Texas is a very large state with many smaller areas within it that have different geographical, economic, and climate characteristics. Residents of one portion of the state often understand less about other components of the state.
Some people point out many positive things like low living costs, no state income tax, and lots of property, while other authors point out a lot of negative things like bad medical and educational services for the state’s poorer inhabitants.
That’s part of the package. I don’t believe most of it’s all about politics, and most of it’s just accidentally due to oil. Texas’ financial achievement has to do with lots and lots of broad open, buildable space, a sunny and hot climate, comparatively fresh infrastructure, air conditioning (see below), and inadvertently wise choice by some of yesteryear’s leaders that helped finance the two main universities of the state.
The net impact is low living costs, plenty of space to create, and a business-friendly atmosphere translating into jobs and affordable homes. Texas has a varied economy, particularly when viewing the whole country.
In the recession of 2008, Texas did not suffer nearly as much as most other states, housing values dropped about 5 percent, for instance, and work losses were comparatively small, in reality, there were important work gains for virtually all Obama years.
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Texas switched to a wealthy state for all practical purposes when they discovered Texas oil back in 1901. It produced many employment and tax revenue. But the two largest universities in the state— U Texas and Texas A&M — have particularly benefited. That’s because the state legislature endowed the two universities with what was mostly worthless scrubland in West Texas.
The idea at the moment was that this land could be used for ranching, helping the universities construct their endowments. When oil was found on that territory, each of these universities started to earn significant income from oil royalties that they used to construct their endowments much higher than initially expected.
They also produced good money investments, and because state law banning the use of endowment cash for projects, they used it to build and grow. And they still have the revenue today, let alone huge endowments.
Then another significant innovation was air-conditioning in the 1950s and 1960s. It made the summer place livable. Since then, immigrant floods from other countries have persisted unabated. And a substantial portion of what you see today in Texas has been constructed since the 1950s, so there’s not much ancient declining infrastructure. I.e., there are not as many countries in the manner of dams, bridges, and roads (although we also have some). Much of Texas ‘ electrical and telephone service is underground, particularly in the main towns, so when we have storms we tend to have smaller breakdowns.
The state of Texas has invested in new technology and new business areas from time to time and has been wise enough to expand the economic base rather than investing in already strong industries like oil and agriculture.
When I compare Texas with other locations I’ve lived or visited, I always notice that there seems to be so much more building going on in Texas — everywhere — bridges, highways, buildings, houses, office buildings, apartment buildings, etc.
Most of Texas is not hemmed in by big waters, hills or other natural obstacles. That is, it’s mainly flat. Yes, Texas is smaller than Alaska, but Alaska has cold winters and mountains that make things harder to build. Texas is huge compared to other states, especially in terms of flat land you can build on at minimal expense, or start a farm on, or open a ranch on, or maybe drill oil on. And it’s sunny. Texas grows many agricultural products.
Climate-wise, Texas is hot, but not as arid as Eastern California, Nevada, and parts of Arizona. Okay, you can grow trees. Most of it has very mild winter weather, which means not incurred much expense. On the other side, southwest areas of the state (especially around Houston) tend to have very elevated humidity and are somewhat flood-prone. Houston is a major port city near Mexico Gulf. Much of its soil is at low altitude.]
Thus, although most state-owned cars do not rust out almost as rapidly as those from more northerly countries owing to no need to use salt on highways in winter, some Houston area vehicles have endured flood harm.
Another, more subtle factor is that most Texas immigrants are comparatively recent (I mean in the last 50 years or so). So we don’t have as many old, established families and institutions that inhibit progress as you might find in some states whose populations grew earlier.
Politically, the state tends to be conservative though there are pockets of other political persuasions and demographics are altering so that it may not last that long.
Texas has many colleges. In addition to the two aforementioned state universities, each of which has grown dramatically into large systems of campuses across the country, there are also several other government colleges (e.g. Texas Tech) and quite a few well-respected private universities (e.g. Rice, SMU, and TCU, to name three). Learn more about Texas!
Oil remains a major part of Texas ‘ economy, especially in Houston (the world’s energy capital) and Midland (which, according to recent projections, could spill more oil than any OPEC nation other than Saudi Arabia in 5 years). But Texas ‘ reasons for achievement go beyond that: besides energy, Texas has a diverse economy with big quantities of production, tech, healthcare, banking, and agriculture. For instance, Austin is witnessing insane development in almost every sector but (traditional) electricity.
After the oil bust in the early 80s, the state’s main towns learned the hard way too much oil and gas could have catastrophic effects. While energy will always be the main component of the economy and driver of job creation in good times, it’s no longer the only game in town.
Broadly speaking, countries like California could be called “high tax, high benefit.”
That is, they tax companies and people at high prices, and use the cash to provide loads of public services/welfare advantages. Texas is the philosophical reverse, with low taxes, less government, and small advantages. If this issue asked, “What is better to be poor in?”California would win hands down, and honestly, if I had $50 million in the bank, I might believe back to northern California.
But Texas provides a better deal for middle-and upper-middle-class individuals and many companies, with a better quality of life at fair rates. As a consequence, in recent years, millions of individuals (and billions of dollars in a company) have escaped blue states west and north to Texas.
Texas is a large state with lots of lands that can be developed and a pro-development government. As a result, affordable housing can still be found even in big cities, and while the state isn’t as affordable as it was 20 years ago, it still compares positively with most countries. For example, my Houston home would cost at least twice as much in a comparable west coast neighborhood. This, again, attracts both employers and employees to the state.
There is a stereotypical image that many people have about Texas, i.e. that we are all a bunch of white, Bible-thumping cowboys, but the reality is that the state has become a magnet for people all over the world due to the availability of jobs and a good opportunity for a quality life.
Houston is the nation’s most diverse city. A quarter of Dallas ‘ population is foreign-born, and both San Antonio and it are “majority-minority” towns. Texas is strongly benefiting from “brain drain” in other nations, and as individuals discover how healthy life can be in the Lone Star State, they tend to encourage family and friends to join them, offering us a great supply of qualified employees.
How well a state’s economy does have very little to do with its government, except in extreme instances (where anti-business strategies effectively leave the country).
To know this all you need to think about is California vs Texas-they’s fairly much polar opposites in terms of taxation, size of state and local government, how nitpicky laws are (CA’s anti-cancer warnings are an enormous joke-so common that individuals basically got overloaded and began ignoring them, defeating the whole objective and costing loads of cash and wasted ink) Both have strong economies, among the country’s finest.
I don’t believe the quantity of shoreline or natural resources in the top 10 predictors of such financial achievement. I believe what the achievement reflects is the quantity of talent that individuals who work in CA / TX and individuals who begin business there bring to bear, the diverse range of accessible sectors, and the range of quality schools, vocational training institutes, etc. accessible to hire new staff.
Plus a large enough population to support a diverse economy (unlike, say, Alaska). To me, being both effective means that skilled individuals come from both ends of the political spectrum (or tolerate countries dominated by both ends).
What most dramatically affects the socialist lean vs liberal lean DO are: depth and scope of a social safety net (CA, lots, TX, little unless you have a family) and housing values (CA-zoning registers to lead to absurd undersupply in coastal cities). In the long run, it’s totally uncertain whether more regulation or less regulation is “good,” particularly when you think of wildfires, hurricanes, and floods. Is it intelligent to let individuals construct wherever they want with rising flood frequency? Who will bear expenses (hopefully not taxpayers)?
This does not mean that CA’s government-based strategy will necessarily lead to smarter development either-I was reading about how real estate brokers are already lobbying local authorities to prevent insurance companies from raising wildfire insurance rates in Napa / Sonoma fields so that individuals whose homes are burnt can continue to pay subsidized fire insurance rates. Yeah, both government and people making free choices seem to be fairly good at long-term stupidity while maximizing short-term profit.