DECEMBER 28, 2015

You hear conservatives tell it, the key to a job-creating positive business environment is … drum roll … low taxes! So the conservative Tax Foundation will rank the best and worst business climate states:

2016 business tax climate index
California and New York are ranked way low (48 and 49, respectively), with New Jersey coming in last at 50. And on the “positive” side, you have Wyoming leading the pack, with Texas at #10. 
CNBC has its own rankings, with Texas at #2, and California down at #27 and New York at #36. (These rankings, for example, favor right-to-work anti-union states.)
And how about crazy-ass ALEC?

Yup, poor ol’ California and New York and pretty much every Blue State totally sucking.
And Chief Executive Magazine really gets its hate on for California: 

California is the Worst State for Business for the Tenth Year in a Row

But all those rankings really mean squat when compared to actual economic growth. So which does being low-tax and “business friendly” actually equate to great economic growth? Um, no. 

So to hear conservatives talk, California is beset by job-destroying regulations, and intolerably high taxes. And yet when looking at historical job growth, we see this:

And you this:

But for the last three years, California has added jobs at a rate faster than all but five other states — and since last year it has significantly outpaced Texas.
U.S. Census migration data show that, despite higher personal and corporate income taxes in California, more people making $200,000 or more are moving to California than are leaving.

In fact, low-tax, no-regulation conservative Nirvana Texas has consistently lagged behind California in (non-farm) job growth in 2015 (Texas and California data), through November (since December isn’t over, obviously:

California job growth has more than doubled Texas, even though the state isn’t twice the size of Texas (more like 31 percent more populous).
Now Texas was more resilient during the last economic recession, with its high energy prices keeping its energy sector fat and happy. But with the collapse of oil prices, Texas isn’t soaring during these times of economic growth. And with increased global emphasis on renewable resources, Texas will have to further diversify its economy, like California’s, if it’s to thrive and prosper in future years. (Of course, given that the GOP is funded by oil money, predominantly from Texas, good luck with trying to shift away from that. ...)
It’s also true that California suffered more during the recession, and is still playing catchup on the unemployment rate side:

But the point here isn’t that Texas sucks and California (or New York) is better. The point is that as much as conservatives claim California is a dysfunctional communist dystopia, the reality is that it continues to be the global driving force in entertainment and technology, is one of the world’s premier agricultural producers, and there is no slowing this juggernaut. Heck, if Detroit doesn’t evolve quickly, California will be the future of the auto industry as well (Apple, Google, Tesla, Future Faraday, and Uber)!
And it accomplishes all that despite its high cost of living, taxes, and regulations. Apparently, there is more to a positive “business climate” than low taxes. Otherwise, that unemployment map above would look a heck of a lot different. 

In other words, California proves every day that conservative economic theories are shit. Every. Single. Day. 

NOTE: If you troll Internet comments as I do, you will know that California is cited as the worst possible place to live not only in America but pretty much the entire planet, you know, with all those blood sucking Mexicans and Jerry Moonbeam Communist as Governor.  At least according to right wingers.  Often, the commentators use absolute statistics to prove their points - like CA has 26 million people in poverty (or whatever the real figure is) or that there are 66 million Californians who are unemployed without realizing that CA has a total population that is larger than the bottom 40 states combined or that CA has an economy that is roughly equivalent to the economy of Russia. 

It's easy countering these fools since they don't seem to "get" the difference between absolute data and relative data.  Not so much, however, with conservative economists when "cutting taxes creates jobs," "government isn't the solution, government is the problem,"  "regulations kill jobs," "the private sector can do it better" have been the guiding "principles" of economic policy for three decades and are still the prime economic policies of every single Republican candidate for the Presidency this year despite reams of data that show such policies have failed us ordinary Americans.  

So it's refreshing to see a part of the Right Wing, Conservative, Tea Party economic fantasy bubble so readily demolished as this article does.  As with the Internet commentators who confuse absolute with relative, so too the right wing think tanks, experts and pundits who can't seem to corral their research and data with a larger net.  It's sort of like saying "Are you better off today than you were in 2008?"  Well, of course the answer is "Yes" but we aren't better of than we were thirty years ago.  And what Republicans don't mention is this:

 Only 49 percent of the decline in incomes during the recession was born by the top 1 percent (whose income share fell to 18.1 percent due to the recession), 95 percent of income gains since the recovery started have gone to them. This is a big change from past recessions and recoveries. Only 65 percent of the expansion under George W. Bush, and 45 percent of that under Bill Clinton, went to the top 1 percent. 

A California Sate of Mind!  It's A Good Thing!


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