Why Progressive States Fail





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I want to focus on what puts states with progressive policies at greater risk than states with more conservative ideals — and who is in deeper trouble.

Obviously a tsunami is going to put basically everyone under water and, as you'd expect, the greatest crisis since World War II means that right now 48 states are in trouble. But there's a big difference between states that will almost always be at risk for going under water and then those that are better able to weather the storm. And that is based on how progressive their policies are.

If you look at the states that the Pew Center ranks as most failing, you will tend to see something in common: They are like California, in terms of budget deficit and several other key factors.

Rhode Island, Michigan and Oregon are all very progressive states. If you go down the list, some conservative states pop up.

You might say, "Hey Glenn! Why are Arizona and Nevada so high on that list?"

Well, despite conservative policies, the real estate market collapse most seriously affected Arizona and Nevada. Like I said, a tsunami puts everyone under water.

The other states, meanwhile, were running into trouble even in good times. Why?

Look at their policies, particularly their progressive taxes and other anti-business practices. These states not only heavily tax the rich and spread the wealth, but they also spend like times are always going to be good. They don't have rainy day funds that can help them get through tough times.

No, they pretty much need times to always stay good and probably even get better, just to stay in good shape — progressively ramping up their spending.

As I've said for years now, "as goes California, so goes the nation." And so it's not really any surprise that California's high taxing, high spending and obliviousness to future concerns sounds just like... well, exactly what the federal government has done.

But unlike the government which can borrow money from the Fed, states start to shut down and start issuing IOUs. In each case, these progressive states counted on the high earners' revenue and the big bonuses and when they didn't come through... big trouble.

New York's foreclosure rate happened to be really low because it's so tough actually buying property and so they weren't nearly as high on the Pew Center's list as you'd expect. They're still in huge trouble, along with New Jersey.

Actually, with all these states that are reliant on heavy earners, not only do you see a lot of volatility based on market swings like we're in now, but also millionaires' taxes don't work. Look at the volatility of California. Look at how the tech bubble and the housing bubble totally wrecked their plans.

They drive people out of the states. Rich people are rich partly because they know how to protect their money. And if all the states become too progressive, they'll just take their money overseas. All this leads to the Northeast being known as "America's Economic Black Hole."

Compare the financial situations of those states in the most trouble with the states that are in tougher times than usual, but far closer to recovery. What you'll find in states like Texas, Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana and North Dakota is that generally they are better able to weather the storm, because they have conservative principles.

States with broad-based taxes with low rates will go through downturns, but they are so much less reliant on the rich people continuing to earn. You'll also find much less of a union influence than those progressive states. Some other states that saved when times were good are Florida and Indiana and they are doing much better now as a result.

Here's something else to look at: If you look at the 10 states that rely most on individual income taxes — states like Oregon, New York, California — you see once again how the states with progressive income tax are generally in worse shape, due to that volatility I just spoke of.

And then check out the 10 states that concentrate their spending on public welfare. Well, what a surprise, New York again. And Rhode Island, whose progressive social policies mean they are more likely spending and spreading the wealth than they are saving that wealth or keeping money in the hands of individuals.

Even more dramatic is the volatility of taxes collected: From 1990, compare California, which has the highest personal income tax rate in the country, with Texas to see whose total tax collected is more stable. (By the way, Texas has no state personal income tax.) It's obvious which state sees more fluctuations and which is much more stable.

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This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

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