Texas vs. No-Growth Coasts
Governments must rely upon profitable businesses. Without them, government has next to nothing.
And yet “next to nothing” is what governments can do to best help businesses succeed.
Thank Texas Governor Rick Perry for these thoughts . . . and Matthew Yglesias, who commented on Perry’s recent “nuclear-strength” video promotion, inviting businesses to leave places like New York and locate themselves in Texas, which has fewer regulations and no income tax. The ad claims Texas is “big for business.” Yglesias quibbles:
If New York was a terrible place to live, work, and do business, then it would be cheap to live in New York. But New York is not cheap. It’s not Detroit. It’s not even average. It’s, in fact, hellishly expensive. If New York emulated Texas and eliminated its income tax, rich people would bid up the finite supply of New York City land at an even more furious rate—the city wouldn’t see Houston or Dallas growth rates.
I’m no economist, but I have quibbles with Yglesias’s critique. New York is expensive, yes. But the cause of the expense isn’t just that people bid up housing and services. It’s expensive in no small part as a result of all those regulations, especially courtesy of one regulation in particular: rent control. Get rid of rent control and the city income tax? Watch housing grow.
And growth, Yglesias rightly points out, is what’s really in Texas’s favor. Texan low-impact government policies favor growth, while “the residents and politicians” of blue-state/beach-front states, though “liberal,” have, in fact, “become exceptionally small-c conservative and change averse.” Because they do too much, allegedly to “help.” But mostly to gentrify.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.