My parents moved to California at the end of World War II. The air was completely clear and smelled of orange blossoms except during the few cold days each year when it was necessary to “smudge” the groves.
Endless grape vineyards occupied the flatlands from eastern Pasadena to western San Bernardino where orange groves again stretched through Redlands to the Big Bear foothills.
California was the land of hope.
Mother’s parents were expatriates of Nagadoches, Texas. Those were the days before electricity. Grandmother described her home state as “miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles of nothing.”
Texas was the land of despair.
The Romans learned from the Greeks that a bunch of little city states was bad economics never accumulating the specialization and division of labor possible in common markets.
Thus the Romans built the largest common market in the history of the world and enjoyed the wealth and power thus derived. Americans embodied their idea in its constitution via the interstate commerce clause.
But we also learned from the Roman experience that such a large political entity was ultimately unmanageable by a central government (a lesson we are hopefully learning all over again).
So the Americans invented the concept of “united states.” The country was established as one big entity for defense and common-markets. However most other domestic management was to be legislated by smaller “states” constituting “laboratories of democracy.” States were permitted to go their separate ways to succeed or fail based on their local political wis- dom as long as they did not violate certain national “constitutional principles.”
Two of the biggest states adopted entirely different approaches to their futures. California pursued the high- tax, huge-government bureaucracy approach. Texas has long observed a more laissez-faire doctrine granting freedom and encouraging self reliance.
The results have been dramatically different. California has squandered its patrimony while Texas made something out of nearly nothing.
For example. Chief Executive Magazine recently found California to be the worst state in the nation in which to do business. It is business that creates jobs, provides services to the public, and pays the taxes on which the leaches in government rely.
In the same poll, Texas was found to be the best place for a corporation to locate its headquarters.
When it comes to finances, California finds itself 26 billion in the hole while taking on more debt at $25 million a day!
The schools are in trouble; the prison system is set to release 26,000 felons; and our once proud university system is turning away qualified students. Social services are being cut, the infrastructure if falling apart, and unem- ployment is over 15 percent. And California has the second highest income tax rate in the nation.
People are leaving California at the rate of 100,000 per year.
Texas is the fastest growing state in the union adding 150,000 new citizens to its rolls in 2008 alone.
During 2008, Texas employment grew by 2.4%, the fifth consecutive year of such growth. Texas job additions accounted for 70 percent of all new jobs for the entire nation.
For the same year, the state’s gross product grew by 4/1% compared to 1.5% for the nation. Personal income growth was 5.9%
Texas ended fiscal year 2008 with a cash balance of 9.82 billion dollars! Texas in not being forced to release any prisoners from their state system. Indeed prisoners are required to work to support themselves on prison farms and factories.
All of Texas’s debt instruments are rated AAA by the three major rating agencies.
So exactly what has made Texas a success and California a dismal failure?
Besides electing a legislature full of novice young liberal Democrats who think that ripping off hard-working taxpayers is the ultimate in sensitive wisdom, California and Texas have diverged in regards to basic values.
Texas believes in freedom for its people, not tax and regulatory enslavement.
Businesses are allowed to operate and not be micromanaged by a beehive of busy body bureaucrats who never produced a single thing in their entire lives and believe that they are anointed to order others around.
Texas and California had pleasant relationships with Mexico and Mexican immigrants. However, California, under the leadership of MEChA and other activist groups, has driven a wedge between Mexicans and Anglo Americans.
Texas has long made assimilation their policy: promoting friendship and under- standing among the cultures resulting in the unique TexMex society that cooperates for the benefit of everyone.