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T Bone
T Bone
7 months ago

What I loved about living in a deep Blue State is that you realize that you are not just a person. You are a Unit of Taxation. Sometimes nowadays, I don’t feel like my Red State even cares about my Taxable Identity.

No income tax, what kind of hogwash is that about? True progress happens when the individual absorbs himself into the collective whole for the “greater good” by forfeiting half his hard earned income to a benevolent and loving State apparatus.

Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Property tax seems even worse – taxed just for owning a house, irregardless of what price you paid for it, or how much you earn. Does this not lead to people being taxed out of their own homes? Generally speaking, if you are earning an income you rely on the state apparatus – laws, roads, transportation etc without which business would not be possible.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

In many areas, property tax is the primary vehicle for funding public schools. If you’re worried about people being taxed out of their homes, then Texas is the wrong place to look. Think New Jersey, which combines high property taxes with a state income tax and other fees. There is no perfect state; they all come with tradeoffs. The ones without state income taxes – and I’ve lived in two – figure out ways of making up for that.

Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

NJ is crazy – just so Brits know: you pay $2,300 a year per $100k value of your house. An average price UK house would draw $8,700 a year in what we call in the UK, ‘council tax’. In Texas you pay only $6,000! Compared with UK, this high tax is usually more than offset by lower income and sales tax, but I still scratch my head as to why this is seen as acceptable.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Council taxes in the UK will rise 50% over the next 5 years. The idea is to penalise people who own property in favour of thoze who don’t. Labour, the leftish party, is following Thomas Piketty, who advocates huge property taxes and a straight 50% inheritance tax. The idea is that an inheritance for ‘rich’ kids is unfair and that everybody should get the same inheritance, a payment of about $150,000 each on teaching the age of 25.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
7 months ago

I’d wager Thomas Piketty isn’t lined up for inheriting a substantial property come the passing of his parents. Either that or he’s worked away round it already. Oh, and if I worked hard, paid taxes and saved all my life why the heck shouldn’t my kids get a break. Asking for a friend.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

“Why not both”

And welcome to Canada,

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Property taxes here in Japan too. Like any tax, no-one enjoys paying it, but it does balance out the fact that consumption tax and other alternatives to income tax are often regressive in practice. Also acts as in incentive for people with land to either use it, or sell it someone who will.

Geoffrey Kolbe
Geoffrey Kolbe
6 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

“No taxation without representation!” If property owners were the only ones allowed to vote, that would even things up.

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
6 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Kolbe

Now you’re talking! Only responsible people get to choose who governs.

Leaving aside ideology and practicality (takes deep breath), it’s not the most stupid idea.

The novelist Neville Shute wrote about a post-war Britain run into the ground by successive governments voted in by a populace who would always vote for the party that promised the least work and the largest handouts. This he contrasted with an Australia where voters were awarded the right to cast additional votes according to markers of their social responsibility. Married = extra vote. Homeowner = extra vote. Employed for over 5 years and in work = etc.

Unsurprisingly, that Australia was thriving and vibrant because the grownups were choosing their governments.

Wouldn’t happen, of course. But it would probably result in better governments than the current system. The bar is low!

Last edited 6 months ago by Roddy Campbell
Chris Amies
Chris Amies
6 months ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

Whereas now Australia has compulsory voting which may also have a good effect because it isn’t just the over-40s who vote.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
6 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Kolbe

What you want is no representation without taxation, which is a different thing.

Lesley Keay
Lesley Keay
7 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

You’re the Borg, right?

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
7 months ago

the empty suit that is Beto O’Rourke.
That’s not fair. Beto O’Rourke wasn’t an empty suit; I mean, he’s full of something.

David Jory
David Jory
7 months ago

The same filling as Walking Eagle Liz Warren was so full of, and hence can’t fly,leading to her special native name.

J Hop
J Hop
7 months ago

I have lived in both San Diego, California and in Austin, Texas and left both so I have some insight into this I guess.

California is indeed in pretty significant decline. It was declining when I lived there over a decade ago and I’ve gone back to visit and it’s far, far worse now. That said if you’re extremely wealthy California is still a pretty good place to live. I visited La Jolla, and it remains the same as the La Jolla of a decade ago and the natural beauty is world renowned. Upper class places though, like Santa Monica, are also in pretty swift decline and the cost of lifting is horrendous.

Austin is way too much like California nowadays but Texas in general can be a great place to live. Warm weather, albeit extremely hot at times, good cost-of-living, friendly people, and a good economy all go along way, particularly when you’re looking to buy a house and raise a family. That said, there are some real downsides like aforementioned hot weather, horrible traffic, and most of the state is fairly flat and not particularly high in natural beauty.

So that said, if you’re really wealthy, California may still be a great place to live, and if you really dislike scorching hot weather and enjoy hiking, you may really dislike Texas. As Texas becomes more popular and more crowded, which it is with people fleeing California, the traffic problems and affordability all go in the wrong direction.

So I believe that the trends are true, but of course, you will always find exceptions to that. For the record, we are in the Carolinas now and are staying for the foreseeable future. It’s a nice blend of good weather, nature, and affordability.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

Watch out. As Texas becomes less affordable, people will pack up and move there.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Don’t worry; we’ll always have Utah.

Paula Dufort
Paula Dufort
7 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

Native North Carolinian here. Nice to hear you like that area.

The Carolinas are really beautiful and more affordable than California. If you want seasons and a variety of environments, the Carolinas provide that. After living in Florida I do miss things about them.

As for Florida, it used to be more affordable. The working class and lower income retirees are being priced out. The population here, in North Florida, is increasing from South Florida and out of state transplants. I will stay here since I have grown accustomed to the state and know how to deal with the issues of living here.

If you want to move to the Carolinas please check out the taxes for both states. NC traditionally has higher taxes than SC.

They two states have a number of differences so someone thinking about moving to that area should investigate the two states before deciding which state works.

T Bone
T Bone
7 months ago
Reply to  Paula Dufort

Western North Carolina might be the hidden gem of the entire country. It’s also hard for progressives to colonize since the hills limit their ability to dense pack planned communities with identical homes.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
7 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Western N Carolina is the second home of South Floridians.

Paula Dufort
Paula Dufort
7 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

That’s true. The only really progressive municipality in Western NC (that I remember) is Asheville.

Demographics in that area are also not hospitable to progressivism unless things have changed tremendously in the past ten years.

Western NC is very different from Eastern and Central NC. Even the cuisine is different (barbeque and fatback vs. bacon are two of the biggies) as well as the accents.

Liam F
Liam F
6 months ago
Reply to  Paula Dufort

What wƔould you consider are the main differences between NC and SC Paula? (Just asking for a friend obviously)

Laurence Siegel
Laurence Siegel
6 months ago
Reply to  J Hop

La Jolla now has a homeless problem, although nowhere near as serious as downtown San Diego.

Glynis Roache
Glynis Roache
7 months ago

Texas is big enough to sustain any amount of narratives. I have mine, I’m sticking to it, and it is not even vaguely coincident with this article. Was there for three years with husband on military exchange in 1980s. I’m English ( not that one in Austin!) and we have castles and cathedrals and stately homes and Stonehenge. What we don’t have is cowboys with stetsons (though the Stetsons, once Stidston,  trace ancestry to Devon) cutting horses, rodeos and Saturday night dances with barbecue at trestle tables and bull riding as a side dish. Or the Alamo and Larry McMurtry (God rest his talented soul). Those are my impressions of Texas and I’m grateful for them. When I’m finally dumped in an old folks home, I’m going to read ‘Lonesome Dove’ for the third time. It won a Pulitzer, you know.
PS This post apparently failed some sort of test at previous posting. It’s happened before. Is Unherd trying to tell me something?

Andrew Buckley
Andrew Buckley
7 months ago
Reply to  Glynis Roache

You seem far too contented with life to be allowed to post on here Glynis!

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
7 months ago
Reply to  Glynis Roache

After LOTR Lonesome Dove might just be the greatest book ever written.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
7 months ago

So, will the flight from Texas become a media staple? 
As long as the media continues to traffic in red/blue, politically-driven narratives, yes, it will. It doesn’t matter if the claim is accurate or not; that’s no longer the point. The point is to attack the “other,” something that has been made fashionable in recent years, beginning with attacks on white people, moving to vaccine skeptics, and now ratcheting to a higher gear with the Israel/Gaza conflict. Open hatred of people unlike you has become normalized. It’s the sort of thing that eventually, escalates into violence. Meet the new Jacobins, no different from the old ones.

T Bone
T Bone
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Alot of what you say here is correct but the Red/Blue Narrative is not going away nor should it. The Red/Blue debate is substantive. It’s the difference between Conservative policies and progressive policies and the extent to which they overlap.

There’s a massive Red State Blue City dynamic that’s falsely providing Progressives a Red State crime narrative. Thats fine. The more they press the narrative the more clear it will become that there policies are once again the cause of instability.

Only Progressives, IE the Ideological descendents of Jacobins benefit from a dilution of the Red/Blue Narrative.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
6 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

The problem with that kind of ideological binary is that people might be somewhere else. Like asking people “are you a communist or a monarchist”. There are more options than two,

Brian Lemon
Brian Lemon
7 months ago

What I love most about this piece is the author’s illustration of how “narratives” are actively designed to suit the preconceptions of their target audiences…

Steve Hamlett
Steve Hamlett
7 months ago

I’ve lived in Texas most of my life and it’s the HEAT, five damn months of it every year, that’s going to chase me out.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Hamlett

Not a tourist destination then?

As the saying goes: If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitsch Inn.

Peter B
Peter B
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Hamlett

It’s certainly hot most of the year, but it’s the humidity I really couldn’t stand. West Texas is drier, but Dallas humidity with 90F plus temperatures is no fun – and Austin and Houston are worse.
Don’t know if Dallas still has the bizarre wet and dry districts (alcohol sales zoning).
Friendly people though. And a less workaholic environment than Silicon Valley.

James S.
James S.
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Hamlett

Reminds me why I prefer the Northwest, even though the leftist politics up here are making it California Redux. Fortunately, Idaho and Montana aren’t far away.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
7 months ago

California has always had a dark underbelly. I remember watching America’s most wanted in the late 80s and early 90s. Invariably, the perpetrators of the worst crimes were from California. (Manson and his gang committed their gruesome crimes in California.) The dark underbelly has dramatically increased in size and is in the process of swallowing whole the state.

Kent Ausburn
Kent Ausburn
7 months ago

Like many places, cost of living and real estate depends on where in Texas you live. If you avoid the big cities in Texas, especially Austin, there are many nice places in Texas where real estate is quite affordable, like the Hill Country and the Corpus Christi area. I live in Washinton state and have been researching a move to Texas. I could sell my house here and buy something similar in the Hill Country or Corpus Christi for several hundred thousand less.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago

We’ve lived in Texas for 25 years. My husband is native and I am originally from California. Texas is great. It is not for the weak (the heat is real). Even where we are (outside of Austin in what used to be a small town) it’s still cheaper than CA, though less so so than when we bought this place 12 years ago.

If someone wants to leave Texas to go back to CA (doubtful) then bless their heart, they should not let the door hit them on the way out. God Bless Texas

William Brand
William Brand
7 months ago

HOUSTON has the best options. Its Blue in a Red state. The state legislature prevents Woke fools from telling schoolgirls to allow boys to watch them on toilet. The rangers can substitute for defunded police. The woke can help central American residents and vaccinate people and other sane things. I haven’t heard that of Jews being genocided so the state is still controlling the city. There are plenty of overpass bridges on interstates for the poor to sleep. The city hall park. has a deed clause allowing drunks to sleep there.

Last edited 7 months ago by William Brand
Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
6 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

Best of both worlds, eh?

Trouble with the US of A as it currently stands is that you only get one world at a time, politically.

Either a hawk or a dove. What you actually need is an owl.

Glynis Roache
Glynis Roache
7 months ago

Sorry, deleted. It appeared as soon as I put the second one up!

Last edited 7 months ago by Glynis Roache