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And Now, The GOOD News…
You know the old journalism rule, “if it bleeds it leads?” Well, it’s true. For some reason, people gravitate toward bad news…
Don’t know what that says about humanity, but it’s probably not good. It is unfortunate, to say the least, that there is a whole lot or bad news out there right now.
It’s like the world has turned into one giant bad neighborhood…
Granted, most of the world has always been a bad neighborhood, but certain societies around the world managed to carve out pleasant and relatively safe and stable islands of suburbia…
But today, even those places seem to be under constant threat of financial meltdown, joblessness, homelessness, and an all around sense of malaise.
Is this accurate?
In the macro context, it is a fair picture. But as my friend George Ross reminds me whenever we chat, economies aren’t bad all over all the time. The economy may be bad where you are, but somewhere else, it is better.
And you know what?
George is right.
Even though the macro numbers are not good here or many places abroad, there are places in the US where the economy is booming…
Doing better than you might think
Or at least doing better, sometimes much better, than the national averages would lead to you believe.
Take Texas, for example. According to a recent paper put out by the Heritage Foundation…
“Texas created 37 percent of all jobs since the beginning of the economic recovery, more than any other state. Excluding New York and Pennsylvania, Texas has created nearly as many jobs as all other states combined.”
Why has Texas been able to do this?
The research paper quotes Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, who noted that even though all the states in the US are under the same Fed monetary policy and interest rates and federal regulation, Texas is doing so well relative to other states because “it has rejected the economic model that prevails in Washington, and because of its “free market and business friendly climate.”
Think about that. Success by rejecting the "prevailing economic model." That's a pretty powerful antidote to "hope and change."
In a recent Forbes article, Joel Kotkin sees many places in the US that are thriving because of what those states, or even cities are deciding to do on their own. And Bill Gilmer, senior economist at the same Fed bank in Dallas as Fisher, sees “energy growth” as “spark(ing) ‘upstream’ expansion in a host of other industries such as chemicals and plastics.”
He left out construction, manufacturing, trucking, food services, retail, auto sales and many other sectors. In other words, success in one industry leads to growth in many. Not an earth-shaking revelation, but worth keeping in mind. Like Kotkin, Gilmer also sees such economic growth affecting other oil-rich states like Oklahoma, the Dakotas, and Louisiana.
Success is a choice
But guess which state—oil rich and innovative as it is—will not benefit the way Texas is today and will in the future?
A better way of asking that question is, which state has not rejected the progressive economic model that prevails in Washington, but rather endorses and follows it? Which state chose tax hikes and more regulation, which are already among the worst in the country to solve their economic problems? And, finally which state will not allow its fossil fuels to be pulled out of the ground to provide jobs, energy and money to a struggling economy?
The answer is none other than my home state of California…which I left for the opportunities here in Austin, Texas.
The golden state happens to be oil-rich, but will not benefit from the oil boom underway in the US. The state has arguably more talent in more industries than any other state, more natural resources than most, and the best climate in the country…
And it’s failing miserably.
As a result, businesses are fleeing California, official unemployment is about 11% (add another 3 or 4% to be real), and of course, higher taxes and regulation are on the menu going forward.
Why is California failing? Because it chooses to.
It's as simple as that. California has decided to fail. When will the state recover? When it decides that it has failed enough.
When will that be?
With a third of the country’s welfare population living there, and the State Assembly dominated by Leftists and unions, don’t hold your breath.
But let’s move on, shall we?
Let’s look at another fantastic place in the US that is doing very, very well…
That would be North Dakota.
According to the BEA (Bureau of Economic Analysis), North Dakota grew 7.6% in 2011…
That’s 5 times the national average of 1.5% growth.
And it’s not just because of oil. It’s because of the choices that the leadership of that state has made.
As Marc J. Perry blogged at Carpe Diem last week…
“North Dakota's economic success goes beyond … energy prosperity, which is being supplemented by other booming sectors including manufacturing, tourism, advanced manufacturing, information technology and agriculture. The state's pro-business climate should get some of the credit for the impressive output and job gains over the last several years, including leading the country in real GDP growth in 2011.”
See where I’m going with this?
Simple; don’t be sucked into the view point that what sells in the media is absolutely true everywhere, all the time, because it’s not. That’s one of George Ross’ great insights and it’s worth taking on board.
Even when the economy is not doing well on average, the average numbers tell you nothing about where the economy is better than average. And the truth is there are many other places around the country that are doing well despite the climate and policies in Washington…
If you look for them, you will find them.
Are stupid, heavy-handed, business-crushing policies coming out of Washington every day? No question about it. But does that mean that all is lost? Hell no.
Even in California, in some areas and in the right industries, you can make an exceptional living…
So take heart, be smart about what you read and what you allow to influence your point of view, and go where the opportunity is.
And those are…The Gorrie Details.