In a new issue of Time, Tyler Cowen has an article entitled, “Why Texas Is Our Future.”
“So,” Cowen asks, “why are more Americans moving to Texas than to any other state?” Here’s his answer:
As an economist and a libertarian, I have become convinced that whether they know it or not, these migrants are being pushed (and pulled) by the major economic forces that are reshaping the American economy as a whole: the hollowing out of the middle class, the increased costs of living in the U.S.’s established population centers and the resulting search by many Americans for a radically cheaper way to live and do business.
And, in a rather self-congratulatory article about the article, Ryan Sager of Time has another article called, “Tyler Cowen’s 10 Reasons Texas Is Our Future.” Here’s reason #5:
Cheap land, cheap houses
So where can people go when their incomes aren’t keeping pace with the rising cost of living? We know they’re headed to Texas. And they’re headed there because land is cheap, and thus housing is cheap.
A typical home in Brooklyn costs more than half a million dollars (and rising rapidly), and 85% of these dwellings are apartments and condos rather than stand-alone homes. They don’t usually have impressive sinks and seamlessly operating air-conditioning fixtures. In Houston, the typical home costs $130,100 — and it is likely a stand-alone and newer than the structure in Brooklyn.
Housing is bigger—and cheaper—in Texas.
The unquestioned premise of Cowen’s article, and of Sager’s adoration, is that Americans have the freedom to move about, to advance toward, and retreat from, undesirable economic conditions. Undoubtedly, some do.
But most do not, because they can not. When their incomes aren’t “keeping pace with the rising cost of living,” they’re stuck, especially when they’re living in “established population centers” like Brooklyn.
Here’s a more appropriate title for Cowen’s article:
Why Texas is the Future for Middle Class White Families who are Escaping Northeastern Ghettos to Avoid Taxes.
Somebody’s gotta go back to the city and get a shitload of dimes.