New York, I love you — but I can’t make the math work.
Like lots of media professionals (and fashion mavens, artists, musicians, et al.), I’ve penciled out the numbers for what it would mean to take a job in New York City. There’s barely enough room on the back of the envelope for subtracting the double-dose income tax hit from the city and state, and that’s before even adjusting for cost of living.
That’s one of the reasons I’m in Dallas. You know, Texas, the state that parlayed this year’s census data into four new House seats — pinching the two lost by the Empire State — because people actually want to live here.
Lots of Texas professionals love New York this way: fly in for $200 round trip, suck down the city’s beefy marrow of culture for a weekend and jet back to live cheap and pay no income tax. It’s all the pleasure and we keep our treasure.
This isn't really a surprise. Texas acts as a tax haven from socialist hellhole states like New York. State/city income tax is the reason why Rush Limbaugh left NY for Florida. But the problem comes at the end of that assessment by Torbenson. Torbenson's idea of "beefy marrow of culture" is the kind of narrow-mindedness that's very easily illustrated.
The state still has its issues. When you have no income tax, property and sales taxes have to make up the revenue gap, and they’re pretty steep. And try not to be poor down here because the Texas approach to a social safety net can be summed up as “Meh.” Texas spends less per capita on social services than virtually any state.
The income gap here makes Texas look more like Mexico in some ways than the rest of the country, though New York is no stranger to wealth excess contrasted with subsistence living. Texas has led the country in the percentage of people lacking health care, teenage pregnancy rates and drags the bottom on educational attainment. Political discourse here remains whether Democrats are socialists or simply traitors.
Here is where Torbenson illustrates that he doesn't understand Texas at all, and should go back to NYC where he belongs.
Sales tax is not steep. 6.25% is not steep. There is no sales tax on food. That makes it much, much easier to be poor. Plus, unlike his beloved NYC, we in Texas have grocery stores and supermarkets and local markets down here - you don't have to eat out just to eat, as in NYC. NYC's sales tax, by comparison, is 8.875%.
Property tax is higher in Texas than some places because... guess what? Wealthy folks own property. To be among the "landed classes" has for millenia been one of the striving forces of people, and an indication that one is well-to-do. And if you pay a little more to own the land, well, that's just how it is. You can afford a home. Suck it up.
No one who's making $20K a year is going to feel it anywhere near as much in their pocket, though it will be passed on slightly from the landlord. The landlord, meanwhile, benefits from low sales tax and no income tax... which is why an apartment in Texas rents for $500 instead of $5000.
As a counterpoint to Mr. Torbenson - if he can come up with a way to cut property taxes and still run the state, let him run for governor. Debra Medina ran on the idea of cutting property taxes. While she had faults that led to her failure in the governor's race, the idea of changing property taxes may have some merit. Of course, this would, by all definitions, be an explicit endorsement of the landed classes - and while it would benefit those who don't own land as well - it'd require a lot more than just a whining New Yorker complaining about his rates to change.
The next thing on Torbenson's litany of complaints about his new home state is the lack of social services. Being the daft New Yorker that he is, perhaps he needs a reminder of what "social services" means:
High per-capita spending means HANDOUTS. Handouts are best summed up by on of my favorite Democrats, Grover Cleveland.
"Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character. . . . "
This applies at the state/local level, too. Give handouts, and you end up with professional recipients waiting in line to be given their "due" for being poor. And where does that money come from? Someone's "stash"? No, Mr. Torbenson, it comes from citizens. It comes from the higher taxes that you and your ilk are trying to run from. Vice President Joe "Foot-in-mouth" Biden says it's patriotic to pay taxes. He says those taxes are put back in the pockets of middle-class Americans.
Mr Torbenson, why are you running from your obligations to give money to middle class New Yorkers?
The income gap doesn't make Texas look like Mexico. Mexico looks like Mexico, where the rich live in walled enclaves. Texans enjoy a basic human right that Mexicans do not. Self-defense.
Do not underestimate this. There may be great wealth disparity in Texas, but so what? The vaquero riding a ranch in west Texas or the bubba slopping hogs in east Texas all share the same protection under the law, and are all afforded the ability to defend themselves against predation. Their basic security is ensured by Texas law. Their ability to earn and improve their lot is limited only by their own potential. Their right of self defense isn't limited by connections to the mayor or governor, as in New York.
Mr. Torbenson, you fail to understand the most basic elements of human living. People in Texas can be secure in their homes and their property moreso than any New Yorker.
Texas shares a border with a third world nation that's rapidly descending into anarchy, and plays host to a few sanctuary cities that invite in third world aliens. Austin is a major offender in this category. That by itself increases the teenage pregnancy rate and the rate of people in the state without health care.
Political discourse in Texas does often consist of whether Democrats are socialists or traitors because we look at what they do. When you live on the border, you see the criminal aliens that sneak across (or are caught) and you see the effects of illegal aliens invading the country.
You also see this:
“I have only one loyalty,” he says, “and that’s to the immigrant community.”
- Illinois Democrat Congressman Luis Gutierrez
Make no mistake - he's not talking about the legal immigrant community from India or Sweden or Laos or Japan or Bangladesh or Egypt. He's talking about illegal aliens, primarily from Mexico.
His "one loyalty" isn't to his constituency. It isn't to his oath of office. It's to these guys:
Remember this... just last week?
Democrat Congressman Luis Gutierrez IS a traitor. And a socialist. Yes, a socialist.
Mr. Torbenson doesn't understand the concept of a social safety net, either. A social safety net, to a socialist leftist who lives in NYC (even if you write for the NY Post, you're probably more socialist/leftist than you are constitutionalist), means the government's gun is put up against your head and taxes are taken to be redistributed.
A social safety net, to folks in Texas, means that when your neighbor, friend, family member or fellow church parishoner or coworker or whoever needs some help - you have more of your own wealth to offer it. Culturally, you don't go begging for the government to shove a pistol in someone else's face and take their money for your "safety net". Your neighbor, or your friend, or your fellow parishoner or your relative helps you out. You aren't conditioned by the nanny state government to beg for handouts, so your social net knows when you need help, you need it. Or if you cry wolf, they ignore you, and you get nowhere - and you stop crying wolf and get a job.
In a more extreme example - in Boston, people seeing a cop being beaten walk by and don't help. New Yorkers are famous for closing their shades and ignoring a woman being murdered. In Texas, you don't even have to be home for your neighbors to defend you and your property.
Where do you feel safer? A state with a firm self defense mindset, where your physical safety is a priority to state representatives, and your financial and social safety is ensured by loving relatives, friends, coworkers, and the generous spirit of the people you know? Or a state where your "safety net" is doled out by some faceless bureaucrat, sick and tired of the incessant begging at their office?
If you're an illegal alien and burglar, feel free to relocate to New York. They have TVs there, handouts for you, and they won't shoot you - and if they did, they'd go to jail and you'd get to sue them.
Mr. Torbenson, in the Rockies, there's a term. It's called "aspenification".
Your town doesn't even have a gay lesbian bisexual transgender crystal-channeling health center, does it, Stan DARSH!?!
It's when a good town is overrun with aliens. Not the illegal alien kind. The kind of aliens that come from California. Usually they're running from something - high taxation due to idiotic social programs, crime caused by their social programs and gun control that disarmed all the non-criminals, that kind of thing. The town is taken over by rich people (typically from California) who are socially insulated by their position and their ability to just flit about from coast to coast. They don't understand what happens around them because they're wealthy enough to avoid any ramifications. So they simply move again, and ruin another small town.
In the Rockies, they typically come in and overtax the local government and drive out all the previous residents. Then they wonder why their city collapses on them in a rush of insane living expenses, taxes, and absurd laws and regulations. Basically, they bring their own big-city baggage with them and inflict it on the new town.
The newcomers don't want to assimilate into the small town. They resent the small town because it's prosperous. They want to change their new home into their old one - and they don't understand that the reasons the new town is BETTER than their old home is because of all the bullshit they inflict on it.
In Texas, there's a term for people who aren't from Texas. It's used elsewhere in the old South, though Texans strangely even use it to refer to folks from the old South. Yankees. It has to do with newcomers. Newcomers who come to stay are called Damn Yankees. Those who don't assimilate to Texas culture and understand that the things that Texas does are for a reason* earn the name - and it's no term of endearment. Also in the old South, they're referred to as Goddamn Yankees.**
Again I recall Thomas Sowell:
"For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before."
*For example: I used to live in a state with huge tracts of Forest Service and BLM land. Quite often really nice for that state, but it doesn't work in Texas. And I wouldn't want it, nor push for it, in Texas. That's just not how it works in Texas.
**In the bible belt, that's no small curse, either, though it may be lost on the philistines who populate Gotham and use "f*** you!" as a greeting - the "New York hello".