California GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Spent a Week Homeless. Sorta.



With $40, a bus ticket from L.A. to Fresno, a backpack, and a sleeping bag, California's Republican gubernatorial candidate, Neel Kashkari, kicked off a week of job-searching while homeless. Sort of.

"This has been one of the hardest weeks of my life," Kashkari said. "I came to Fresno expecting to be able to find a job and take care of myself but it's been a week and I found nothing. I've run out of money and had to turn to the homeless shelter for food."

He really did sleep on park benches (and even got hassled by cops and private security), but one has to wonder how much his job inquiries were affected by the fact that he was mic'd and had a cameraman in tow.

Either way, Kashkari concludes, "The solution is simple — it's jobs. It's not more welfare. It's not more food stamps. It's jobs. And we know how to do this." He's skeptical of how much California's economy is actually recovering under Gov. Jerry Brown, and there's merit to that. California ranks 44 in the U.S. for unemployment, about 9 million people, or 24 percent of the state, live in poverty, and some in the state are pushing for even higher taxes on the already-tax-heavy state.           


Although he served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability under both Bush and Obama, Kashkari's got limited name recognition and an "R" next to his name that isn't making it easy winning over the golden state. Polls show that throughout June and July he's steadily held onto about 33 percent support compared to incumbent Brown's 55 percent. Notably, Kashkari campaign is fueled by pretty modest budget: he's spent about $4 million and has less than $200,000 in the bank, compared to Brown's $22 million.

The former investment banker isn't the first person to make a politically-motivated dive into blue-collar blues this week. Yesterday I noted how ex-Gov. Ted Strickland (D-OH) "tried" (and predictably failed) to live on the minimum wage. That was a gimmick and so is this. Kashkari's gimmick is a bit more creative and interesting, though, and it might just have the viral power to boost this multimillionaire's image in California, and may help magnetize donors nationally. 

Here's the video:

Hat tip: Jim Swift

NEXT: Steven Greenhut Says Job Growth Is Good News, Tax Hikes Are Bad News

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  1. That was a gimmick and so is this.

    The White Man’s Burden routine gets old real quick. If he really wants to promote policies that drive job growth in the private sector he is an anomaly for either party. The economy during his time at Treasury has been anything but “financially stable”.

    1. I think that this strategy has merit, especially in a state like California that is highly driven by visual media and an ability to empathize with plight.

      Frankly, I think Kashkari’s preferred solutions would be generally lauded among libertarians (comparatively speaking at least), but he knows the vanity of this state’s electorate and is attempting a strategy that will maximize both his exposure and mitigate the fact that he has an R next to his name on the ticket.

  2. Alternative alt text (how could you *not* do this with those EYES in that picture)

    Bali Mangthi Kali Ma.
    Shakthi Degi Kali Ma.
    Kali ma… Kali ma… Kali ma, shakthi deh!

    1. *narrows gaze and puts hand protectively over heart*


  3. I’ve been searching for the name of that kid who did an experiment where he went from homeless to job and 6K in the bank within about 6 months. Anyone know what I’m talking about?

    1. I’ve been searching for the name of that kid who did an experiment where he went from homeless to job and 6K in the bank within about 6 months. Anyone know what I’m talking about?


      Adam Shepard wrote Scratch Beginnings as a response to Barbara Ehrenreich’s ridiculous Nickel and Dimed. His actual goals were to have an apartment, car, and $2500 in savings in a year. He had a truck, apartment, and $5300 when he quit the experiment after 10 months.

      I actually met the kid when he did his book release at Blue Bicycle in Charleston (which is where he did his experiment).

  4. Zenon may be too young to remember Neel Kashkari.

    fuck that Government Sachs crony. fuck. him.

  5. Hey Kashkari! Here’s an idea, lets cut taxes for the wealthy so those benefits trickle down to the poor…after all, it worked so well in the past right? LMAO!

    1. Hey JBE, lets continue to do the opposite because it’s worked out so well!

  6. Without making this a political endorsement, I am voting for Neel Kashkari while Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown visits Mexico with a delegation to further illegal immigration disguised as “Trade Talks” into California.
    Brown is also a proponent and supporter of the Bullet Train to nowhere while California suffers a hundred year drought. I would change my vote if Brown made the bullet train haul water to SoCal.

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