William Voegeli gets it and what he gets is in the title and the lede of yesterday’s Los Angeles Times column.
The Golden State isn’t worth it
Our high-benefit/high-tax model no longer works, especially compared with low-tax states like Texas.
here are the first two paragraphs, but please go read the rest.
In America’s federal system, some states, such as California, offer residents a “package deal” that bundles numerous and ambitious public benefits with the high taxes needed to pay for them. Other states, such as Texas, offer packages combining modest benefits and low taxes. These alternatives, of course, define the basic argument between liberals and conservatives over what it means to get the size and scope of government right.
It’s not surprising, then, that there’s an intense debate over which model is more admirable and sustainable. What is surprising is the growing evidence that the low-benefit/low-tax package not only succeeds on its own terms but also according to the criteria used to defend its opposite. In other words, the superior public goods that supposedly justify the high taxes just aren’t being delivered.
Government programs are almost never the best way to address social problems. Private charity and private business are much more efficient in delivering on their promises. They have to be or donations or business dry up as donors and customers go elsewhere. Market competition works.
Very important lesson for the country and especially democrats in Congress to keep in mind as they contemplate health care reform and cap and trade legislation.
Hat tip to Powerline’s John Hinderaker who says:
Texas, increasingly, is the economic and intellectual leader of the U.S. During the last 18 months before the current recession took hold, while the country as a whole was still creating jobs, more than half of those jobs were created in a single state: Texas.
Texas has usurped the leadership position that, decades ago, belonged to California. Today California is in decline, likely irreversibly so.