California continues to suffer from drought while central Texas just suffered through torrential rains. Time for another Texas vs. California update:
Archive for the ‘Budget’ Category
I could roll this up into the next California vs. Texas update, but I thought this Texas Public Policy Foundation paper by Vance Ginn on why Texas’ low tax, low regulation model generates prosperity was meaty enough to be worth a separate post.
The Texas model has been touted as an approach to governance that other states and Washington, D.C. would be wise to follow. This approach promotes individual freedom through lower taxes and spending, less regulation, fewer frivolous lawsuits, and reduced federal government interference. Does this Texas restatement of the unalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” actually promote freedom, prosperity, and jobs when compared to the largest states and U.S. averages?
To answer this question, this paper (in most cases) compares various measures in California, Texas, New York, and Florida—the states with the largest populations and economic output—and U.S. averages during the last 15 years. Five fiscal measures of economic freedom and government intervention for these states show that Texas generally leads the pack as the most free with the least government intrusion. Eight measures of the labor market indicate that Texas provides the best opportunities to find a job. Five measures of income distribution and poverty show that Texas leads in most categories with a more equal income distribution and less poverty despite fewer redistributionary policies than these large states, particularly California and New York.
Though a mere 15 pages, the paper offers up an in-depth survey of various economic metrics and studies, where Texas repeatedly comes out on top, and New York and California repeatedly come in last and second-to-last.
A few more tidbits:
Read the whole thing.
I may spend a lot of time covering California, but don’t forget that Illinois is broke as well, and will temporarily stop making pension payments. This has come about because Democrats in the state legislature refuse to implement new Republican Governor’s Bruce Rauner demanded (and long-overdue) reforms, preferring to continue their merry corrupt tax-and-spend ways.
Keep in mind that Illinois already has a $105 billion unfunded pension liability.
Illinois, of course, is still controlled by the combine, which is to say big-spending Democrats firmly committed to an expansive welfare state and Republicans determined to go along with it in the name of staying in office.
Now comes word that they’re not even paying lottery winners more than $600.
Without reform, Illinois will inch closer to the inevitable welfare state endgame we’ve seen in Greece: Too many people sucking at the government teat, not enough taxpayers to support them, and a free-spending political class unwilling to implement real reform because it clashes with their liberal political self-interest.
“Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned on Thursday, hoping to strengthen his hold on power in snap elections after seven months in office in which he fought Greece’s creditors for a better bailout deal but had to cave in.”
Turns out promising free ice cream, only to deliver expensive rotted cabbage, wasn’t popular with Greek voters.
Nor were his actions popular with members of his own party, 25 of whom have broken off to form the new National Unity Party, who will evidently return to the “demand free ice cream and insist others pay for it” strategy Tsipras abandoned in the face of the sinister force know as reality.
On the plus side, Greece just used it’s new bailout fund to make a debt payment to the European Central Bank for the last batch of money it borrowed to prop up its unsustainable welfare state.
We’re in that happy honeymoon period after Greece gets more money and before Eurocrats are shocked, shocked that Greece’s economy is still a festering pile of fail that all those and promised economic reforms haven’t actually been implemented.
Give it another six to nine months…
So I haven’t done a Greek update in a while, since after Greece caved into the inevitable (Newsflash: broke people generally do not have leverage over those lending them money), it was all over but the shouting. Now that Greece and its creditors supposedly have a third bailout deal inked, and Greece settles into its clearly defined misery, let’s take a look at exceptionally bankrupt Greece these days, shall we?
Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:
“Thanks to our low-tax, low-regulation environment that allows all businesses to thrive, the State of Texas has become the national leader for technology job creation, and we continue to attract tech companies from around the country and around the world,” [Governor Greg] Abbott said. “On behalf of the State of Texas, I am pleased to welcome LiveOps to the Lone Star State as the company seeks to transform cloud-based customer service. With their help, the State of Texas can, and will, continue to lead the nation in job creation within the technology sector.”
While not unexpected, this certainly isn’t good news for the global economy. “The commonwealth paid a mere $628,000 toward a $58 million debt bill due Monday to creditors of its Public Finance Corporation. This will hurt the island’s residents, not Wall Street. The debt is mostly owned by ordinary Puerto Ricans through credit unions.” That’s like Johnny Boy paying $10 on his $2,000 debt in Mean Streets.
It doesn’t help that Puerto Rico has the U.S. minimum wage and relatively generous welfare benefits. “Less than half of working age males are employed, [and] 35 percent of the island’s residents are on food stamps.”
There are plenty of free market solutions to Puerto Rico’s problems, but those are precisely the ones the Obama Administration won’t let be enacted…
The self-inflicted destruction of Greece has been accomplished, but they’re still going to be picking up the pieces for years, if not decades. And there’s no guarantee the heavy manners Germany and the troika are imposing will actually be enough to rescue it.
So, enjoy a random collection of Greek headlines, since I don’t quite have time to pen a piece on The Greater Meaning Of It All:
Many observers are wondering how the left-populist renegades of Greece’s Syriza party, which rose to power in January on the promise of delivering relief from austerity and renewed its mandate with a massive victory in the July 5 referendum, managed to negotiate a bailout deal on Monday that is substantially worse than what was available to Greece before Syriza took office.
That would be because they were idiots who lied to voters about what they could accomplish.
After six months of jerking around European negotiators, Greece’s far left Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras finally reaped the fruits of his labors: caving in to austerity measures far worse than the ones Greek voters rejected a week ago in exchange for more loans.
The EU demanded real, demonstrable, non-fake, under-heavy-manners austerity from Greece, rather than the fake kind they were used to pretending to follow:
For those who missed today’s festivities in Brussels, here is the 30,000 foot summary: Europe has given Greece a “choice”: hand over sovereignty to
GermanyEurope or undergo a 5 year Grexit “time out”, which is a polite euphemism for get the hell out.
As noted earlier, here are the 12 conditions laid out as a result of the latest Eurogroup meeting, which are far more draconian than anything presented to Greece yet and which effectively require that Greece cede sovereignty to Europe, this time even without the implementation of a technocratic government.
- Streamlining VAT
- Broadening the tax base
- Sustainability of pension system
- Adopt a code of civil procedure
- Safeguarding of legal independence for Greece ELSTAT – the statistics office
- Full implementation of automatic spending cuts
- Meet bank recovery and resolution directive
- Privatize electricity transmission grid
- Take decisive action on non-performing loans
- Ensure independence of privatization body TAIPED
- De-Politicize the Greek administration
- Return of the Troika to Athens (the paper calls them the institutions… for now)
Greece must also hand over €50 billion in assets to an escrow fund it can’t control.
Just think: If Tsipras hadn’t been such an ass, Greece could have reached a far-less onerous deal to continue the farce another year or so, and probably before their banks started running out of money.
It seems that Yanis Varoufakis’ ideas about game theory don’t work when one side holds all the cards and the other is dead broke. Who knew?