The “pull” factors of Texas and similar conservative states—the absence of a state income tax, a pro-business (and anti-labor) political climate—are real enough. But these factors are not new—and if they were the real causes of the flight from California of industry and population, that flight would have occurred long ago, in the 1970s or 1980s.
What has made California so repulsive that many of its star companies and most talented individuals are making like East Germans trying to scramble over the Berlin Wall? We can begin with the squalor of San Francisco with its streets littered with needles and human feces and its public parks turned into homeless encampments. Though the crisis of public order is usually blamed on low-density zoning restrictions, the homeless tend to be drug addicts or the deinstitutionalized mentally ill, not working-class people and professionals priced out of local home ownership. Meanwhile, a wave of woke education policy aimed at the ritual leveling of Bay Area’s few actual meritocratic institutions—like San Francisco’s sole merit-based STEM high school—augurs poorly for the prospects of the children of tech workers whose parents can’t afford private schools.
Whether they realize it or not, they’re fleeing Democratic governance. It’s important to make sure that they know it. Hence, my Welcome Wagon project.
No, really: “Will the refugees from the West Coast Californicate the rest of the country? My home town of Austin, once the laid-back home of outlaw country music and slackerdom, now reminds me of San Francisco circa 2010, with food snobs, arrogant bikers, and a city government at war against plastic bags and cars.”
I’ve actually started working on trying to make the Welcome Wagon project a reality. I hope to have some news later.