Thursday, 5 November 2009

Texas vs California

BK Drinkwater usefully points to a City Journal piece by William Voegeli comparing Californian dysfunction to Texan sensibility. Voice in California provides no check on government:
James Madison would have to revise—or possibly burn—Federalist No. 10 if he were forced to account for the new phenomenon of the government itself becoming the faction decisively shaping its own policy and conduct. (See “Madison’s Nightmare” in City Journal’s 2009 special issue, “New York’s Tomorrow.”) This faction dominates because it’s playing a much longer game than the politicians who come and go, not to mention the citizens who rarely read the enormous owner’s manual for the Rube Goldberg machine they feed with their dollars. They rarely stay outraged long enough to make a difference.
Consequently, exit works. California sees out-migration and folks move to Texas. Tiebout says it's fine for some jurisdictions to be high tax / high service with others low tax / low service -- you then have preference-based sortition. But California is now high tax / low service, and for that bundle of services, you're better off in Texas.
For California’s governmental-industrial complex, a new liberal administration and Congress in Washington offer plausible hope for a happy Hollywood ending. Federal aid will replace the dollars that California’s taxpayers, fed up with the state’s lousy benefits and high taxes, refuse to provide. Americans will continue to vote with their feet, either by leaving California or disdaining relocation there, but their votes won’t matter, at least in the short term. Under the coming bailout, the new 49ers—Americans in the other 49 states, that is—will be extended the privilege of paying California’s taxes. At least they won’t have to put up with its public services.
I wonder if NZ census data gives any way of tracking migration among the several cities that previously made up the new Auckland supercity. Best I can find has Auckland split into Northern, Western, Central and Southern zones. Table 11 gives us some idea of flows among those four parts, but nothing disaggregated by Mangere, Rodney, and so on. Will have to see if Stats has the data in more disaggregated form; would be fodder for an interesting honours project in a census or two's time.

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