Here is an interesting article from the Buffalo News on the growing expense to local governments of providing subsidized housing within their communities. One has to wonder, given the inordinate amount of corruption, influence peddling, and general kleptocratic reign of the Democratic Party in most urban areas in the U.S., why housing projects like this aren’t investigated more thoroughly. As it is, projects like this, sustained by what should be a now dubious socialist morality giving preferences to “the poor” (Democratic operatives), are a slap in the face to taxpayers in an already depressed and over-taxed area.
As the article indicates, the government is now spending more than twice the amount on developing these housing projects than they are selling them for. If this is becoming the norm, it is simply not sustainable and to continue a practice like this in light of the state of government finance, it is supremely irresponsible.
An amazing quote from the article:
Private companies are no longer involved in developing these homes. Instead, subsidized housing in Buffalo is exclusively the domain of nonprofit organizations, including City Hall. The federal government now provides full construction funding as well as subsidies as long as home buyers qualify as low or moderate income.
That’s generally the case with 50 subsidized homes that Belmont Shelter Housing Corp. developed in the Hickory-Kane-Kamp Road area at the City of Buffalo’s request. The homes cost, on average, $190,000 each to build, with the largest houses in the group costing as much as $200,000 for construction, soft costs, subsidies and soil remediation.
The houses sell for an average $82,000 after subsidies.
This is the kind of governmental malpractice and disregard for over-burdened taxpayers that inspire the acerbic quotes from the comments section of the article. I include some of them; they are priceless. Going Galt anyone?
*Well, it’s 5am, have to go to work to help the poor who made bad decisions in life have a better house then me. You’re welcome.
*What bothers me is the union practice of block voting for Democrats. Buffalo has been so heavily Democratic for so long that any beneficial political opposition wilted away decades ago. Another voting block consists of African Americans with over 90% voting for Democrats. Couple the two voting blocks and they are invincible. Everything is stagnant. This is why people give up hope and leave. Two of my children never returned after going away to college. Both are doing very well. Most of my family is gone. I am still here fighting for the rest and for friends, but I too feel New York State is hopeless.
*You Buffalo leftie loonies are complaining? Give me a break. Why do you vote in these liberals into office and then complain about it. Next you’ll gripe about Obamas health care as you wait in line months. But hey the 30 million illegal immigrants will be covered at your expense. I might that 30million will be 10x that when they bring their families in. So figure 200 million low income, no money, no education coming to a theatre near you. You got what you deserved people of Buffalo.
*The cost of materials and labor for these homes is probably more like 115,000. and the rest is the profit the builder/developer makes. They don’t care if they sold for a dollar, they got their money in the bank right from our tax dollars
*They are not proceeding with Phase 3 because the News and the public are finally watching what they’re doing. Don’t worry. They’ll just do it somewhere else, so they can launder the money to their friends and supporters, all in the name of redevelopment.
*The less you do, the more you get. Real incentive to be a success. If you average out all of the help given, it works out to being similar to having a job that pays $13/hr. So, work a job, clean the snow off your car, drive to work, work 8 hrs, drive home, and pay taxes OR sit on couch and play video games and get free gas, free food stamps to buy the best food possible, get free equity and pay no taxes?Who are the real dummies here? Yes, us working stooges with a conscience. I am going to open up a Church of Foodstamps so I can get in on some of this free money!
*I live in a decent, yet modest, home that I bought 16 years ago for $90,000. I figure I might be lucky to get $120,000 for it now. It just sickens me that my tax dollars go to subsidize someone purchasing anything other than a “starter” home.I sure wish the government would sell me a $200,000 + home for $90,000 or less. This just sucks!
*Glad my wife and I work 3 jobs so low income people have a better house then us. I’m happy I get to get up at 4:30 and work 10 hours tomorrow getting a project out so low income people can have a better house then us. Keep working people, millions on welfare are depending on you.
*Wow the two guys I was behind at the store the othere day were buying (now cout them) 27 pkgs with 2 steaks in a pkg of T Bone steaks. Now that a whole lot better than my family eats and my wife and I both work hard. And guess how they paid for those steaks, you guessed it, food stamps
*Great! More rhetoric-have you ever even driven through the east side. Look at all of the side streets off of Fillmore & Jefferson. There is no “revitalizing” these neighborhoods. Nobody in the year 2010 with a family and a job and a sense of community responsibility is going to choose to live there. Give successful african americans a chance to live in a decent neighborhood somewhat close to their own people, and maybe we find that they become the role models-not the drug dealers.
*make sure to include enough money in the subsidy to provide Glocks to all the family members who live there….and “morning after pills” for all the females…..
Just As We Predicted: “Fringe” Conservatives-As Determined By Rachel Maddow and The Daily Kos-No Longer Welcome In the Conservative Movement
Just as we recognized in this post, the conservative establishment is finally admitting that they are pursuing a plan to purge those they consider “fringe” elements from THEIR movement. And, just as we have been documenting, this will go beyond the usual suspects including the likes of the truthers, the birthers, and the John Birchers. It will most likely extend to Ron Paul and his Campaign for Liberty as well as to the tenthers, those who believe that states have the right to nullify federal law under the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In time, it will probably also include those who oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants or any further controls on immigration. And, perhaps others.
According to this article from Politico, some main players from the moderate wing of the Republican Party like Michael Gerson, have been planning to discredit and exile elements of the tea party movement they believe are “crazy.”
Why? Because Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsos, and left wing MSNBC newsreader Rachel Maddow, say they should.
Think I’m kidding?
Here are some quotes from the Politico artcle:
So it was that liberals have demanded to know where Republicans stood on Obama’s citizenship, or that last week found left and right debating which side had more in common with Andrew Joseph Stack III, the software developer who crashed his plane into the IRS offices in Austin, Texas.
The left seized on a comment by hard-line conservative Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), reportedly expressing his empathy for the pilot’s anti-tax views.
Much as conservatives have sought to link Democrats to environmental extremism or socialism… it’s an obvious countermove for the left to try to link Republicans with the more extreme elements that have gained traction around — and sometimes within — the tea partiers.
After filming a brief segment at the conference, liberal MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, a leading tea party antagonist, concluded on her show that “the conservative movement right now is really not afraid to let its freak flag fly. … They‘re happy to show off the ‘we want another revolutionary war,’ ‘we think the black president is arrogant,’ ‘we think the apocalypse is nice’ side of themselves.”
A blogger on the liberal site Daily Kos asserted Tancredo’s speech revealed the “REAL reason” tea partiers are upset: “A black man is President and their White Privelege [sic] is fading.”
Tancredo’s speech was not widely condemned by conservative intellectuals or media, but immediately after Farah delivered his, he was confronted in a hallway outside the convention hall by conservative media entrepreneur and fellow convention speaker Andrew Breitbart, who said it was a disservice to the tea party movement to infer its activists are “all obsessed with the birth certificate, when it’s not a winning issue.”
And it goes on.
Which makes me wonder: If Rachel Maddow and Markos Moulitsos are now the de facto sources for conservative legitimacy, what other sections of the conservative movement will become eligible for the axe?
Will it also include those who believe that the push for global governance is real? Or how about global warming “deniers?” I am sure that Maddow and Moulitsos still consider these two ideas absolutely crazy and only pushed by conservative “wing-nuts” and “conspiracy theorists.” Is that why there was very little commentary on John Bolton’s speech at CPAC, where he openly warned conservatives about the impending threat to American sovereignty from global governance?
I am sure that if you ask Rachel and Markos, along with Gerson and John McCain, they’ll all agree that such talk is crazy talk. Eeks. John Bolton should burn all references to global governance so that the national Republican Party will gain the approval of its new leadership. Just as a reminder, here is what Bolton wrote in Commentary Magazine in January (that we posted here):
Barack Obama’s blueprint for the United States spells trouble for American autonomy, self-governance, and defense, all key elements of national sovereignty. His undisguised indifference to repeated diminutions of that sovereignty is entirely consistent with the views of his European admirers, who, at their level, would like to see their nation-states dissolve into the European Union. (I believe Europen states have already de facto been dissolved in the EU already.)
Crazy. Paranoid. Conspiracy theory!
What a joke all of this talk about democracy and respect for the people has been.
The Tea Party should have been onto it once politicians and the conservative media elite started blowing smoke up their asses, and the conservative media started declaring who the tea party leadership was.
This is why it is so difficult to be a conservative activist in America. You are never allowed the freedom to participate and hash out ideas as long as you tie your fortunes to the Republican Party. It is, unfortunately, run by a cadre of interests who are the ultimate gatekeepers and watchdogs for the establishment.
I live in New York and this has been a truism to me for a long time. That is why the New York Tea Party, as well as the coalition of government reform conservative groups in the state, have had very little to do with the Republican Party. In fact, they recognize it as so bad, that all their efforts have been outside the political parties altogether.
That’s a real Tea Party and the only path to lasting reform.
San Francisco: The Worst-Run City in the U.S.
Spend more. Get less. We’re the city that knows how.
“Finding books in the library is easy: There are logical, organized systems in place. Finding where the money to build libraries went — that’s hard. Last year, the Civil Grand Jury could not find — we reiterate, could not find — up-to-date budget numbers for the city’s Branch Library Improvement Program.”
In 2002, the San Francisco Chronicle revealed that the city had, for decades, been siphoning nearly $700 million from its Hetch Hetchy water system into the San Francisco General Fund instead of maintaining the aging aqueduct…By 2002, the water system was in such desperate condition that voters were asked to pass a $3.6 billion bond measure to make overdue fixes. Obligingly, they did — who doesn’t like water? Since then, theprojected costs have swelled by $1 billion. So far.
After securing the bond funding to save Laguna Honda as a hospital for the elderly, the Department of Public Health began transferring younger, often dangerous and mentally ill patients there and mixing them among the old people. This went about as well as you’d think: A 2006 state and federal licensing survey noted numerous instances of elder abuse, staff abuse, and patients toting drugs, alcohol, and even loaded weapons. One patient was assaulted four times in four months; to address this problem, staff erected signs reading “No Hitting.” (That didn’t work.)
In 2007, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) held a seminar for the nonprofits vying for a piece of $78 million in funding. Grant seekers were told that in the next funding cycle, they would be required — for the first time — to provide quantifiable proof their programs were accomplishing something. The room exploded with outrage. This wasn’t fair.
Job protection for even the most obviously unfit Muni workers is among the strongest in the city. Peskin had proposed increasing the percentage of employees who could be fired for incompetence from 1.5 to 10 percent. But if that provision were included in the measure, union reps said, they would flood the “No on A” campaign with money and volunteers. “This is a union town,” one transit worker warned. “And we expect it to stay that way.”
(And it goes on and on. If you ever wondered the results of liberal mindset and impractical socialist policies in government, here it is. Amazingly, Democrats keep getting elected there and are unchallenged for the most part.)
(Read the rest, it’ll make you ill.)
Despite its good intentions, San Francisco is not leading the country in gay marriage. Despite its good intentions, it is not stopping wars. Despite its spending more money per capita on homelessness than any comparable city, its homeless problem is worse than any comparable city’s. Despite its spending more money per capita, period, than almost any city in the nation, San Francisco has poorly managed, budget-busting capital projects, overlapping social programs no one is certain are working, and a transportation system where the only thing running ahead of schedule is the size of its deficit.
It’s time to face facts: San Francisco is spectacularly mismanaged and arguably the worst-run big city in America. This year’s city budget is an astonishing $6.6 billion — more than twice the budget for the entire state of Idaho — for roughly 800,000 residents. Yet despite that stratospheric amount, San Francisco can’t point to progress on many of the social issues it spends liberally to tackle — and no one is made to answer when the city comes up short.
The city’s ineptitude is no secret. “I have never heard anyone, even among liberals, say, ‘If only [our city] could be run like San Francisco,'” says urbanologist Joel Kotkin. “Even other liberal places wouldn’t put up with the degree of dysfunction they have in San Francisco. In Houston, the exact opposite of San Francisco, I assume you’d get shot.”
(click here for the entire report)
I posted this article from a few days ago which reported that test scores from a huge majority of the students in the Detroit Public Schools were essentially the worst in the history of such testing. The article documents the disbelief by some educators that the scores were what could be expected if students had merely guessed at most of the answers.
Although I did not make the connection overtly in the post, my intention was to show that areas suffering under the control of liberal Democrats- and that have been for years in many cases- are utterly dysfunctional in almost every aspect.
In the urban areas of America-and I live in one-the Democratic Party has ruled pretty much unopposed for a long time. Since many of those places have been in a seemingly unstoppable death spiral since the 1960s, perhaps it is time that these people-the Democrats- take some responsibility for the consequences of the bad ideas they like to impose on the rest of us.
Yeah. I know. I’m dreaming.
But, there is cause and effect. And one of the purposes of this blog is to document the effects of bad, left-wing ideas and the nature of their fallout.
It happens all the time, but the liberal advocacy media (LAME, or the entity that used be known as the mainstream press) is incapable of noticing these things for what they are.
Once in a while though, things get so bad that even the LAME has to look into the affairs of the local Democratic Party junta and write what it sees.
It appears that this is happening in Philadelphia, as the Philadelphia Inquirer has had enough of the crime rate there and did some good ol’ fashion gumshoeing about it.
The result is a four-part series that looks into the reasons why “Killadelphia” which has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country, also has one of the worst conviction rates.
The Inquirer inaugurates its series with an editorial called A National Disgrace. It begins:
Often after a heinous murder or a police shooting in Philadelphia, the suspect is found to have a lengthy criminal record or an outstanding warrant for another crime. That prompts many to ask: “Why wasn’t this creep in jail?”
A four-part series that begins in The Inquirer today answers that question. It details a criminal justice system practically built to perpetuate crime, rather than stop it. Thugs go on committing crimes until they escalate into murder.
Police may do a good job of capturing suspects, but after that comes the revolving door. Various breakdowns in the legal system enable thousands of suspects to go free.
What is incredible about this editorial is that the Inquirer not only dismisses the excuses of the City’ s ineffectual liberal Democrat District Attorney, Lynn Abraham, they lay much of the blame at her doorstep. The paper found that the conviction rate for violent crimes in the city was a meager 20 percent. Abraham, who has been the D.A. for eighteen years disputes those numbers. The Inquirer responds:
District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham disputes The Inquirer’s findings regarding the low conviction rate compared with that in other cities. However, Abraham – who has been the DA for 18 years – has failed to keep her own records that could benchmark the office’s results.
Then after listing the many ways that the city’s criminal justice system is failing, the paper finishes by revealing its relief that Abraham’s tenure as D.A. has come to an end.
An overhaul of the court system isn’t easy, since there are so many disconnected parts. But much of the burden for leading the reform could come from the DA’s office.
It’s good for the city that Abraham did not run for reelection and will leave office next month. It will be up to incoming DA Seth Williams to bring real change.
A fresh approach to managing and tracking cases could boost convictions and reduce the number of cases that get dismissed. But broader reforms are also needed to fix a broken system.
A quick review of Abraham’s biography reveals that she is part of a gun regulation group, that she criticized the Catholic Church about the molestation scandals long after they were over, and she was a Pennsylvania delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2004, where she cast her vote for Kerry, and in 2008 casting her vote for Obama. I would have thought that a person with those kind of progressive credentials would have made her untouchable to the LAME.
Maybe the LAME will start waking up to the fact that most of America’s problems are within its urban areas where the Democratic Party has ruled for a long time. You wonder, though, if they’ll ever get around to asking the obvious questions, like we do here at the intrepid Conservativepolicynews blog.
Some of the comments left by online readers of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial are priceless by the way. I reproduce some of my favorites below for your entertainment.
Societal decay. Acts that people used to be ashamed of, are now celebrated. Kids out of wedlock with multiple fathers seems common and ok today. 14-year old mothers pushing baby carriages is commonplace and not given a second glance. Being a single mothers is normal and bragged about like it should be rewarded. Going to jail seems to be a badge of honor. Having warrants is the norm for some people. Bad credit seems to be acceptable. Drug addiction is a “disease” and is accepted as easily as the common cold. Boys walking around with their butts hanging out of their pants is now normal. Unemployeed men being taken care of by a bevy of naive women is the norm. It just never ends. This once great country, like the Roman Empire eventually did, is falling, and it will be a Third World
Fetus found in gift box,Texas couple charged
SAN JUAN, Texas (AP) – Authorities allege a south Texas couple put an aborted 7-month-old fetus in a gift box under a Christmas tree after trying to flush the remains down a toilet.
Thirty-one-year-old Ruby Lee Medina and 37-year-old Javier Gonzalez are jailed on abuse of corpse and tampering with evidence charges. Bond is set at $20,000 each.
A woman at the San Juan city jail says she can’t say whether either has retained an attorney.
San Juan Police Chief Juan Gonzalez says police found the fetus inside the woman’s trailer home Thursday after an anonymous tip.
Gonzalez says police believe the woman used pills to induce an abortion, then called an ambulance and said she didn’t know where the fetus was.
Gonzalez says the couple first tried to flush the fetus, then cleaned it up and put in the gift box.
While I was in law school I started a now defunct blog that I called Shadowlands. The purpose of the blog was to reveal the larger philosophical and political implications of everyday news and current events . Like I try to do with this blog, Shadowlands made an attempt to take unknown but nonetheless dramatic stories which make a larger point about the culture and the sometimes mad, corrupt reality of the age of decline in which we live.
In an introduction to the blog I wrote the following:
Why did I choose this name for the new Shadowlands Blog I have created? One could say it is an obvious reference to C.S. Lewis and the movie made about his life, Shadowlands. In the movie, C.S. Lewis is questioning the meaning of the grief he suffers after the death of his wife, Joy Gresham Lewis, and he asks:
“Why am I so afraid? I never knew her love could hurt so much, and I love you and all I want is to love you. Beyond every door I hear your voice saying to me, ‘This is only the land of shadows. Real life hasn’t begun yet.'”
As the movie shows, C.S. Lewis’ life was outwardly very quiet and conservative and yet he possessed a great spiritual inner life, making him one of the most popular apologists for Christianity in the 20th Century. His literary output is striking and documents the incredibly humble, yet ultimately reasonable journey of a modern Christian pilgrim confronted with the erosion and denunciation of faith everywhere in the modern world.
This was not only conveyed through his more philosophical tracts, but through his popular fiction, like The Chronicles of Narnia series. In that work, four children found that they could pass from the everyday world, where their lives were filled with unhappiness and dread, through to a different, more interesting land. This new land, Narnia, while in the throes of a dark age, was one that immediately offered a lot more to the children than the world they had left behind.
After various trials and realizations they found that Narnia’s Dark Age was not that at all. Rather, Narnia was waiting for them to accept its reality, which was a magic that the world they left behind had blinded them to. Thus, the real world, or the world we know, was considered the Shadowlands; a place where we exist incomplete and depthless, unaware of the deep strains of meaning and reality that lie just beyond our perception.
Although I do not pretend to be so ambitious on this blog as to be able to reveal deep inner civilizational truths, I do realize that there are many things that happen in the world that are not inherently political or necessarily ideological, but may have ties to larger political trends. I do believe that if one has the courage to see, that it can be proven that civilization is in a state of utter decline and has left many people more depressed and dispirited than they realize.
While this may be an economic and spiritual reality, it is also a political one, for it is only through politics and the struggle for survival that the future of man is formed. When one sees through the broad yet tragic eyes of conservatism, it is very difficult not to see a world that is heading towards a future of massive Soviet-style enforced poverty and authoritarianism. For as Edmund Burke proclaimed in his letter to William Elliot in 1795 on the French Revolution, a centralizing government dedicated to behavioral reform falsely believes it can control both the population and command its passionate allegiance. With the experience of the violent corruption of the early French Revolution, Burke concludes this only leads to tyranny:
But now the veil was torn, and to keep off sacrilegious intrusion, it was necessary that in the sanctuary of government something should be disclosed not only venerable, but dreadful. Government was at once to shew itself full of virtue and full of force. It was to invite partizans by making it appear to the world that a generous cause was to be asserted; one fit for a generous people to engage in. From passive submission was it to expect resolute defence? No! It must have warm advocates and passionate defenders, which an heavy, discontented acquiescence never could produce. What a base and foolish thing is it for any consolidated body of authority to say, or to act as if it said, “I will put my trust not in my own virtue, but in your patience; I will indulge in effeminacy, in indolence, in corruption; I will give way to all my perverse and vitious humours, because you cannot punish me without the hazard of ruining yourselves?”
So, if massive failure is on the horizon, there must be something evident in the present state of affairs that portends this breakdown. That is where the idea of the Shadowlands comes in. I believe, through that sick feeling I’ve been having in my gut for the past few years, that evidence of massive failure is all around us, we need only have the courage to look. Evil, often to be an outmoded concept is the best explanation for those things threaten the ordering of society. Out on the fringes of culture in the little stories of of human debasement, incredible ineptitude and callousness civilizational decline is quite evident.
And it is necessary at this point is to document it.
Conservative blogger Steve Sailer has started on this grim task. At his blog, he has been documenting the stories of odd crimes related to the subprime mortgage crisis. He has posted this eerie story about prominent Los Angeles attorney Jeffrey Tidus, who was shot in the head last week in his own driveway after going out to his car to retrieve a laptop.
According to LA Weekly, there were rumors inside the legal community about the nature of Tidus’ death. The newspaper reported that “he was killed just hours after top executives at a firm Tidus represented, New Century Financial, were accused of fraud by federal regulators.”
On December 11, 2009 the Los Angeles declared that the Tidus case was indeed ruled a homicide.
Sailer has also posted this tale emanating from California as well, about a thwarted break-in by four armed men at the home of a sub-prime mortgage lender. The lender, Daniel Sadek was a used car salesman with a 3rd grade education, turned subprime mortgage lender, turned Hollywood producer. The men were caught, but the Sadek’s story raises further suspicions about the crime.
According to the Orange County Register, Daniel Sadek made and lost a fortune in the subprime mortgage industry. He apparently wrote almost $4billion in loans before his company went bust in 2007. Sadek was a high roller in Vegas while he was doing well and even produced the film Redline starring his girlfriend at the time, Nadia Borjin, and his friend, comedian Eddie Griffin.
In May 2007, Sadek’s company, Quick Loan, had been accused of predatory lending, deceptive underwriting and fraud in at least eight lawsuits. In September, 2009, Vanity Fair ranked Sadek No. 86 on a list of institutions and people most to blame for the nation’s economic problems. The magazine called him “Predator Zero in the subprime-mortgage game,” and quoted a competitor saying he “would have written a loan to ‘an insolvent arsonist.'”
According to documents filed in July 2009 by his attorney, Sadek has been under medical care for an “extreme panic disorder” and has been regularly taking “substantial doses” of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.
Of course, I know you want me to close with some Rod Serling type “moral of the story” Twilight Zone comment. But this post has been long and all I have to say is that our Shadowlands are not the distant places of the imagination and the purview only of the disaffected, isolated, paranoid and criminal. They are closing in around us and threaten to engulf our sanity and the public life.
Events of the last year have made these appear the most insane of times in recent memory. Only by traveling through the Shadowlands and embracing the fact of inevitable decline can we even begin to have any hope in reversing it. When the public resists the attempts by statist saviors and elitist social revolutionaries to infantilize it, and becomes a body politic of adults, it is embracing the magic of democracy and the promise of liberty. If it accepts that reversing decline will involve some pain and sacrifice it will preserve for itself a heroic mantle in the lore of history.
Much like the children who found Narnia oppressed by a dark age, this ennobled public will find that the Republic they save was only declining because they neglected it or because they did not know such vistas of democracy existed.
Their country has always been waiting for them to wake up and decide it was worth the effort. And once awakened and energized, they will find that they have it within them to produce a new golden age.
The budget crisis that has been afflicting California for the past year has been headline news. Because of it, California should be the symbol for the failure of the welfare state and centralized planning as over-generous social programs, a bloated bureaucracy, and the disproportionate influence of public employee unions has bled the government dry and brought it to the brink. In the past year, there have been many so many extreme measures taken by the California government that it is has been hard to follow. In order to make up a budge shortfall that is predicted to reach over $40 billion by 2010, California has had to do the following from 11/08 to the present:
-Furlough of all public employees for three days every month.
-Eliminate Columbus Day and Lincoln Holidays
-Asked the Federal government to back state bank-guaranteed notes, Obama refused, thus lowering California’s credit rating, making it harder to obtain much-needed loans.
-With its credit rating lowered, California began issuing IOUs in order to meet its short-term financial obligations.
-Has promised to release 37,000 prisoners from the state’s prisons.
-Has cut thousands of jobs from education and health care.
All this has caused a massive exodus of business leaving the once mythical state of unfettered personal freedom, spiritual exploration, and endless sunshine to fall into an unemployment rate that is now at 12.3%; one of the highest in the United States.
Then there’s Texas.
As a poll in Chief Executive magazine found, Texas was the best place in the United States to do business. (Guess which one was the worst? Yep, California.) Also, amidst a national recession, with the national average rate of unemployment near 10.5%, Texas had positive job growth in October 2009 and has kept their unemployment rate below the national avg., with the highest being reported at 8.3%. Many Texas economists and businessmen believe that they have hit the bottom this year and are expecting sustained job growth for 2010.
According to two separate studies, one by the Brookings Institution and one by Forbes magazine, the 5 top job-creating cities in America are located in Texas.
And, of course,Texas had a $11 million budget surplus for fiscal 2009.
The difference in the economic trajectories for these states generally goes unreported, I believe, because they show the strength of fiscal conservatism and the utter failure of liberal economics.
This is confirmed by an article Trends Magazine and reviewed by Tony Gattis at newgeography blog. The article asks the question: What’s wronmg with California and what’s right with Texas? Gattis says, “It really comes down to four fundamental differences in the value systems embodied in these states:”
First, Texans on average believe in laissez-faire markets with an emphasis on individual responsibility. Since the ’80s, California’s policy-makers have favored central planning solutions and a reliance on a government social safety net. This unrelenting commitment to big government has led to a huge tax burden and triggered a mass exodus of jobs. The Trends Editors examined the resulting migration in “Voting with Our Feet,” in the April 2008 issue of Trends.
Second, Californians have largely treated environmentalism as a “religious sacrament” rather than as one component among many in maximizing people’s quality of life. As we explained in “The Road Ahead for Housing,” in the June 2009 issue of Trends, environmentally-based land-use restriction centered in California played a huge role in inflating the recent housing bubble. Similarly, an unwillingness to manage ecology proactively for man’s benefit has been behind the recent epidemic of wildfires.
Third, California has placed “ethnic diversity” above “assimilation,” while Texas has done the opposite. “Identity politics” has created psychological ghettos that have prevented many of California’s diverse ethnic groups and subcultures from integrating fully into the mainstream. Texas, on the other hand, has proactively encouraged all the state’s residents to join the mainstream.
Fourth, beyond taxes, diversity, and the environment, Texas has focused on streamlining the regulatory and litigation burden on its residents. Meanwhile, California’s government has attempted to use regulation and litigation to transfer wealth from its creators to various special-interest constituencies.
Gattis says the article also has six forecasts for both states:
- …expect to see California’s loss of jobs to Nevada accelerate…
- …expect to see a backlash in California and across the country against regulations, especially green initiatives that can’t clearly demonstrate a positive ROI…
- Watch for the smart money, including venture capital, to begin migrating to Texas for start-ups in many areas, including energy, info-tech, manufacturing, and biotech. Just as Delaware’s tax laws once encouraged numerous businesses to incorporate there, even when they had no connection to the state, Texas will become a magnet for new businesses by offering cheap land, a favorable regulatory environment, a business-friendly culture, and a large supply of skilled labor. Unless California revamps dramatically, expect to see its economy languish, even as the recovery takes off.
- To make its business climate even more business-friendly, Texas will invest heavily in secondary education and work hard to attract the best talent to its research universities (note the recent Tier 1 proposition and funding). Keep an eye especially on the University of Texas, which already has a first-rate campus and faculty. Within 10 years, UT, as the locals call it, may well rival Stanford or Berkeley.
- Other states will adopt tort reform measures pioneered in Texas. Unlike California and most other states, Texas has been aggressive in minimizing the enormous burden of frivolous lawsuits…
- Look to Texas to become a cutting-edge cultural mecca. Houston has always offered a vibrant cultural scene, ever since the Alley theater company was founded there in 1947 by Nina Eloise Whittington Vance. In the 1950s, John and Dominique de Menil moved to Houston with one of the most significant private collections of art in the world and began donating art and money to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Both institutions have grown to world-class status since then. In the coming years, this trend will spread to the major cities of Texas (take that, Dallas!), attracting the best talent and money and shifting the cultural balance of the nation away from New York and San Francisco.