Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal interviewed my colleague Chuck DeVore (formerly of the California legislature) on his new book, The Texas Model. Chuck joined the Texas Public Policy Foundation about a year ago after packing up his family and moving to Texas, as so many other Californians are doing.
Chuck makes a great point here, namely that the Texas model resembles what America used to be like: light taxation and regulation and an environment that encourages risk-taking, innovation, and entrepreneurship. California, on the other hand, has become the very model of high taxation, high spending, and high regulation that the Obama administration and its supporters so passionately want to impose on America. The next Silicon Valley — whatever sector of industry it comes in — is far more likely to flourish in Texas than in California.
The Constitution’s federal structure was designed not just to limit the power of the central government, but also to give Americans a real choice between regulatory regimes, and thereby maximize voter choice from coast to coast. California would like nothing better than to nationalize its uncompetitive policies and impose them on everybody. But, for the moment, it has to compete for population with the government-lite model of Texas, and it is losing.
The main reason so many people are moving to Texas is probably just that getting a job here is so easy: According to the latest labor statistics, the unemployment rate in California is 9.8 percent, while in Texas it is 6.2 percent. And by thy way, that’s not because Texas is “business-friendly”: states like California have far more “corporate welfare” than Texas. But Texas is “competition-friendly.” And for millions of new Texans, that has made all the difference. In the words of George Strake, one of Houston’s most venerated oilmen, “Everyone’s welcome here, so long as you’re willing to pull the wagon and not just sit in it.”
— Mario Loyola is director of the Center for Tenth Amendment Studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.