Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Too Californian to fail

William Voegeli in the LATimes: "Between April 1, 2000, and June 30, 2007, an average of 3,247 more people moved out of California than into it every week, according to the Census Bureau. Over the same period, Texas had a net weekly population increase of 1,544....According to a report issued earlier this year by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., Texas students 'are, on average, one to two years of learning ahead of California students of the same age,' even though per-pupil expenditures on public school students are 12% higher in California. The details of the Census Bureau data show that Texas not only spends its citizens' dollars more effectively than California but emphasizes priorities that are more broadly beneficial. Per capita spending on transportation was 5.9% lower in California, and highway expenditures in particular were 9.5% lower, a discovery both plausible and infuriating to any Los Angeles commuter."

Voegeli elaborates in the City Journal: "Aside from Louisiana and Mississippi, which lost population to other states because of Hurricane Katrina, California is the only Sunbelt state that had negative net internal migration after 2000. All the other states that lost population to internal migration were Rust Belt basket cases, including New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Michigan, and Ohio."

He's not arguing for lower taxes. Voegeli seems to believe that governments truly can act responsibly with huge sums of money even though he sees very little evidence of that. For Californians, this seems especially damning: "States that have grown accustomed to thinking of the engine that drives their economies as an inexhaustible resource—whether it’s Michigan and the auto industry, New York and Wall Street, or California and the vision of the sunlit good life that used to attract new residents—find it tough to compete again for what they thought would be theirs forever, and to plan budgets for lean years that turn into lean decades. Instead, they invest their hopes in a deus ex machina that will rescue them from the hard choices they dread."

The two articles together really could be used as campaign ads for Texas Governor Rick Perry.

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