John Stossel on Shopping Around for a Better Life

Thanks, California! Thanks for your monstrous spending and absurd regulatory overreach! America needs you. We need Connecticut and Illinois, too! We need you the way we needed the Soviet Union, as models of failure, to warn us what happens if we believe those who say, “Government can.”

All Americans should watch and learn from states like California, says John Stossel. But if we don’t, and if people keep electing big-government politicians, at least Americans, unlike the Greeks, can hop around between 50 states, trying to stay one step ahead of bad laws and ruin.

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  • PapayaSF||

    Either this is a strangely short post, or something has gone wrong....

  • OldMexican||

    The second one.

    Here's his full essay:

    http://townhall.com/columnists.....e-n1494778

  • OldMexican||

    Well, I did, and I don't regret it.

  • crazyfingers||

    "at least Americans, unlike the Greeks, can hop around between 50 states, trying to stay one step ahead of bad laws and ruin."

    Don't worry, Obama and his cohorts are well on the way to remedying that flaw in the system.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I just hope there's some notice before they start doing away with passports.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    I'm a small business owner in California. We love the climate and all the natural beauty. Most of our family is also here. However, as most know, CA is becoming less business friendly and more expensive by the nanosecond. Mrs Christ and I are talking about relocating. We would like to stay in the West. So, what is the left coast libertopia? Washington state? Colorado?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Utah or Idaho?

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    That's the thing, I don't really know. I wonder if there is anything that indexes freedom for the US states, like there is for countries.

  • Mediterranean Death Cult||

    What a great idea!

  • Mediterranean Death Cult||

    Turns out it's been done.
    Freedom in the 50 States:
    http://mercatus.org/freedom-50-states-2011

  • Brandybuck||

    South Dakota looks pretty free, but there ain't no jobs. New Hampshire is like blazing beacon of liberty in a sea os statism, but I hear the commute down to Boston where all the jobs are is a bitch. For a Californio that leaves Oregon which looks mostly free and lots of jobs in Portland. Just hoping Portlandia is a comedy and not a documentary.

  • SugarFree||

    The Feminist Bookstore skits? They film in a real bookstore and no set-dressing is required. It actually looks like that.

  • Hyperion||

    It's documentary according to someone I know that lives there. But that may not be indicative of the rest of the state, much like here in MD. Baltimore and Annapolis are totally blue commie havens, but the rest of the state, not so much. Problem is, all of the people are in Baltimore and there is no possible way to out vote them.

  • Brandybuck||

    Well Portland and Eugene overwhelm the rest of the population, and they're so blue they make Obama jealous. Yet Oregon still seems to be a mostly business friendly and tax-adverse state.

  • iggy||

    South Dakota doesn't have any jobs? Isn't their unemployment like 3%?

  • Brandybuck||

    The unemployment is low, but that doesn't mean the jobs are necessarily great.

  • ChrisO||

    Portlandia is only a very slight exaggeration. However, only Eugene and the City of Portland are really like that. The Portland suburbs, particularly Washington County, are pretty much like anywhere else, and the rest of the state outside the Portland and Eugene metro areas is politically much further to the right than you'd think--not that that's all a good thing, mind you, since there's a pretty large so-con presence there.

    BTW, don't assume that Portland is a great place to look for a job. My understanding is that the job market there has been tight as hell ever since the recession started. And unemployment has consistently been higher in Oregon than nationally ever since I was growing up there in the '70s and '80s.

  • mr simple||

    Why do they need jobs in Portland? I thought that was where young people went to retire.

  • ||

    I hear Eugene is much, much worse than Portland when it come sto hippies/hipsters.

    My uber-Christian, conservative, gun-totin' relatives live in the Sweet Home area.

  • ChrisO||

    Eugene has always been worse. I went to University of Oregon, and it was like time-travelling back to 1972.

    At the time (late '80s), Portland didn't have any of the hipster/drop-out shit going on, and Eugene was where you went to find that. It was during the late '90s when all the California alterna-tards began showing up in PDX and changing it dramatically.

  • prolefeed||

    I went to the U in O in Eugene in the late 70s / early 80s and it was firmly stuck in the 60s.

    The Red areas surrounding it vacillated between economic recessions and depressions. It never really had a good economy.

  • ChrisO||

    I matriculated there only a few years after you (started in '85), and it was comical. I have to say, as a bit of a misfit myself, that four years in Eugene was rather enjoyable. I was more than ready to get out of there by the time I graduated, though.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Colorado, Idaho and Oregon all look pretty good. I'm not a big fan of the desert, so I'm inclined to leave NV out of the list. Thanks so much for posting that link, MDC. I'll show it to the wife.

  • Hyperion||

    Surprised that Alaska is ranked as less free than Maryland. I wonder why that is?

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    I was wondering the same thing. Maybe environmental regulations?

  • ChrisO||

    According the Mercatus study, Alaska is mostly dinged on fiscal policy, as well as labor law, occupational licensing, and eminent-domain reform.

    That seems a bit flimsy to justify dropping AK that low, considering even Mercatus says that AK ranks very high on personal liberty issues.

  • Raven Nation||

    I listened to a podcast by the authors of the study. And they made the point that their methodology put AK a little lower than they thought it should have been but I don't remember the details either. As to where I got the podcast, it was definitely free and either CATO (most likely), Mises Institute, or AEI. Sorry, don't have time to go looking right now.

  • crazyfingers||

    Nevada has been making overtures for CA businesses. Not exactly on the coast but LV is only a 4 hour drive max to LA.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Oregon? No sales tax. Great beer. Really good restaurants/bars in Portland.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Is the Oregon weather really as dreary as it is made out to be? Rumor has it snorkeling gear is required.

  • ||

    Is the Oregon weather really as dreary as it is made out to be?

    On the west side of the mountains...YES! It sucks ass! You don't see the sun all winter. If you get on the east side of the mountains it dries out nicely.

  • ChrisO||

    It doesn't actually rain large amounts in western Oregon, it just drizzles constantly. Even having grown up there, I had to get the hell out as an adult to preserve my sanity.

    You don't realize how bad it is until you've spent an entire winter & spring there, where you only get a few days of sunshine.

  • Juice||

    But then summer is super nice, no?

  • Brandybuck||

    Don't worry about the weather. If you don't like it, just wait fifteen minutes.

  • ||

    And no jobs.

    I would recommend Seattle, mostly because WA has no income tax, there are jobs galore (especially tech/software ones), and relative to places like CA, it's pretty hands-off (this is a relative measure only). I'm not the business manager of our startup so I am not that familiar with how many hurdles the city or state throw in small business' way but from what I've heard from the CEO, it's a fair amount but not insurmountable. And there really are a ton of jobs here.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    I work from home, and my staff are contractors who also work from their homes. I run a medical billing service, no store front or anything like that. I don't need to be near jobs. I just need business license and high speed internet access and I am good to go.

  • ChrisO||

    Then Oregon's high income taxes and bureaucracy will be problems for you. I'd go to Nevada or the Rocky Mountain states in your situation.

  • Mediterranean Death Cult||

    Libertopia? I don't know of one. I chose Virginia way back when the Virginia General Assembly was still famous for passing laws which affected nobody.

    If I had to do it now, I think I would go for one of the low-population inland western states. Idaho, Montana or Wyoming, maybe.

  • DaveAnthony||

    I'll always have Indiana to return to if Virginia becomes too unbearable.

    Ron Swanson appears to be holding the line there.

  • Hyperion||

    I own a house there and some land. But I also hate it there.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I'll inherit my parents home, and a nice chunk of land when they pass. But I'm not sure I'd want to move to small-town Indiana... again.

  • Hyperion||

    It's awful, really. Maybe the southern part of the state is ok, or Indy, but the rural north really sucks.

  • wareagle||

    EDG,
    been there, done that; the move back to small-town thing. You do not want to do it. The place you remember no longer exists, at least not in the way you remember it. Mine was a great place to be a kid and grow up, less so to be an adult.

    It's one thing to be a small-town guy, quite another to believe that going home again works. Thomas Wolfe was on to something. But that was my experience.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Idaho is a possibility. However, we like trees. Kind of got spoiled by living in NorCal, which has loads of them. Most of what I've seen of Idaho and Wyoming looks like the fricking moon. This was the southern portion mostly. We have visited Yellowstone and it is a wonder to behold, but I don't want to live there.

  • ||

    Pretty much everything north and east of Boise has trees. I lived in Mountain Home and could be to the trees in 30 Minutes.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Googled it. The Boise National Forest is stunning. Looks like it could be part of CA, and in this case, that's a good thing.

  • Stevie OneLeg||

    As a lifelong resident of Washington state, I can tell you that the west side has been largely californicated, and they have the votes to drag the rest of us into their progressive utopia. I believe we have the highest minimum wage in the nation, and all the problems that come with it.

    On the bright side, we did legalize gay marriage and weed last year. But since I'm straight and old enough to be losing my memory naturally, neither of those apply to me.

    Then again, maybe I forgot my orientation. Hell, at my age, what does it matter?

  • Stevie OneLeg||

    Oh yeah, I forgot one good thing about Washington: no state income tax.

    But they do get you in other ways.

  • Bobarian||

    I understand the trick to be-

    Live and work in WA and conduct all your business in OR.

    Avoid both income and sales tax.

  • ||

    You can't; they'll get you. For instance if you buy a car in OR then try to register it in WA they will bill you for the tax that you didn't pay in OR.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    I wonder if I had a business in WA and a home in OR, or vice versa. How might that work out?

  • ChrisO||

    A lot of retirees live in Washington and shop in Oregon, since they aren't buying big ticket items that will get them dinged on the WA sales taxes.

    That might be the best course for you, though just realize you won't get out of WA sales taxes completely. Just avoid any business nexus with Oregon, or those nasty income taxes will bite you.

    Also, the WA suburbs of Portland have historically been kind of crappy. I wouldn't want to live in places like Vancouver WA or Camas WA.

  • Brandybuck||

    The way I see it, there are so many upper middle class libruhls in the state, that the gubment can't just go about discouraging *all* productive business enterprises in the state. As much as Mrs. Jones in Sausalito wrings her hands with concern about the unemployed, she DOESN'T want to be one!

    The state gubment needs to walk a fine line between sticking it to the evil businessmen, and keeping enough evil businessmen around to employ the all the affluent white liberals who live here.

  • ChrisO||

    You give far too much credit to the dimbulbs who run California, as well as the dimbulbs who vote for them.

    "Mrs. Jones in Sausalito" either is a trust-fundie or works in the government or non-profit sectors. The productive people are leaving in droves.

  • Raven Nation||

    And don't forget this gem of a possibility:

    http://www.realclearmarkets.co.....00047.html

  • Drake||

    Yea, We're number 49!!!

    Someday I'll escape...

  • Bobarian||

    Yes, California will probably start declaring everything 'joint property' and take half your shit when you try to divorce yourself from that hell.

    And very soon, it will still be worth it.

  • Hyperion||

    Eventually, they will just stop you from leaving. Something about the environment will be their excuse.

  • wareagle||

    maybe you'll be charged an exit fee.

  • Raven Nation||

    See the Real Clear Markets link above.

  • wareagle||

    damn...though it is something that is not that hard to envision. And I thought I was being a smart-ass.

  • ||

    I've lived in the following states and this is a rank order of perceived liberty:

    Idaho
    Montana (very close second)
    South Dakota
    Texas
    Colorado
    Pennsylvania
    Ohio

    Montana, while having some liberal tendencies, is still pretty much about letting folks do as they wish.

    I had a crash pad in Portland for a while. Not sure Washington or Oregon would be much of an upgrade. They seem to be going the way of CA.

  • ChrisO||

    Texas is surprisingly statist, for all the "conservative" hot air that comes from there.

    The Rocky Mountain and high plains states are where you go to find the highest degree of personal liberty.

  • Stevie OneLeg||

    Oregon acts as a filter so that only the most virulent of Californians make to Washington.

  • johnl||

    Chile.

  • ||

    I've been looking at Chile for a few years now. I hear good things. They rank above the US for economic freedom (7). Maybe New Zealand (4).

  • Hyperion||

    Definitely a good possible choice. If you aren't afraid of 9.0 earthquakes.

    New Zealand is too close to Australia, I am afraid that the retard will drift on over there and ruin it.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    The beatings are brutal, but the scenery is nice. Think I'll go for a jog along the beach.

  • Hyperion||

    This is why we have to centralize authority and control at the federal level. We need to stop all you 'statehoppers' who just want to get out of paying your fair share. And we need to finish that wall so that you can't even think of leaving the country. It's too much impact on the environment anyway, all you serfs flying around the globe at will.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    ITS A RACE TO THE BOTTOM!

    DOG-EAT-DOG!

  • OldMexican||

    Napolitano Defends Arrest of Immigration Activist's Mother


    Of course she would. She's a petty tyrant.

    By the way, fuck California.

  • SugarFree||

    I'm going to live in the Napa Valley after The Collapse. I can hardly wait.

  • ||

    Farnsworth: ...You're in Los Angeles!

    Fry: But there was this gang of 10-year-olds with guns!

    Leela: Exactly, you're in L.A.

    Fry: But everyone is driving around in cars shooting at each other!

    Bender: That's L.A. for you.

    Fry: But the air is green and there's no sign of civilization whatsoever!

    Bender: He just won't stop with the social commentary.

    Fry: And the people are all phonies! No one reads. Everything has cilantro on it--

  • ||

    I don't know what everybody is talking about when they say the weather in CA is so nice. I spent 3 weeks of Christmas break in San Diego and it rained the entire time. No joke. It varied between torrential downpours and slightly misty drizzle. My first time in San Fran, it was diseased-asshole-hot when I arrived, and 50 degrees and foggy the next day.

    Fuck California and its stupid economy and shit weather.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Yeah, but it's a dry heat!

    In CA, the precipitation comes mostly in the winter, not summer like many other places. Sorry you got unlucky on your trip out here.

  • ||

    I have been there when it was nice. Was in San Fran in April (I think) a couple years ago and it was in the 60's and sunny, which is ideal for me. And I will always have a soft spot for San Fran regardless of the weather and hipsters because of Wacky Jacky. She. is. awesome.

    My parents lived in San Diego for a few years, and I spent time there in all seasons, and the weather was pretty uniformly awful (hot & smoggy or cold & rainy). But they lived inland in Rancho Bernardo, so it could be that.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Yeah. I've spent some Christmases in La Mesa, BBQing on my friends patio, under sunny skies and mid-80's temps. San Francisco weather is schizophrenic, and there are only about 1,000 micro-climates on the peninsula.

    Fuck Michigan and its stupid economy and shit football.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Your're right about the "micro-climates" Concord is brutal in the summer, but San Fran is generally not.

    On a related note, my buddy invited me on a weekend trip to his family ranch in Carmel Valley. Hotter than shit. On the way back we needed to pick up his girlfriend who was on the coast. As we are driving west, at one point it was like driving through a veil into another world. Within maybe ten minutes the temps dropped 15 degrees and everything became green and misty.

  • Bobarian||

    This^^

    I lived in Monterey for two years, and it was the most beautiful, consistent weather I have ever experienced. In that entire time, we had one record setting cold snap where it got below freezing one night, and the warmest day I experience was a high of 87 a week before Thanksgiving.

    The people and political climate were so fucked up, that wished for a neutron bomb.

  • Gray Ghost||

    IIRC, the rule of thumb with Carmel Valley is that the temp goes up 1 degree F for each mile east you go. There were plenty of times it'd be 55-60 under the fog in Pacific Grove or Carmel, yet 80-85 in the village, or 90+ in someplace like Jamesburg.

    Great wineries and golf, absolutely gorgeous scenery, and politics/governmental interference that are near-Berkeleyean in their asshattery. I don't know how the poster James Merritt stands it, as a libertarian in Santa Cruz.

    The weather in Texas is nowhere near as pleasant. But we have jobs, and great food of all shapes and sizes, cost of living is (comparatively) low, and the people are much friendlier. Even in Houston.

  • Hopfiend||

    No hopping required. I am a TXN by birth. I don't plan on moving. It is by no means perfect but it is where my family wants to be. And, it beats many of the alternatives. Now, if we could just get Arkansas to take Jerry Jones back.

  • Lyle||

    California government knows it can get away with anything thanks to the natural beauty of the state. If it wasn't for the climate and the land, all human capital intensive companies that are there wouldn't be there, from Apple to all the orchards.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    This is true. We'll see how high that premium will get in the next decade. How much are most willing to pay for it?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Montana is not a business friendly state; particularly if you want to do something truly abominable, like *make things*. If you want to open a restaurant or an art gallery, that's different.

  • ChrisO||

    Montana's always had a weird reputation about that--it's also a big labor state.

  • Hyperion||

    My sister has a couple of stores there, but since that's retail, not making things, I guess that must be ok.

    It's very expensive there, I do know that. Probably on a level with Maryland, but without any jobs.

  • wareagle||

    moving back to Asheville in the political and socially schizophrenic mountains of Western NC. The city is a big blue dot with its fair share of hispterism and liberal douchebaggery (think vegetarian, gaia-loving chain-smokers) surrounded by rural counties of near Deliverance levels of redness (think stills, regularly shooting for food, skepticism toward outsiders).

    For some reason, I like it. Probably the plethora of locally-owned restaurants, a growing microbrew community, any outdoor activity you like, and the sheer physical beauty of the area. Ten minutes in Asheville and you will see every demographic segment known to man and a couple you were not aware of.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    What's the humidity like?

    Are there chiggers?

    I hate chiggers.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Racist!

  • wareagle||

    Not much humidity in the mountains. The only real anomaly is the temp drop once the sun goes down and occasional unpredictability of the weather. Only place I have ever worn a jacket to watch fireworks on the 4th; dropped into the 50s after a high in the 80s. And it has snowed in April; also been in the 60s in December but those are exceptions. All four seasons are evident.

    90 is considered a heat wave. A lot of homes have no AC because it is so seldom needed. Go east a few hours into the heart of NC and it's a different story; plenty of humidity in the summer but winter is milder.

    Never encountered chiggers though I guess they could be possible on hiking trails. You are more likely to see something with four legs than six or eight. I don't think chiggers are an issue there.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    That sounds really good.

  • Hyperion||

    I could do it. I would really like to leave MD for TN, NC, or SC, but I would need a job first. I can get along fine with both the hipsters and the rednecks since I have lived among both over the years. I actually prefer the rednecks most of the time.

  • wareagle||

    don't know what you do for a living, but Raleigh remains a good job market and Charlotte is not bad. Raleigh has an IT sector that is robust, and it's the capital plus the area is awash in higher ed. Charlotte is more finance and service-based. And there is Greensboro/Winston-Salem.

    Asheville is sort of unto itself. Lot of entrepreneurs, most of whom are leftists, a contradiction that is a bit odd. Probably has to do with the lifestyle, heavy on arts, food/bars, outdoors, etc. And you will get both rednecks and hipsters. Has a huge hospital and VA fac, if that matters in terms of your skills.

  • Hyperion||

    I'm IT, software engineer. I have a pretty good gig in Balmer, not sure how easy it would be to find something down that way, since I haven't tried yet, but I'm getting closer every day to start making a move, just because of the asshats in Annapolis, nothing to do with the state itself, which is very nice really.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    I prefer the rednecks as well. They're more fun.

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