Matt Yglesias almost makes sense today. Well, he tries, anyway.
He writes about Gov. Rick Perry’s “nuclear-strength” TV ad that’s created to lure New York businesses to Texas. The thesis of the ad is that New York taxes too much and Texas taxes far less, so Texas is a better place for business. Hard to argue with that. The ad also slams Bloomberg’s soda totalitarianism, to play up Texas’ libertarian attitudes. It’s so full of Lone Star brag that it’s natural that Texans will love it and the rest of the world may be tempted to tell us to shove it. The tagline is full of what Zo might call macho sauce: “Texas is calling. Your opportunity awaits.”
Yeah. If you’re a Texan, that ought to give you chills. As someone who made the move back to Texas from blue Maryland four years ago, it warms my heart.
By every objective measure, Texas is in fact the land of opportunity among the large states. It has racked up so many business-journal accolades that we’ve stopped counting. Its unemployment rate remains below the national average and well below that of the other large states. But in the face of the facts, and in an attempt to make sense, Yglesias writes:
Now I think Perry’s basic thesis here is wrong. But when you understand what’s wrong with it, you’ll also see that the kind of dismissive liberal sneering Jon Chait directs at Texas is misguided. How do I know that Perry is wrong? It’s simple. If New York was a terrible place to live, work, and do business, then it would be cheap to live in New York.
Let’s roll back a few years to the era before Rudy Giuliani was mayor. New York City was in fact a terrible place to live and work. Times Square was overrun with drug dealers and hookers. Murder rates were soaring. Unions dominated commerce and government. They still do. And it was expensive at the same time. It wasn’t expensive because so many people were clamoring to get in from outside. It was expensive and remains expensive because taxes are high, its government is massive, and because its people tolerate that. In fact, they must positively love it. They keep voting for it year after year after year. The New York City Council is pondering making a policing decision that will bring the bad old lawless days back.