Over at Blue Lee Ward is puzzled over the Tea Party movement. As he sees it, Obama has a plan to fix the economy and anyone who refuses to jump on the bandwagon is an anarchistic anti-government kook. Setting aside the obvious non sequitur of attempting to “rescue the economy from the downside of Bush’s spending and tax cutting spree” by spending trillions more than Bush and imposing new taxes on an economy in recession, his main point seems to be that opposing Obama is…well…unpatriotic.
Apparently, sometime around noon on January 20, 2009 the ubiquitous rallying cry of the left lo these past eight years – dissent is the highest form of patriotism – became passe. And gauche.
Unfortunately for the big government crowd, examining the 50 “laboratories of democracy” that comprise our US of A answers Lee’s question very succinctly. Among the most striking examples is a comparison between two of our largest, most populous states – California and Texas. The Tea Party folks want an economic environment that mimics the Lone Star State while Obama, Congress, and the Lees of the country are falling over themselves to Californicate the entire nation.
Texas has no state income tax. Government spending is limited (our legislature meets every other year – only half the chance for mischief!). The regulatory climate is favorable to business. We’re a right to work state so there is little union distortion of wages. California is the polar opposite – punitive taxes, odious regulatory climate, and lacking of fiscal discipline. The result, as detailed in “Rich States, Poor States” is striking:
When comparing California with Texas, U-Haul says it all. To rent a 26-foot truck oneway from San Francisco to Austin, the charge is $3,236, and yet the one-way charge for that same truck from Austin to San Francisco is just $399. Clearly what is happening is that far more people want to move from San Francisco to Austin than vice versa, so U-Haul has to pay its own employees to drive the empty trucks back from Texas. The great thing about this example is that it’s a market price set in the real world – you don’t need to rely on a fancy economic model to see our point. If two haughty-taughty food critics were arguing about restaurants A and B, the average Joe could ignore their jargon and just look at which place had a line out the door. When it comes to California and Texas, people are backed up, waiting to move out of the former and into the latter. We rest our case.
Backing up this anecdotal evidence is a new survey of the Best Cities for Job Growth released by Forbes and newgeography. Texas dominates the list of 336 cities surveyed with seven of the top ten and thirteen – including the four largest cities of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin – in the top 10%. Scroll down to #50 and you’ll see the first California city – Bakersfield – and keep going to nos. 133 and 134 to find the next California cities of Visalia-Porterville and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara. For the mathematically challenged that works out to a single California city in the top 1/3 of the Best Cities for Job Growth.
Does anyone believe that more spending, higher income taxes, more fees, more regulation, a new energy taxation scheme, expanded union influence on the labor market, and a massive expansion of entitlements is the right prescription for California? Other than Congress, Obama, and WizbangBlue, that is.
There’s a reason why southern states have seen their populations grow at the expense of the midwest and northeast over the past two decades – their business friendly climates create jobs. Obama’s plan to make everyone equally miserable is not a formula for economic growth. Look no further than California, Michigan, and Oregon for proof. He’s merely mortgaging the future to implement his vision of a socialist utopia. There is no historical or empirical evidence to support the assertion that we can tax and spend our way to prosperity.
But why let facts get in the way of a permanent and massive expansion of the federal government. Now that Obama is president the gnashing of teeth we heard over “Bush and Cheney shredding the Constitution” will turn eerily silent as his administration starts monitoring “right wing wackos” who cling to antiquated notions like freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom to petition for redress of grievances, and property rights.
What those Tea Party folks want is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We’ll take a pass on Obama’s handouts and taxes for all.