The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Texas vs. California: 6-0, 6-0, 6-0

brownperry

What should be the Federer vs. Nadal of state-level competition has become a lopsided trouncing: Texas has humiliated its opponent in straight sets. The federal Bureau of Economic Analysis is out with its state-by-state economic growth numbers for 2012, and Texas is dancing the two-step all over California’s “recovery.” The Hill reports:

California’s economy shrank an additional 2.6 percent [cumulatively from 2009-2011] before it grew 3.5 percent [in 2012].

So, in the past five years California’s real GDP contracted 0.3 percent, one of ten states where economic activity was less in 2012 than it was in 2008.

By contrast, the BEA revised Texas’ growth upward by 0.5 percent from 2009 to 2011.

Texas’ newly revised real GDP growth from 2009 to 2012 was 13 percent.

From 2009 to 2012, California’s share of the U.S. economy shrank from 13.1 percent to 12.9 percent while Texas’ portion of the American economy increased from 8.2 percent to 9 percent.

The most telling indictment of California’s performance? If you removed oil and gas from the Texas economy, the Lone Star state has still outpaced growth in California. Apologists for the Golden State shouldn’t forget that it is in possession of two-thirds of America’s proven shale reserves, a treasure trove that rivals many resource-rich sovereign countries.

The BEA also found, to the shock of all concerned, that while California was experiencing the largest tax hike in US history, the national economy grew at eight times the pace of California’s. The Texas economy, by contrast, grew 71 percent faster than the national economy that year.

Finally, and most disturbingly, the US Census Bureau found that between 2009 and 2011, California had the highest supplemental poverty measure in America, with 42 percent more people in poverty as a share of the population than Texas. This can’t all be chalked up to immigration either: illegal immigrants account for the same percentage of Texas’s population as they do California’s.

California’s storied industries (tech, agriculture, entertainment) still give it a massive and dynamic economy. But as for which governance model is working best for its citizens, Texas is way ahead.

[Images of Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov. Rick Perry courtesy of Wikimedia]

Published on June 25, 2013 2:25 pm
  • rheddles

    Makes one wonder whether Snowden considered getting amnesty from Caliphornia.

  • koblog

    When I was a kid we were proud of the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant as a great step forward. Now California is ashamed of scary nuclear power and is closing it down (another 1000 jobs lost) while importing more power than ever and killing birds with windmills with EPA waivers at a horrific pace.

  • frossca

    It’s not just a blue/red thing. The Texas legislature meets only every other year for 140 days. This tends to focus efforts on what is important. In California they have more time to sit around figuring out how to gain more power and reduce the freedom of its citizens.