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Willisms

« December 2012 | WILLisms.com | February 2013 »

Texas Versus California: A Story Of Welfare States.

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 964 -- California Is America's Welfare Capital-

Did you know that California, with just 12% of America's population, has 34% of American welfare recipients?

Or that Texas has both one of the lowest per capita welfare costs and one of the lowest percentages of its population receiving welfare benefits?

It is so.

There really are two basic models for governance in this country, and we're seeing the results play out in stunning high definition right before our very eyes.

There's the California model, which stresses the primacy of radical environmentalism, the overregulation of both the big and the minutiae of daily life, the imposition of high and punitive taxes on success, the unquestioned supremacy of big, bossy labor unions, and the celebration-- or at least acceptance-- of expansive and nannying government. The result is perpetual fiscal peril, net domestic migration outward to other states, a scandalously horrendous education system, decaying infrastructure, stubbornly high unemployment, and the worst poverty in America.

Other ominous signs for California: Los Angeles and Orange counties experienced a 15.6% decline in under-15-year-old population, highest among the nation's metropolitan areas, in recent years (Texas, Utah, North Carolina, and several other states saw increases). Atlas Van Lines' latest analysis of outbound versus inbound moving trucks shows that California is a net exporter of people to other states, while Texas is the nation's biggest net importer. As people flee the state, it's no wonder California's mortgage foreclosure rate is roughly double the national rate (while Texas' is nearly half the national rate).

This graphic, from the San Diego Union-Tribune, shows just what an outlier California is in terms of its citizens collecting welfare benefits. Indeed, Texas is something of an outlier, as well:

texasversuscaliforniawelfare.gif

click image for larger version or click here for the original version from the San Diego Union-Tribune

If you're trying to figure out what the quadrants indicate, the further to the right you go, the more a state spends per welfare recipient. The further to the top you go, the higher percentage of a state's residents are welfare recipients.

As you can see, California is practically in a quadrant unto itself, indicating a lot of people receiving a lot each in welfare benefits. Meanwhile, Texas is situated precisely in the opposite corner of the graphic, indicating that a low percentage of Texas' residents are receiving welfare, and among those who are receiving welfare, they're receiving smaller benefits than those living essentially anywhere else in the country. Again, the original graphic is here, if you want to take a closer look.

So what hath these experiments in politics and policy wrought?

We already covered California, the most naturally beautiful and abundant state, with the best climate and best proximity to emerging global markets, which is a slow motion man-made nightmare.

So what about Texas?

Well, since the beginning of the recession (which has long been officially over), four out of five big city jobs in the entire country were created in Texas' big cities. Indeed, unlike the rest of the country as a whole, Texas has added and is adding jobs across all income levels, including in the middle class. Only 14 major U.S. metro areas have added jobs since recession began, and all six of Texas' major metros rank in the top eight.

In Texas, you can get a degree that employers want for ten thousand dollars. Total.

Eight Texas cities are in the top sixteen for wage growth over the past half decade (among the largest 200 in U.S.), and eleven Texas cities are in the top eighteen for job growth over that time. Meanwhile Texas' small cities also performed extremely well among the national list of small cities.

Contrary to the "it's all minimum wage jobs" postulation from the likes of former Enron-advisor Paul Krugman, Texas is adding a disproportionately high number of high wage jobs:

For industries paying over 150% of the average American wage, Texas could claim 216,000 extra jobs; the rest of the country added 495,000. In other words, the Lone Star State, with 8% of the U.S. population, created nearly a third of the country's highest-paying positions. Texas also added 49,000 positions paying 125% to 150% of the U.S. average; the rest of the country lost 74,000 jobs in that category.

I'm not sure whether or not Krugman knows that Texas' income gains as a share of national income were bigger than the rest of the top ten states combined, but he probably wouldn't let that or any other fact get in the way of a good narrative.

Since 2002, Houston has grown high tech STEM (science-technology-engineering-math) jobs five times faster than Silicon Valley. Austin four times faster, and, big-picture, Texas ranks at the top in terms of small business employment growth. And over the past couple of years, Texas accounts for nearly a fifth of the nation's total population growth.

Texas cities dominated Forbes' latest annual list of America's Fastest Growing Cities. Business Facilities also just named Texas its "State of the Year" for its successes over the past year. Not surprisingly, five of the six fastest recovering cities in America are Texas cities.

Fiscally, Texas has two separate "surpluses" of at least several billion dollars-- an $11.8 projected Rainy Day Fund balance, and an $8.8 billion revenue surplus, which, admittedly, will see a few billion whittled away due to past budget gimmicks and federal Medicaid mandates. Nevertheless, because of a growing tax base of new businesses and new workers, Texas tax revenues are coming in at robust, record levels; Texas sales tax revenue has risen for 33 straight months now.

And, reminiscent of the California wine industry surging onto the scene some decades back, when California was still the promised land, a Texas single-malt whiskey even recently won a prestigious international blind taste competition in the United Kingdom.

Texas will remain a thorn in the side of progressives until they can centralize everything-- Hunger Games-style-- in Washington, D.C., and reshape the whole of America in the image of California. We cannot let them succeed.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Since The Beginning Of The Recession, Four Out of Five Jobs In America's Large Metropolitan Areas Were Created In Texas.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 30 January 2013 03:43 PM · Comments (0)

Second Amendment Facts.

American Gun Facts Infographic

Posted by Will Franklin · 17 January 2013 09:58 AM · Comments (0)

Since The Beginning Of The Recession, Four Out of Five Jobs In America's Large Metropolitan Areas Were Created In Texas.

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 963 -- Texas Job Domination Since November 2007-

The latest data continue to demonstrate Texas' job domination since the beginning of the last recession in November of 2007:

Leading the way are two Texas markets -- Houston and Austin.

Houston topped the nation by adding 121,600 private-sector jobs between November 2007 (one month before the recession began) and November 2012 (the latest month for which official figures are available). Austin was second with a raw gain of 45,800 positions.

The two areas flip-flopped when the rankings were recalculated by percentages. Austin finished No. 1 with five-year job growth of 7.5 percent. Houston was next at 5.5 percent.

texasdominationsince2007.gif
click for larger version

I highly recommend looking at the larger version. That's really how it was meant to be viewed. Just click the image or click here.

FACT: Only 14 of America's 102 "major" metro areas have added jobs since November 2007.

FACT: Texas' major metros together have added four out of five of all the new jobs created in America's major metros since November 2007.

FACT: All 6 of Texas’ major metros are among the nation's top 8.

FACT: Texas' 6 major metros added four times more jobs than the other eight job-adding metros combined.

FACT: Texas' major metros have added four out of five (80.09%) of the new jobs created in America's major metros since November 2007.

Of course, if you want to quibble or qualify these numbers, you might say that these are "net" jobs or that it isn't fair to only look at cities that added jobs. Well, if you take into account all the cities that are still net job negative, Texas' story looks even more remarkable.

Another quibble might be that these numbers completely disregard small towns. That would be a pretty good quibble, but that's simply not what we're looking at here and now. America does indeed have a lot of small and medium towns and cities, mostly in flyover country, that have collectively added an enormous number of jobs. One small/medium city, Midland, Texas, for example, has an unemployment rate of 3.0%. Then there's Abilene, at 4.6%, Amarillo, at 4.1%, Lubbock, at 4.6%, or San Angelo, at 4.5%.

After all of that quibbling is finished, someone will throw the "yeah, but they're all _________ jobs."

That blank is usually filled with "oil and gas," "low wage," or "government." All three explanations are erroneous.

Yes, Texas has undeniably benefited from oil and gas exploration, but oil and gas as a percentage of Texas' Gross State Product has declined dramatically over the years as the economy has diversified, and only a small fraction of new jobs in Texas are oil and gas jobs. Moreover, states like California are sitting on enormous oil and gas reserves, they just have all too often chosen not to allow drilling. Indeed, with advances in technology, there's hardly a state in the nation without the ability to drill, baby, drill for shale gas. Arguing that "they're all oil and gas jobs in lucky oil-under-the-ground Texas; we don't have access to those kinds of jobs here in our struggling state" is simply not supported by any sort of fact-based analysis of reality.

The next "blank" people usually falsely fill is the notion that Texas' jobs are all low wage. Wrong.

And some people in the 2012 GOP primary argued that they're all or mostly government or federal stimulus-related jobs. Well, no. Only 4% of Texas' new jobs in the past year, for example, were government jobs. Texas is a longtime net donor state, and it received the second lowest per capita level of stimulus dollars of all the states. And Texas routinely turns down hundreds of millions or even billions of "free" federal dollars.

So if it's not just a bunch of oil and gas jobs, low wage jobs, or government jobs (...which, by the way, are mutually exclusive-- have you ever heard of a low wage oil and gas job? Come on.), what is it about Texas?

It's our relatively low tax climate. It's our tort reform. It's because our political leaders have been fiscally responsibility and fostered a predictable and reasonable regulatory climate over more than a decade now. It's because we're a right to work state. It's a lot of things. If you're landing here for the first time, click through the archives, because I've covered a lot of these over the years.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Added Jobs Across All Income Levels.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 16 January 2013 01:51 PM · Comments (0)

Texas Has Added Jobs Across All Income Levels.

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 962 -- Texas Beats America In Adding Low, Middle, and High Wage Jobs-

In the past, I've linked to this Texanomics graphic showing Texas wage growth dwarfing that of every other state in recent years. Indeed, the Paul Krugman line about Texas only creating a bunch of worthless minimum wage jobs is complete bunk, yet that bogus misinformation continues all too often in places like Twitter or the Iowa Caucuses.

I just wanted to quickly post a couple of slides from a recent Dallas Fed presentation on Texas' job situation.

First, Texas has recovered all the jobs lost in the Great Recession and then some, while most other states are still working to break even:

prerecession.gif

Moreover, yes, Texas has added quite a few low wage jobs, but it has also added more high wage jobs than the rest of the country. And more significantly, Texas has added middle income jobs while the rest of the country has lost them:

gainsineveryquartile.gif

Meanwhile, Texas has one of the lowest costs of living in the nation, so a low wage or middle wage job goes a lot further than on the Coasts. That being said, the lack of new middle income jobs outside of Texas seems like the real problem Krugman and others don't really want to face up to.

On that note, expensive California is the state having trouble creating the high wage jobs of the future:

Over the past decade, even with the current bubble, Silicon Valley's STEM employment, according to estimates by Economic Modeling Specialists Inc., has increased by a mere 4 percent over the past decade. In contrast, science-based employment jumped 25 percent in Seattle, 20 percent in Houston and 16.8 percent in Austin, Texas.

The tech scene in the Los Angeles Basin is doing even worse. STEM employment in the Los Angeles-Santa Ana area is still stuck below 2002 levels, partially a residue of the continued decline of the region's once-globally dominant aerospace industry. The region, once arguably the world's largest agglomeration of scientists and engineers, has now dipped below the national average in proportion of STEM jobs.

So, over the past ten years, Science-Technology-Engineering-Math jobs have increased 5 times faster in Houston-- and 4+ times faster in Austin-- than in the Silicon Valley. Texas has outpaced California for both STEM jobs and middle-skill jobs for a decade now.

Not exactly minimum wage type jobs there.

Indeed, Texas is "far and away the leader in total income growth" in recent years; Texas' income gains as a share of national income are bigger than the rest of the top 10 combined. And, while Midland now has the second highest per capita income in the nation, nearly every Texas metro area is in the top quintile for wage growth from 2009-2011, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

It's exasperating having such overwhelming evidence of what works and what doesn't, while seeing our country turn sharply and precisely in the wrong direction.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: The Federal Government's Overspending.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 7 January 2013 11:42 AM · Comments (0)