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Better Business Climates
Red States Eat Blue States’ Lunch

The West and the South—not California or the Northeast—are apparently the places to move these days. In a piece on Denver’s economy, the WSJ provides a list of the urban areas that have been receiving the most in-migration since 2010. Houston, Dallas, Austin, Phoenix, Denver, San Antonio, Charlotte, Atlanta, Tampa, and Orlando make the top ten. Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, Florida, and Georgia are generally red states, and though Colorado is nominally a blue state, its business climate more closely resembles that of Texas than that of California.

You can see that resemblance in the article’s main subject, its profile of Denver. The WSJ reports that Millennials are attracted to the city’s atmosphere and its proximity to natural beauty, but most importantly to the economic opportunities Denver offers in Millennial-dominated fields like telecommunications and tech:

“Denver has long been a regional hub, with established industries such as oil and telecommunications that leaders have built upon to create thriving sectors such as energy information technology and digital health care.”

As Joel Kotkin has argued many times, red states are eating blue states’ lunch, stealing away talented young workers and innovative businesses by offering lower costs of living, higher qualities of life, and more favorable tax and regulatory environments than anything coastal blue citadels can offer. And this is happening despite blue cities’ attempts to remain culturally enticing.

To attract young people, it seems, the cities of America don’t have to worry about being hip. Instead, they need to create dynamic economic environments. That is what draws the talented young—and in turn, it seems, they do their part to make their new homes nicer.

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  • Proud Skeptic

    It really didn’t make much sense to focus on the People’s Republic of Denver as an example. Colorado may be purple but Denver sure ain’t! It is bluer than blue.

  • Andrew Allison

    Last I knew there was nothing but water West of California.

    • f1b0nacc1


      • Andrew Allison

        Hawaii is west of Mexico, not California [grin]

        • f1b0nacc1

          Well, Alaska is west of CA too (grin)….
          OK, I am being silly…

  • Blackbeard

    This is why it’s so important to the Blues that they control the presidency. Blue policies don’t actually work very well so federal policies are needed to disadvantage Red states and level the playing field. For example, the recently enacted AFFH rule ( which has as it’s ultimate goal to strip state and local government of its traditional control over housing policy and zoning. Similarly Obama’s Clean Power Plan makes the USEPA the central planning agency for industrial development for the whole US.

  • Seema Kaur Amrit

    1. It’s like saying India and China have higher rate of growth than USA.
    2. There is nothing new here. South has been hustling yankee dollars since the beginning. We will see when South has a silicon valley.
    3. Red states “stealing away talented young workers” are going to become purple and then blue.
    That’s the thing about young, talented and educated. They’ve liberal outlook. None of that ‘evolution is just a theory’, ‘America is a christian nation’ ‘homosexuality is a sin’ crap.

    • f1b0nacc1

      While it makes lefties feel better to talk about evolution and the various pathologies of fundamentalist Christianity, Red states are typically more about economic liberty and a lack of blue state identity politics than anything else. I couldn’t care less about the ‘god wars’, but I care intensely about business climate and basic tax policy, not to mention sensible spending policies at the state level. If you want to run a business, Texas makes a lot more sense than California, and over time that makes more sense for businesses.
      As for turning purple as young workers come in, you really need to get out more. I have lived in Red states as blue refugees come in, and while sometimes you do see this phenomenon (‘Californication’ is the typically phrase you see bandied about, particularly in places like Colorado), you don’t see it everywhere. Dallas and Houston, both of which have vibrant, active cultures and bring in a ton of young people, are quite conservative (though Austin isn’t…but then it never was in the first place), and you certainly don’t see it through much of the south. Typically what drives that dynamic is the ‘prettiness’ of the area (i.e. nice scenery, recreation, etc.) which tends to bring in the sort with that kind of ideological baggage. Texas, for instance, is great for business, but it is as ugly as Rosie O’Donnell after a 3 day bender!
      Regarding growth rates, Whose economy would you rather have right now? Texas vs CA?

      • Seema Kaur Amrit

        I have been to Texas several times over the last three decades. Each time I seem more californication than before. It’s getting to a point when 5 gallon hat is beginning to look like a costume. California economy is doing fine if you haven’t noticed lately. It has endless beauty, great weather and excellent excellent two-tier university system not counting private universities. (UT Austin, the jewel of Texas, is barely at the lower level of UC system. More like UC Riverside and San Diego State). Not only the US, the world wants to be California.

        We don’t appoint or elects creationist kooks to Education Boards (like you do on Texas School Education Board).

        • f1b0nacc1

          Visiting TX is not the same thing as living there, and if you look at recent elections, you won’t see much sign of Californication. As for California’s economy, it is most charitably described as a mess (just because the state budget hasn’t collapsed, there is little indication that the economy itself is actually getting better…even Paul Krugman doesn’t make that claim anymore), while Texas is prospering.
          I agree with you CA has incredible natural beauty, but it isn’t accessible to most of the population, and certainly not much of a reason to think well for its future. The university system as a whole isn’t doing all that well (tuition costs are way up, and by any rational standard, the bulk of the system provides credentials and not much more to its students), while the top tier spends more time living off its rep than actually improving it. No question that it is superior to the UT system, however…..lets visit that in a few years though…
          Finally, the creationists aren’t my favorites either, but CA has its own loonies, or don’t the anti-GMO anti-vaxxers count?

          • Seema Kaur Amrit

            Every community has their fools, we have antivaxers.

          • Dale Fayda

            You also have anti-fracking zealots, “open borders” activists, gender-neutral nuts: and veritable hordes of homeless occupying some of most expensive communities of Los Angeles and the Bay Area. I can go on and on, but this list is depressing me.

          • Seema Kaur Amrit

            the fools in CA are sidelined, a fringe. In Texas, the creationist kooks get appointed to Texas Education board which has huge influence over textbooks published in lots of states. So, they are far more dangerous and influential.
            Your governor and one senator is a kook for god sake. See Jade Helm.

        • Dale Fayda

          California – largest percentage of people living below the Federal poverty level, by far the largest percentage of population on welfare in the nation, over 1/3 of its population is on MediCal (CA version of Medicaid), a sanctuary state overrun with millions of sub-literate dregs of the Third World. Highest income tax rates in the country, highest gasoline prices in the country, some of the highest utility rates in the country, completely unaffordable rent and housing prices.

          Hundreds of billions of dollars in unfunded state pension and health care liabilities, a $100 billion dollar high speed rail project no one wants or needs just broke ground, noxious state regulatory climate, insanely high labor cost (and just became even higher with the passing of the new minimum wage law in LA), official state unemployment rate almost twice that of TX, a man-made drought brought on by bone-headed mismanagement of water resources over decades.

          In case YOU haven’t noticed, CA economy is NOT doing great, at least not in LA county (where I live):

          Oh, and as far as another Silicone Valley goes – I thing Texas is off to a good start:

          I would also take creationists over “global warming” preaching, “gender- neutral” restroom building, “white privilege” bashing, violent felon releasing, “no perversion is too heinous, gay marriage” pushing, gun running, corrupt fanatical leftists who run this state at virtually every level.

          There is no denying the great natural beauty of this state, but most of inland CA is indistinguishable from its neighbors and only the coastal region has the uniquely benign climate. Most of inland So. Cal is no different than Nevada or Arizona and most of inland Central and Northern CA is virtually identical to that of inland Oregon or Washington.

          Finally, name several large companies which have recently decided to relocate from TX to CA – I dare you. I can name quite a few which have recently fled CA to Red and Purple states, however.

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