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Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 934 -- Laboratories Of Democracy.

States Can Decide What Works For Themselves-

The Washington Examiner crafted an editorial going after Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley for seeking to implement a brand-spanking-new tax on Internet sales:

O'Malley's 2008 millionaire surtax was intended to raise the income tax bill of wealthy families by 32 percent and raise an extra $106 million in revenue. Instead, it prompted one-third of Maryland's top earners to leave the state, sending tax revenue plummeting by 22 percent. Instead of collecting that extra $106 million, O'Malley's blunder actually cost the state $257 million. The Wall Street Journal's analysis of federal tax-return data found that "Maryland lost $1 billion of its net tax base in 2008" from residents moving to other states. That means the millionaire tax is still costing local governments much-needed revenue.

.... it would be extremely burdensome to collect revenue for more than 8,000 taxing jurisdictions in the U.S. Texas Gov. Rick Perry vetoed such revenue-seeking legislation for precisely that reason.

Everybody but O'Malley can see where this is going. Just like the flight of the millionaires, an Internet tax will cost Marylanders dearly in jobs and business opportunities lost to more enlightened and business-friendly states.

Indeed, Maryland only didn't lose seats in Congress after the 2010 Census because it is adjacent to Washington, D.C., and Washington, D.C. and its outskirts have boomed as the Federal Government has literally, physically grown. But the rest of Maryland shows a strong propensity for outward domestic migration. Let's take Baltimore, for example (Baltimore, the city, seceded from Baltimore County, long ago, so let's look at both):


A clear outward trend. Texas cities have absorbed many of those economic refugees.

It is now easier to pack up and move hundreds or even thousands of miles away than it has ever been in human history. Americans can and do "vote with their feet" on the policies they like and don't like.

Even in an era before locomotives and paved multi-lane interstate highways, before jet air travel and the Internet, the American Founders drew up a system that limited Federal overreach and gave states profound independence. As mass media and ease of travel have made our society more interconnected and our culture more homogenous, it would be tempting to argue that regional autonomy is a quaint notion. On the contrary, laboratories of democracy may be more important than ever before.

The Keynesian moment may have peaked, rhetorically, when Richard Nixon declared "we're all Keynesians now" in 1971, but the past few years have really been Keynes' time to shine. Turns out, the Keynesian experiment didn't work at the national level.

A few states did better than others, though, in recent years. Texas, foremost, dominated in job growth and people moving with their feet.

Imagine if we didn't have the examples of Texas and Michigan to guide us? Without state-by-state examples of success and failure, we may just assume that America is in an inevitable decline. Instead, we know that collectivism fails and liberty succeeds. This applies not only to States in America but to nation-states of the world as well:

This is why the Tenth Amendment ("The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."), and having a necessarily and intentionally limited national government, are so vital to to this ongoing American experiment.

The reality should be obvious. Since 1960, Americans have rejected big labor and big government:


Unfortunately, even something as stark and unequivocal as this...

click for a bigger version

...is not obvious to people with a certain rigid "progressive" worldview. To hear liberals explain it, depending on their degree of cognitive dissonance, Texas is really a terrible place without jobs, or Texas has only thrived because of oil and because we have warm weather.

Indeed, "climate" or "weather" is often cited as an overriding reason why Texas is gaining population and jobs at the expense of those poor, cold places near Canada. These people have apparently never lived in Texas from about April through October. It's hot. It's either oppressively humid, East of I-35; or dry, dusty, and windy, West of I-35. We have by far more natural disasters-- more tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, dust storms, droughts, and wildfires-- than any other state in America:


Yes, we generally have great food and robust culture, and it's more often than not really nice outside from about Halloween through Valentine's Day, but many people choose Texas in spite of the weather or climate, not because of it. That's what makes the Texas economic success story that much more amazing.

Everyone should want to live in California, if beautiful scenery, gorgeous climate, and a diverse array of outdoor activities are your things. California is lush. It's fertile. The weather is just plain nice most of the year. Yes, they have mudslides and wildfires and earthquakes, too, but the whole state of California is really just a pleasant postcard waiting to happen.

Yet, despite strong foreign in-migration to the Golden State, it had such strong domestic out-migration in the 2000s that California won't be adding any Congressional seats or Electoral College votes for the first time ever as a state.

The Barack Obama model draws most strongly from the models found in California, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Illinois. High tax. Pro-big labor. Big government. Lots of regulation. They've generally lost far more jobs and people to domestic migration than the national averages.

The rest of the states shouldn't have to suffer under the failing one-size-fits-all policies of Obamanomics. And the struggling states shouldn't be subsidized or bailed out by the Federal Government and/or solvent states. Good ideas will win.

If we're confident in the power of our ideas, let's marginalize Washington, D.C. and let the states compete and drive policy everywhere toward what works-- economic liberty.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas' Economy Unequivocally Shines.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 28 June 2011 01:38 PM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 933 -- Texas' Economy Unequivocally Shines.

Texas Singlehandedly "Refudiates" Barack Obama's Entire Agenda; No Wonder Liberals Are In A Tizzy Trying To Knock It-

The establishment media see a threat to Barack Obama, their chosen one. While the nation remains mired in an President Obama-induced malaise, there is a place in the United States that has become the America of America. It's a place where private sector jobs are still being created. It's a place that, due to tremendous in-migration over the past decade, is gaining four all-important Electoral College votes, not to mention four new Congressional seats, at the expense of those states that lost their way.

There is still a land of opportunity in America, and it's called Texas.

No wonder, then, the establishment press, totally oblivious to facts, are out to paint Texas as some sort of failure of conservative economics. Whether or not Texas Governor Rick Perry does eventually decide to run against Barack Obama, it is the Texas limited government economic success story that single-handedly "refudiates" the entire Obama agenda.

While the nation has lost millions of jobs and generally been in a rut, Texas has remained resilient. From May 2006 to May 2011, Texas added more jobs than all other states combined:


The knock is usually that those are merely low-wage jobs. The truth? Some of those jobs are certainly low-wage jobs, of course, but Texas leads the nation in private sector wage growth in recent years. Texas also leads the nation in job growth in high-paying advanced industries like energy, manufacturing, aerospace, professional and business services, and financial activities.

CNN/NPR pundit Ruben Navarrette Jr. calls the Texas job story a "mirage." The New Repuplic calls the Texas economic miracle "phony." The Baltimore Sun calls the Texas economic resilience a "tall tale." The left-wing echo-chamber is loud and proud on this issue.

Back here in the real world, there's absolutely nothing phony or mythical about this:

click for a bigger version

Texas is the real deal. Liberals can just claim "myth" all they want, but the numbers speak for themselves.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Is America's Shining City On A Hill.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 27 June 2011 04:41 PM · Comments (0)

Weinergate Versus Obsessive Mark Foley Coverage.

Former Republican Congressman Mark Foley's vague sex scandal (no lewd photos, no specifics, apparently no physical contact; just that he sent awkward text messages to young male pages) in the Fall of 2006 garnered more news coverage in September and October of 2006 than terrorism and the war in Iraq combined. It was the issue, peddled by the establishment media, in the 2006 campaign.

Indeed, the major television networks filed 152 stories on Foley in less than two weeks. Compare that to Democrat Congressman Mel Reynolds, a convicted child sex abuser:


Anthony Weiner benefited from this same establishment media double standard, as well:

In the first 12 days of that story, the networks “flooded the zone” with 152 stories (55 evening stories and 97 morning stories or segments).

By contrast, Democrat Weiner’s weeks of trying to avoid resignation didn’t draw a similar flood. In the first 12 days of the Weiner scandal (from May 29 through June 9), the networks filed only 56 stories (just 11 in the evening, 45 in the morning).

This includes partial stories, like Brian Williams introducing the scandal in a disdainful 20-second brief near the end of the June 3 newscast, in the midst of a news potpourri from politics to actresses who’d died. Williams lamented it was “the kind of thing that used to be people’s own business.”


the networks were twice as intense on the Foley story, long after he resigned (152 stories in 12 days is more than 12.6 stories per day) than on the entire Weiner scandal up to the resignation speech (113 stories in 19 days is less than six stories per day).

[populist rant]Every tweet you make. Every Facebook update you post. Every blog post you write. Every video you upload. Every newspaper subscription you cancel. Every action you take to create content outside the establishment media echo chamber, and every moment you consume alternative content outside the unfair and unbalanced network and newspaper media sphere, takes us a step closer to ending these biased, elitist Thought Oligopolies once and for all. They. Must. Be. Destroyed.[/populist rant]

Posted by Will Franklin · 23 June 2011 02:51 PM · Comments (1)

Rock The Ivory Tower: Reform Higher Ed.

Recently, there has been a great deal of controversy in Texas higher ed, particularly at Texas A&M and The University of Texas, about whether tuition and taxpayer dollars are being spent as efficiently and transparently as they should be.

Students are graduating with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt and no great prospects for earning, and, increasingly, employers are saying that graduates are not even remotely prepared for the workplace.

Many professors and other faculty, it turns out, aren't really teaching that many, if any, classes. The excuse from the administration at our big public institutions is that they are busy researching. Research is a valuable endeavor (or can be, at least), but it turns out that only a tiny fraction of professors at UT are doing nearly all of the funded research.

Meanwhile, administrative staff and other overhead costs have continued to climb, and students and taxpayers just keep shoveling more and more money into the system, while taking on crippling levels of debt.

The question then turns to "excellence." It takes a lot of money and a lot of overhead and bureaucracy to create an excellent university, the thinking goes. Well, UT still has an embarrassingly low 4-year graduation rate, and both UT and A&M have not moved up in any significant way in any of those all-important national rankings over the past decade or so, even as their budgets have exploded.

Unfortunately, most media coverage on this issue has not really focused on affordability, transparency (isn't the press supposed to be pro-transparency?), accountability for tuition and tax dollars, or stagnation in the rankings. The focus has been on personalities. The reformers-- Governor Perry, his donors, and appointed Regents; versus the establishment-- State Senator Judith Zaffirini and UT President Bill Powers.

Lost in the shuffle: students, parents, taxpayers, and alumni. Not to mention big employers and entrepreneurs who need a high quality workforce to compete in the global economy.

Recently, a UT student decided to change the trajectory of the discussion:

Check out Rock The Ivory Tower on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted by Will Franklin · 23 June 2011 08:44 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 932 -- Texas Is America's Shining City On A Hill.

Texas Singlehandedly "Refudiates" Barack Obama's Entire Agenda-

Between April 2001 and April 2011, Texas created more net private sector jobs than all other net job-adding states combined:

click for a bigger version

Go check the data yourself:

The inventory of private-sector jobs in Texas increased by 732,800 between April 2001 and the same month this year, according to an On Numbers analysis of new federal employment data.

No other state registered an increase of more than 100,000 private-sector jobs during the decade. Only 19 states and the District of Columbia posted any gains at all.

It bears repeating. Texas entrepreneurs and businesses created more new jobs over the past decade than those in all other states combined, and if you take the 31 job-losing states into account as well, it actually looks even more lopsided in favor of Texas.

No wonder the buzz about drafting Texas Governor Rick Perry to run against Barack Obama just continues to grow.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Right To Work States Beat Forced Unionism States; Texas Beats All.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 2 June 2011 08:01 AM · Comments (3)