“The income gap between rich and poor tends to be wider in blue states than in red states.” More: “Texas has a lower Gini coefficient (.477) and a lower poverty rate (20.5%) than California (Gini coefficient .482, poverty rate 25.8%).” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
Perhaps the biggest crack in the “Blue State” model this month was a state superior court judge ruling that California’s teacher protection laws were illegal, because they violated the equal protection clause for students. How the Vergara vs. California decision plays out on appeal is anyone’s guess, but just recognizing that union contracts that keep crummy teachers employed harms students is a huge step forward.
New California payroll and pensions numbers are now available. “The data shows that public compensation in California is growing more out of control, threatening the solvency of the state and local governments.” Let’s take a look at a few locales, shall we?
The California town of Guadalupe considers bankruptcy. One problem is that the town has been illegally transfering money from dedicated funds (like water bills) to general funds. “If voters do not pass three new taxes in November, Guadalupe is expected to disband its police and fire departments, enter bankruptcy or disincorporate, meaning it would cease to exist as a city.”
Los Angeles 2020 Commission goes over what changes the city needs to avoid a future where “40% of the population lives in ‘what only can be called misery,’ ‘strangled by traffic’ and hamstrung by a ‘failing’ school system.” Response? “Meh.”
“California continues to lead in disincentives for growth businesses to stay.”
“California’s attitude toward business makes you question why anyone would build a business there.”
“California could hardly do more to discourage business if that was the goal. The regulatory, tax and political environment are crushing.”
California Governor Jerry Brown unveils a budget that takes baby steps toward actual pension and budget reform. Naturally Brown’s fellow Democrats in the state legislature are fighting him every step of the way.
Then factors that appear to explain from 13 percent to 30 percent of the differences in trust among the states: rate of union membership,with more trust in states with lower union membership; state’s level of soft tyranny, a measure of the power of state government over its people; percentage of state and local taxes as a share of income, with lower taxes leading to more trust; the right to keep and bear arms, with citizens trusting a government that trusts them to defend themselves; a business-friendly lawsuit climate; the days the legislature is in session, with less trust as the legislature approaches full-time; and the average commute time, with less time spent in traffic leading to more trust.
Lastly, a combination of from two to four of the previous factors correlates to 34 to 41 percent of the trust in each state with a mix of four: taxes, gun rights, lawsuit reform and commute time, showing the highest link to trust. Comparatively speaking, Texas lawmakers have done well in these four areas of public policy.
When building trust in state government, enacting liberty-minded legislation is a good place to start.
But it isn’t all sunshine in Texas Local debt continues to rise, though Eanes School District voters finally decide that they’ve had enough and defeat a bond proposal.
This makes Perry objectively more pro-legalization that former frequent choom-abuser Barack Obama.
This will be a great surprise to people who know Perry only from the liberal caricature of him in their head, or who haven’t been following the intellectual debate among conservatives, which has leaned toward the “legalize it, regulate it and tax it” position for almost a quarter century now.
Perry has been a staunch supporter of the Tenth Amendment and States Rights. To reiterate what I’ve said before, I oppose the War on Drugs for reasons of general principles (it’s not the purpose of government to save people from themselves), the specific application of constitutional federalism (the Commerce Clause should not apply to the regulation of drugs manufactured and sold within the confines of a single state), and for reasons of budgetary philosophy (making drugs illegal has expanded the size and power of the federal government while increasing the budget deficit; legalizing, regulating and taxing drugs would reduce both the deficit and the harm to individuals and society). My position is not uncommon among conservatives, Republicans, or members of the Tea Party.
So liberals: Stop acting shocked when conservatives come out for decriminalization and legalization. The only reason it is a shock is that you refuse to listen.
Moreover, Texas Republican state representative Jason Villalba has invited them to come on over to Texas.
Villalba, who has been in office for a little under a year, happens to be a Sriracha fan, but he’s looking to move the company for more than personal reasons. He notes in his letter that in Texas there are no personal or corporate state income taxes and a plentiful non-union labor pool. He also mentions that Forbes Magazine named Texas the best climate in the country to grow a business.
“The great state of Texas would welcome you and your employees with open arms if you would consider moving…” reads the letter. “…Texas could provide you with exactly what you need to continue to grow, build and maximize the opportunities of Huy Fong Foods.”
No word on whether they’re considering moving or not, but plenty of California businesses have already relocated from California’s failing blue state model to Texas’ booming economy, so it’s certainly possible…
Bloomberg’s health crusade is so unusual because it embraces a political mode usually associated with the right. Conservatives favor regulation of vice and personal behavior, especially related to sex, because they believe that the state has a legitimate role in shaping the culture. Traditional social values, they believe, undergird stable families and a well-functioning community. Liberals traditionally want to remove the government from regulating personal behavior and to deploy it only in the economic realm.
That quote might have had some nodding relationship to reality in, oh, 1980 or so. But it’s certainly not conservatives who have been pushing to:
Ban civilian firearms ownership
Increase tobacco taxes
Ban incandescent light bulbs
Force Catholics to pay for abortions
Ban “high flow” toilets
Ban “hate speech”
Ban plastic bags
Ban crosses and managers on public land
Ban liquor stores in black neighborhoods
Ban talk radio
Ban government use of the word “Christmas”
Ban SUVs, or any other vehicle that get insufficiently “virtuous” gas mileage
Ban genetically modified foods
Ban foie gras
And don’t forget that the “War on Drugs” was an extremely bipartisan affair, with Hubert Humphrey, Joe Biden and Tip O’Neil all among its enthusiastic backers.
The idea that modern (as opposed to classical) liberals “want to remove the government from regulating personal behavior” is a naked, vainglorious, self-flattering lie on Chait’s part, and only someone living in the coastal Liberal Reality Bubble could possibly type it with a straight face.
Florida stopped a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight between two consenting adults because they have disabilities. Garrett Holeve is a 23-year-old with Down’s Syndrome, while 28-year-old David Steffin has cerebral palsy.
Here’s a profile of Holeve:
Should Flordia allow an adult with Downs Syndrome to fight in an MMA event?
It appears on the surface that this is a hard case, given that MMA blows could reduce Holeve’s already diminished mental capacity. But it’s really not:
Is Holeve a free adult citizen of the United States? If so, he’s free to make up his own mind.
If Holeve is not a free adult, but is a ward of his parents, it is up to them to give their consent. As the above video makes clear, his father has determined that the benefits Garrett Holeve gets from MMA training and fighting (increased concentration and drive, greater physical well-being, etc.) outweigh the risk of injury.
Only if Garrett Holeve were a ward of the state of Florida should that state get to decide what he should do with his life. That is clearly not the case here.
If I had a Downs Syndrome son, I probably wouldn’t enroll him in an MMA program. But Garrett Holeve isn’t my son, and it’s not my call to make. Nor is it that of the state. The job of the state is not to protect people from themselves.
Good news for California: They got $5 billion more in revenues than they expected in January. The bad news? It was only “an accounting anomaly.”
California voters approved a few modest pension reforms last fall. Naturally, unions are sponsoring legislation to have them overturned.
Logic: “No amount of legal argument can sidestep the grim numbers facing San Bernardino. The City Council and employee unions alike should recognize a basic fiscal fact: The city will never climb out of bankruptcy without reining in personnel costs.” Unions: You and your oppressive math and logic can die in a fire.
One reason businesses flock to Texas from California is lawsuit reform. Texas has it, California doesn’t. “For decades, its leaders have consistently pursued policies that promote excessive litigation, making it among the most litigious states. These policies create obstacles for the new and small businesses that drive California’s economy and have allowed abusive lawsuits to delay or halt projects.”
The Economist sniffs that Texas’ spending restraint meant the state spent less than the could have. That’s not a bug, that’s a feature.
It’s always fun to watch liberals stub their toes against reality. This time around it’s JournoLista Matthew Yglesias who is shocked, shocked to discover that trying to start a small business (in his case renting out a spare house) is wrapped up in bureaucratic red tape. When this was pointed out to him on Twitter, he protested that he had often complained about local government red tape. Fine and dandy, but why is he such an enthusiast for big government at the federal level?
His dichotomy of thought seems to suggest there are several blind-spots in his understanding of economics (a rather significant drawback for a journalist who regularly write about economics). Watching him fail to draw the obvious conclusions on the baleful effect of big government on small business is almost priceless in its cluelessness. Let’s discuss a few of the many, many ideas that never seemed to have occurred to him, shall we?
In ways big and small, every single day is like what Yglesias described for small business dealing with big government.
Trudging between bureaucrats, Yglesias should have thought to himself: “ObamaCare will be 1000 times worse for small business than this.” Because it will be. But of course he can’t do that, given what a cheerleader he is for ObamaCare and how he belittled business owner concerns. But it’s always different when it happens to you.
The idea that red tape scales (at a minimum) with the size of government does not seem to have occurred to him.
And excessive red tape begets excessive local red tape complying with federal mandates.
He complains that the process he had to go through could have been made more efficient. What does he think all those Democratic patronage machine jobs are for?
If he’s been writing about economics for years, but is just now discovering the problems of how big government slows down business, you wonder: Does he never get out of DC? He could have picked up the phone and talked to real business owners who work outside the Liberal Reality Bubble and discovered all this many many years ago.
Bureaucratic inefficiencies are much like cockroaches: for every instance you see, there are thousands you don’t. And just like cockroaches, they swarm and multiply off in the dark while you’re not looking.
I’m going to bet that Yglesias has never read James Q. Wilson’s Bureaucracy.
And yet there’s a certain perverse pleasure in watching Yglesias wrestle with the problems of big government and not draw the obvious conclusion. It’s like watching a man hold the 6th piece of a 6-piece jigsaw puzzle, look back and forth between the piece and hole and declare “I just don’t understand!” It’s like watching a blind man suddenly given sight and see the elephant he had been feeling for the first time in his life, then resolutely put on opaque glasses and mutter “No, that can’t be it.” Or like Butt-Head trying to figure out what happened to his TV:
He can’t figure it out because he won’t let himself figure it out. Too much of his own self-love is tied up in the notion that he’s good because he’s a liberal, and liberals are good because big government is good in and of itself. For every maddening piece of red tape, somewhere out there was a Matthew Yglesias who thought that having government run and regulate something was just a swell idea.
You do it to yourself, you do. And that’s what really hurts…
Lots of news in the world of guns and the Second Amendment today, so here’s a quick lunchtime roundup:
So Obama has issued his executive orders on guns. The good news is that the Executive Orders themselves are not nearly as bad as many feared, at least on the surface. But remember that if you give Obama a constitutional inch, he’ll take an unconstitutional mile. His requested legislation, with restoration of the cosmetic Clinton-era “assault weapons” ban and other such mischief, are a different kettle of fish, but I’m cautiously optimistic that none of them will pass muster in the Republican House.
Cracked, of all places, offers up a dose of perspective. “Gun violence has, generally speaking, been working out pretty spiffy for us.” The writer’s suggestions are as useless as the “Assault Weapon” ban, but are at least less harmful.
An average of 22 children a year are killed on school buses or in bus loading zones. Where’s the outcry for bus safety?