Texas is the New California – But it Won’t Last

7 thoughts on “Texas is the New California – But it Won’t Last”

  1. So jobs in California have grown 13.2%, or 1.9 million, since the depth of the recession (Pew). Jobs in Texas have grown 15.1% or 1.5 million. Nationally the average is 8% The California economy is in fact strong, part of the problem is that it’s overheated in places like Silicon Valley. Affordable housing is a huge problem here, but if Texas’ approach is to make people drive farther and farther that is not sustainable environmentally or in terms of infrastructure. I won’t even get into quality of life measures. The biggest difference might be attitude–Texans seem to love talking up anything good there, while Californians often complain about anything that’s less than perfect here!

    1. I grew up in California and moved to Texas 3 times. First the jobs in Texas are GOOD jobs California has a lot of low level jobs. Cost of housing in California is ridiculous whereas Texas is reasonable. The schools are good and they have a lot of good family communities. The trouble is the liberals from California silicon valley will move there and try and change the fabric. Truth is outside of no beach Texas is just as good if not better than California. I just miss my Lakers and Dodgers when I’m there.

      1. My point here isn’t that one place is better or worse than the other. It’s that California began its journey a couple of generations sooner than Texas. As Texas ages it will arrive at roughly the same economic destination as California. Texas may digest those changes differently, but the nature of the challenges will be approximately the same.

  2. This strengthens my instinct to head in the opposite direction – and ‘cheat’ if that’s what’s required to make it.

  3. California is #1 in taxes, regulation and bubble asset prices. Best of intentions leading up to this fiasco, but without normalizing these things on a national scale (which is undesirable for its own reasons), capital just flowed to other states or countries.

    I’ve softened on the NIMBYs and related folks. Mostly boomers reacting rationally to the conditions at the time – environmental degradation, increasing taxes, “Reaganomics”, etc. Of course, unintended consequences. Namely, Texas. But also Washington, Colorado and other Western states (nation states?) that have successfully piloted a middle ground between liberal social values and economic pragmatism. I want CA to be like them, more or less.

    It’s also sad that we couldn’t figure out an acceptable way to keep the “evil” industries like aerospace, energy, logistics, etc. Despite Richard Florida, middle class prosperity comes first and then culture. Not vice versa. We’re just breathing the decadent cultural fumes of prosperity past. I guess once all the cool bands are from Columbus and not California, people’ll care, right?

    One bright side is that, as you point out, CA is just further along than Texas. We’ve hit the dead-end of dead-end horizontal development and our infrastructure is hurting. Culturally, people are willing to entertain TND. I think the key is a vision that looks more like downtown Palo Alto (err… “Portofino”) and less like Manhattan/Moscow. It’s all about the identity/lifestyle play and not some study about revenue per acre. Sell the vision.

  4. Texas is analogous to a suburb. The city in the analogy is the state of New York or California.

    Texas gets to reap the benefits of human capital and financial capital grown in other states while they don’t have large legacy costs of their own. This puts them at a competitive advantage today, but in another 30 years they will be exactly where California or New York is now. They’re already increasing taxes (at least at the local levels) to support the increasing service demands of their nouveau riche populace.

    Their time is coming.

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