be built. Probably, these plans and designs will end up in the shredder so the public will never know how zany and stupid the whole smelly scheme really was.

    • Oh I’m so sorry to hear that as I had planned on some day taking a blurry picture of the bird streaking by.
      Now I’ll just have to practice on Airbus’s leaving SJM.

      • > Oh I’m so sorry to hear that as I had planned on some day taking a blurry picture of the bird streaking by.


        It was more useless than I thought.

  18. Nationwide, 5.3 percent of households earn $200,000 or more each year. In San Jose, 18.2 percent of households earn that much, the second highest share of any metro area in the country.

    Might as well jump on the RR bandwagon here…

    Rich, 200k is scraping by for a family of 4. It takes $100k for a single person to live comfortably here.

    Most economic experts say to spend 1/3rd of your income on housing. Most bay area residents spend 2/3rds or 3/4s of their income on housing. It leaves very little for doing things like going on vacation. Nothing for savings, and nothing for your kids education.

    You want the solution to come from the very tech companies that aren’t doing a thing to solve it. You absolve Tim Cook of his tax guilt by agreeing with him. $185bn is a lot of money to deprive the economy of.

    You wrote this thing while smoking some righteously funky pokololo weren’t you? You can’t be sober and think what Tim did was OK. Other people brushed on H1b, maybe I’ll just brush on the irony that our local labor unions are lobbying and fighting to build housing and retail (like walmart) that go very much against US citizen opportunity.

  19. Well, now that the California dodo is fated to be knocked in the head with a shovel and fed to the maggots, what will become of the bloated public works pork projects that were hooked to the coattails of the dodo?

    $4.5 billion.

    That’s before redesign, change orders, and modifications to downsize the project because there won’t be a “high speed” rail connected to Anaheim. Check that. Los Angeles. Check that again. Bakersfield. Ooops. Re-check the last check. Buttonwillow, Coalinga, or somewhere out there where the rubes live.

    The $4.5 billion will predictably swell to $9, $10, $15 billion.

    Maybe the $15 billion could be used to expand California’s water resources instead of paying bond premiums to Goldman Sachs for useless projects that dig big holes in the ground and then fill them up.

  20. SAVE THE DODO! ? ? ?
    Rich Robinson: High Speed Rail Will be Vindicated
    Rich Robinson: High Speed Rail Plan is Sound
    Silicon Valley Newsroom: High Speed Rail Gathers Speed
    Eric Johnson: Fast Train on its Way

    Or . . . maybe not:
    “California Democrat withdraws support for the high-speed rail project”

    “Assemblywoman Patty Lopez (D-San Fernando) says she is withdrawing her support for the project, and she says five other Democrats in the Legislature are reviewing their positions.”

    “You don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.”

    “That sucker’s day-ed.”

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