Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Freedom Effect - Texas Style

Forbes has put out their list of the 10 Metropolitan areas where the recession is easing, but it's in one of those annoying formats where you have to hit "next" 10 times to see all 10 cities.  Go to this Newser summary of the rankings if you find that to be tiresome. 
Their formula takes into account projected job growth and housing prices. Here's the list:
  1. (tie) Washington, DC-Arlington-Alexandria
  2. (tie) Austin-Round Rock
  3. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington
  4. (tie) Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington
  5. (tie) Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown
  6. Denver-Aurora
  7. San Antonio
  8. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy
  9. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana
  10. Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas)
Skip this rant, since it doesn't really contribute to the argument in this post:  Seeing Washington D.C. ranked as the most recession-proof enclave on the planet should come as no surprise, since our system requires all the tax, stimulus, lobbying, porkulus, and kickback money to go there first so that our Lords and Masters can take their cut off the top.  Look at the huge pay increases given to Department Of Transportation employees, for instance.  The number of employees breaking the $170,000.00 per year barrier has increased by 1,680 % in just two years, while the rest of us struggle through a recession.  Nice, recession-proof work if you can get it. 

With a Statist Congress and The Teleprompter Jesus running the show, D.C.'s ranking at #1 is to be expected.  Ranking any other American cities with Washington is like comparing Chihuahua, Juarez, and Guadalajara, Mexico's financial well-being to that of the Sinaloa Drug Cartel. 

Now that we have that out of the way....

Tied for first is Austin/Round Rock, Texas
Next is Fort Worth/Arlington/Dallas, Texas.
Next (tied with the Minnesota Metroplex) is Houston/Baytown, Texas
Denver breaks up the Texas winning streak, and then you get....
San Antonio, Texas

Now let's hop over to, which ranks U.S. states by Fiscal Freedom, Regulatory Freedom,  and Personal Freedom.  You can hit the link to see the methodology used to rank each state. 

In the Fiscal Freedom category, which includes things like proper restraints on local government, a high ratio between private vs. public employee earnings, and low local taxes, Texas was ranked #4 in the nation. 

In the Regulatory Freedom category, which covers freedom from labor regulation, health insurance mandates, occupational licensing, eminent domain, the tort system, environmental regulation, and utilities, Texas was ranked at a shameful #27.   I suspect this is because some of our billionaires like to dabble in eminent domain schemes and monopolies via regulation.  This is a good subject for further research. 

This gives Texas an Economic Freedom score of  #7 in the nation.  

The next big category is personal freedom.  It can be summarized as the right to do what you want to do, just as long as you don't harm anyone else.  It includes everything from gambling, to alcohol regulation, bicycle helmet regulations, forfeiture laws, tobacco bans, gay marriage, fireworks regulation, gun control, and home schooling.  Texas came in at #5 on the personal freedom list. 

All of these ranking combine to give Texas a Freedom Index score of #5 in the nation. 
Colorado (home of Denver/Aurora on the list of Metro areas recovering from the recession) is  #2 on the Freedom Index. 
Missouri (home of Kansas City on the list above) is #6 on the Freedom Index. 

Boston and Los Angeles distort the curve, since Massachusetts and California are only #44 and #47 on the Freedom Index.  (I have no theory on why Boston, Massachusetts, is doing so well ; California doesn't matter since their state government will be bankrupt within two years.) 

This is still enough to show a nice, neat correlation between freedom and prosperity.  Here's one of the Heritage Foundation's graphs showing the correlation between freedom and per capita GDP.  What's good for the states is obviously good for the nations:

Note to everyone moving to Texas:  Welcome !  We're glad you're here.  But if you're a refugee from another state, trying to outrun the consequences of your votes, please repent.  We're doing well here because we're willing to leave each other alone.   


Anonymous said...

Broken link. Try this instead.

Nick Rowe said...

Colorado has been ruined by Californians fleeing their state's devastating policies, but then voted for the same policies in their new digs.

Dr Ralph said...

Hmm... Hong Kong and Singapore (according to this graph) are ten points more "free" (whatever the hell that means). So, following the trend on the graph, shouldn't they be way out-classing the USA? Are they just statistical anomalies -- outliers -- or could there be some other factors at work as well? Which might imply other factors are at work for those places which the USA is out-classing.

I'm sure there's a logical explanation, and I'm sure there will be lots of volunteers to tell me what it is.

Also: before you post any more charts, consult your well-thumbed copy of "How to Lie With Statistics."

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

I'd have to delve into it, but my thought is HK has a slightly lower earnings level may be due to it's tiny size means that it has the highest real estate prices/costs on earth. This may or not be factored in, but I'd be surprised if that didn't factor in. The remoteness of Australia/NZ may keep their overall incomes depressed a little... even with low tariffs, high shipping costs must factor in somehow. Again, worth a look.

However, Dr. Trotsky, I've seen reams of data which support the FACT that there is a positive correlation with lower regulations and higher incomes... lower trade restrictions mean lower newborn death rates... restrained governmental meddling in trade means greater well being financially and physically - AS WELL as freer people.

That some of the freest countries may barely squeak into the top third, versus languishing in the bottom third is no reason to regulate everyone to an equal level of suffering.

Anonymous said...

We are doing so well here that nearly a quarter of our children live in poverty.

You live in a fantasy world and it is ruining my state.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Check out the following.
Of all the children who live in poverty in Texas, how many have televisions?
How many have parents with an automobile?
How many have air conditioning?
Lord have mercy, look at how many of the poor children have cell phones now !

I agree that some of us have more than others. I want everyone to have lots of great, great stuff. And there is no way to accomplish this except through the market. And the best market? The one that is free. Interjecting government munchkins into the middle of every interaction gets us nowhwere.
Neither does defining poverty upwards:

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Dr. Ralph,
Sorry I missed your comment without a response.....

For more info (and easy to read, and hilarious info) on the freedom in Hong Kong, look at P.J. O'Rourke's "Eat The Rich".

Hong Kong was blessed by a libertarian colonial administrator who, when it was time to hand the worthless rock of an island back over to its people, made a point of doing so in a manner that govt busybodies could have little or no effect on the....government.

Look at the latest list of billionaires, and how many of them are in Hong Kong. Considering where they are, their TOTAL lack of assets, and how much of a headstart we had on them r.e. basic economic sense? They really do outclass us.

Will read up more on Singapore.

Anonymous said...

And of course you get all that comes with that economic "freedom" like a wrecked and underfunded education system, the lowest educational scores in the country, a massive underclass living in crippling poverty, no social services for the less fortunate, and crappy roads.

If you remove the restrictions that keep the rich from exploiting the poor than of course the rich get richer, but the poor also get poorer. I'd rather live in a place where everyone can enjoy a reasonable standard of living.