(Centennial Fellow) So what example should America follow, that of deficit-slaughtering, budget-cutting, seriously limited government in Texas, which has added 730,000 jobs in the past decade, or that of regulation-happy, spend-mercilessly, owe-everything, flee-this-place-quickly California, which has lost 600,000 jobs during the same period?
While not a hard question in a nation where unemployment recently shot up over 9 percent again and is dramatically expanding its unfunded entitlement promises on top of its accumulating debt, let's continue to look at some astounding facts about Texas after noting a much-repeated analysis of how it got there.
It has no state income tax, low corporate taxes, does just enough regulating to get the job done, cares for the environment without making a fetish of it, lets its legislature meet for a relatively short period just once every two years, keeps the executive branch slim and trim and is a right-to-work state where unions don't get to grab dues through governmental coercion.
Businesses love all that, varied researchers tell us. A number point out that, in 2008, Texas accounted for fully 70 percent of all new jobs created in America, and if you think that's great, which it is, don't suppose this was a one-shot deal. Businesses are reported to rate Texas the single best state in which to operate. Give them a chance and many will pull up stakes from yonder plunder-and-abuse venue and follow the Lone Star to high profits, sharing prosperity and opportunity as they resettle.
Meanwhile, what glitters is definitely not the Golden State. California is faced with a $26 billion deficit, cripples businesses with unconscionable taxes and rules and hits individuals just as hard. State leaders have dreamt up environmental objectives that in effect are combat tactics against the common good. Citizens are faced with a cost of living that is only part of the reason why they are deserting the place like the hoards that once upon a time rushed to enjoy its splendor.
Recently, even Governor Jerry Brown was quoted as describing his state as "fantasy land," and he wasn't talking about movies issuing from Hollywood. He was talking about the sort of thing various publications have documented -- The Washington Examiner, The Weekly Standard, The Economist, The National Review, Newsweek and more -- such as public employee pensions there is no way to honor.
There are liberals who hate the mention of any of this, especially when conservatives point how the two states are so much alike in population and demographic mix, and to be sure, there are some non-political factors at play. Liberals vastly overreach, though, with some making a major point earlier this year about how Texas was faced with a budget it couldn't handle and others bemoaning weak services.
Texas, with a vastly increasing inflow population that makes it even tougher to deal with employment and governmental growth, has nevertheless been fighting back successfully against budgetary expansion. It has used some gimmicks but mainly necessary program reductions to keep taxes down to a level instigating entrepreneurship. Services there are hardly in as much jeopardy as in California, whose overcrowded prisons the Supreme Court refuses to tolerate, and nothing helps the poor like jobs. Texas does not shine in public education, but outdoes California in national testing, it's reported.
The Texas example is basically the way America has to go, the way Republicans in the House of Representatives insist we go, and the way too many Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama resist. Their clear preference is the California model of spend yourself into misery, soak-the-upper-middle-class and businesses with tax hikes, tie the businesses up with so many regulations they can't compete anymore and offer no remedy but mush and demagoguery on anything truly serious in scope.
It won't work in part because, as a new USA Today report shows, the government's entitlement pledges (mainly to Medicare and Social Security) grew so much last year that they now exceed anticipated revenues by $61.6 trillion, or $534,000 per household. Does anyone actually believe that, even if some tax increases done through reform might help, we can tax our way out of this?