Texas vs. California

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Max E., Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Max E.

    Max E.

    Great Article comparing Texas to California

    One in five Americans calls California or Texas home. The two most populous states have a lot in common: a long coast, a sunny climate, a diverse population, plenty of oil in the ground, and Mexico to the south. Where they diverge is in their governance.

    For six years ending in 2010, I represented almost 500,000 people in California’s legislature. I was vice chairman of the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation and served on the Budget Committee. I was even a lieutenant colonel in the state’s National Guard. Before serving in Sacramento, I worked as an executive in California’s aerospace industry.

    I moved to Texas late last year, joining the 2 million Californians who have packed up for greener pastures in the past ten years, with Texas the most common destination.

    In his State-of-the-State address this January, California governor Jerry Brown said, “Contrary to those declinists who sing of Texas and bemoan our woes, California is still the land of dreams. . . . It’s the place where Apple . . . and countless other creative companies all began.”

    Fast forward to March: Apple announced it was building a $304 million campus in Austin with plans to hire 3,600 people to staff it, more than doubling its Texas workforce.
    California may be dreaming, but Texas is working.

    California’s elected officials are particularly adept at dreaming up ways to spend other people’s money. While the state struggles with interminable deficits caused by years of reckless spending, the argument in Sacramento isn’t over how to reduce government; rather, it’s over how much to raise taxes and on whom. Governor Brown is pushing for a tax increase of $6.9 billion per year, to appear on this November’s ballot. California’s powerful government-employee unions and Molly Munger, a wealthy civil-rights attorney (wealthy by dint of being the daughter of Warren Buffett’s business partner) are offering two competing tax-hike plans. The silver lining may be that having three tax hikes on the ballot will turn voters off all of them.

    Meanwhile, lawmakers in Texas are grappling with a fiscal question of an entirely different sort: whether or not to spend some of the $6 billion set aside in the state’s rainy-day fund.

    California’s government-employee unions routinely spend tens of millions of dollars at election time to maintain their hold on power. In Texas, the government unions are weak and don’t have collective bargaining, leaving trial attorneys as the main source of funding for Lone Star Democrats.

    California’s habit of raising taxes to fund a burgeoning regulatory state isn’t without impact on its economy. Californians fork over about 10.6 percent of their income to state and local governments, above the U.S. average of 9.8 percent. Texans pay 7.9 percent. This affects the bottom line of both consumers and businesses.

    With that money, Californians pay for more government. The number of non-education bureaucrats in California is close to the national average, at 252 per 10,000 people. Texas gets by with a bureaucracy 22 percent smaller: 196 per 10,000.

    Of course, having more government employees means making more government rules. According to a 2009 study commissioned by the California legislature, state regulations cost almost $500 billion per year, or five times the state’s general-fund budget. These regulations ding the average small business for some $134,122 a year in compliance and opportunity costs.

    While California has more bureaucrats, Texas has 17 percent more teachers, with 295 education employees per 10,000 people, compared to California’s 252.

    The two states’ educational outcomes reflect this disparity. If we compare national test scores in math, science, and reading for the fourth and eighth grades among four basic ethnic and racial categories — all students, whites, Hispanics, and African-Americans — Texas beats California in every category, and by a substantial margin. In fact, Texas schools perform consistently above the national average across categories of age, race, and subject matter, while California schools perform well below the national average.

    Apologists for the Golden State frequently point to Texas’s flourishing oil and gas industry as the reason for its success. Texas does lead the nation in proven oil reserves, but California ranks third. The real difference isn’t in geology but in public policy: Californians have decided to make it difficult to extract the oil under their feet.

    Further, contrary to popular opinion, California’s refineries routinely produce a greater value of product than do refineries in Texas, mainly because the special gasoline blends that California requires are more costly.

    Another advantage that Texas enjoys over California is in its civil-justice system. In 2002, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked Texas’s legal system 46th in the nation, just behind California’s, which was 45th. Texas went to work improving its lawsuit environment, enacting major medical-malpractice reforms in 2003. Texas’s ranking consequently jumped ten places in eight years, while California’s dropped to 46th. In the last legislative session, Texas lawmakers passed a landmark loser-pays provision, which promises to further curtail frivolous lawsuits.

    While California seeks more ways to tax success, it excels at subsidizing poverty. The percentage of households receiving public assistance in California was 3.7 percent in 2009, double Texas’s rate of 1.8 percent. Almost one-third of all Americans on welfare reside in California.

    With this in mind, it makes perfect sense that only 18 percent of the Democrats who control both houses of California’s full-time legislature worked in business or medicine before being elected. The remainder drew paychecks from government, worked as community organizers, or were attorneys.

    In Texas, with its part-time legislature, 75 percent of the Republicans who control both houses earn a living in business, farming, or medicine, with 19 percent being attorneys in private practice. Texas Democrats are more than twice as likely as their California counterparts to claim private-sector experience outside the field of law.

    That Texas’s legislature is run by makers and California’s by takers is glaringly obvious from the two states’ respective balance sheets.

  2. Max E.

    Max E.

    And here is another great article on just how damaging liberalism has been in California.

    Can California's Economic Self-Immolation Be Exported?
    By Bill Frezza
    What is it about California that make its elected leaders work so hard to earn their place in the dunce's corner alongside Greece? With all the state has going for it - abundant natural resources, an educated populace, and an entrepreneurial tradition second to none - California politicians and the people who put them in power seem determined to destroy the state's economy in order to achieve some higher purpose.

    Nowhere is this clearer than in the bizarre economics of California's tax and energy policies.

    Were California to shut down its entire manufacturing sector, turn off its power plants, idle its trucks and automobiles, and order its citizens to stop exhaling, the impact on the global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide would be immaterial. So California's energy policies cannot be directed at singlehandedly saving the planet from cataclysmic global warming. Rather, its enlightened leaders must be hoping to persuade the rest of the world to follow their example.

    How's that working out?

    Put aside, for a moment, the scientific debate over climate models and instead look at the facts on the ground. Or under it, as the case may be.

    Thanks to new technology, fossil fuels are enjoying a boom not seen since the vast oil fields of the Middle East came online half a century ago. Peak oil alarmists must be stocking up on hemlock as estimates of global oil and gas reserves soar to all-time highs. North Dakota, of all places, looks like it could become the next Saudi Arabia if technology continues to increase the amount of oil that can be extracted from the Bakken Shale. Estimates top out at 500 billion barrels.

    Meanwhile, much larger California could contain more oil than North Dakota trapped in its Monterey Shale deposits, not to mention an unknown quantity lying offshore. Yet the Golden State has virtually shut down fossil fuel exploration. Once a major producer, California has seen oil production decline by more than 30% over the past 20 years. Not satisfied with choking off its aging oil wells, politicians continue trying to shut down the state's last remaining refineries.

    Under the rules of democracy, the citizens of California have the power to enforce such self-abnegation within their own borders. But tell me, how are politicians in Sacramento going to turn off the pumps in North Dakota?

    Thanks to its oil boom, North Dakota state coffers are overflowing with money. Its legislators set aside almost $1 billion in excess reserves this year not needed to support its $3.5 billion balanced budget. They have also cut state income taxes. Unemployment is 3.3%, and workers are flooding into the region in search of high paying jobs.

    In a perfect example of life imitating art, in this case the fictional economic renaissance depicted in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged following Ellis Wyatt's petroleum shale breakthrough, thousands of miles of roads, bridges, and pipelines are being built across North Dakota. This self-sustaining, economically net-positive construction boom has been stimulated by nary an Obamabuck, without a single make-work job in sight.

    And California? Hardly a week goes by without news of another city tottering on the brink of bankruptcy. Unemployment tops 11%. This year's state budget will be $6 billion in the red, even after painful cuts in education, health care, and transportation. And despite the fact that 1 percent of the state's income earners already shoulder half the state's income tax bill - leading one third of California's high income residents to flee the state over the past several years - Governor Jerry Brown is plumping for a ballot initiative to jack up taxes on "the rich" even higher.

    And the vaunted entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley? Like Pavlov's dogs, they are salivating over the free money being served up by Obama's energy department, using it to leverage up their bets on windmills, solar plants, and algae farms dedicated to taming demon carbon no matter how much real wealth has to be destroyed in the process.

    Cultural leaders making headlines cursing the 1% have made it a virtue to force California taxpayers to help pay for electric cars purchased by millionaires. An unholy alliance of environmentalists, crony capitalists and their political enablers are still trying to build a high speed rail line to nowhere, even though cost estimates have ballooned to $100 billion. It's as if the whole state has been driven insane after watching Al Gore's movie.

    It is a mathematical impossibility that California's "renewable" technologies will ever make economic sense in a world awash in oil and gas. This makes the results of all this malinvestment entirely predictable. As North Dakotans become rich pumping oil, Californians are going broke erecting a vast subsidy-dependent green infrastructure primed to collapse the moment the funny money runs dry.

    The only hope of delaying the day of reckoning for California's unsustainable green fantasies is an election that delivers the entire national economy into the hands of central planners pledged to emulate California's game plan. Only the federal government has the power to choke off the entire country's flow of gas and oil. If anti-carbon zealots succeed, this will postpone California's date with disaster at the cost of making the eventual collapse nationwide.

    We'll see which course America chooses in November.
  3. BSAM


    And yet, tell me a better place to live than in San Diego, or San Luis Obispo.
  4. Time for defining words again, I guess.

    lib·er·al (lbr-l, lbrl)
    a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
    b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

    con·ser·va·tive (kn-sûrv-tv)
    1. Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.
    2. Traditional or restrained in style: a conservative dark suit.

    We all need to face change. Read the book Abundance. One of my most conservative friends swears by this book. The first few chapters make one think it's a 'liberal' point of view just because it speaks of saving the planet etc. But, if you can, keep reading.

  5. BSAM


    Hmmm...I'm glad I'm not a liberal.
    I'm a little bit country; a little bit rocknroll.
    What's that make me?
  6. pspr


    Good articles comparing the liberal way with (I won't say conservative) the right way to run a state or a country.
  7. BSAM


    A lot of conservatives are narrow minded.
    Liberals bend over for anything.
  8. Max E.

    Max E.

    The kind of liberalism that is going on in places like California is destructive, sure they are open to new ideas, they are open to one new bad idea after another, and meanwhile the state is burning, because they cant afford all of these brilliant ideas that these so called "progressives" think of. Its not fucking progressive, its just destructive, and they are to stupid to see it.

    If it wasnt for the fact that California is in one of the nicest climates on earth, it would already be a ghost town by now. People are willing to pay a certain premium to live in a place like California, but there is only so far you can push them before they say fuck it, and they pack up ship, and leave.

    If California was located in the central U.S. it would already be a ghost town by now, as it is, they are already well on their way to that outcome. Look at Detroit.

  9. Brass


    It makes you a mormon. Just ask Donny and Marie:

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  10. Maverick74


    Great article Max. Notice how once again, no one on the left wants to address the issue of CA vs TX. I guess it's because they can't. Good job.
    #10     Mar 15, 2012