Monday, July 21, 2014

Americans Voting With Their Feet for Red State Cities

Lone Star Juggernaut

The Census Bureau has released a report of the 15 fastest growing US cities with populations of 50,000 or more.  Here is the list.

1.    San Marcos, Texas
2.    Frisco, Texas
3.    South Jordan, Utah
4.    Cedar Park, Texas
5.    Lehi City, Utah
6.    Goodyear, Arizona
7.    Georgetown,  Texas
8.    Gaithersburg, Maryland
9.    Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
10.  Meridian, Idaho
11.  Odessa, Texas
12.  Gilbert, Arizona
13.  McKinney, Texas
14.  Franklin, Tennessee
15.  Pearland, Texas

Seven such cities are in Texas, and fourteen of fifteen are in so-called "red" states, that is, states that voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008.  This concentration of fast-growing cities in such red states is not surprising.  After all, as previously explained on this blog, the Nation has to some extent embraced a constitutional system of competitive federalism, whereby individual states are free to embrace different philosophies of regulation and taxation.  Because individuals are free to travel between the states, jurisdictions that offer environments conducive to the creation of economic opportunity will attract individuals and capital, while those that impose undue regulatory burdens and taxation will deter in-migration and encourage their citizens to migrate elsewhere.  Indeed, previous posts on this blog have identified various policies, such as minimum wages (see here and here), high income taxes and associated over-spending (see here and here), and statutes authorizing so-called "closed shop" collective bargaining agreements (see here and here), that deter wealth-creating economic activity, stultifying economic growth and opportunity.   By contrast, of the red states represented in this list, only one (Arizona) has a minimum wage that exceeds the federal minimum.   (See here)  Two have no minimum wage at all.   Moreover, all such states are so-called "right to work" states that prevent unions from negotiating collective bargaining agreements that require employees to financially support a union against their will.  It is thus no surprise that cities from red states dominate this list, as they have dominated similar lists in the past.  Removal of federal policies that distort and dampen such competition, discussed here and here, would bolster such rivalry and further discipline those states that adopt policies that hamper growth and opportunity.