sotu 2015-560

Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 1/24/15


At the end of his State of the Union speech Tuesday night the president struck a triumphant tone and said,

We have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America.”

What he left out was the fact that the vast majority of that picking up and dusting off and remaking has been concentrated in deeply red states — and in a couple of cases blue states that have of late adopted some decidedly red state policies.

Indiana, under Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, passed a right-to-work law in 2012 and has since seen a 14.1 percent increase in industrial jobs.

Michigan – a blue state since going for Bill Clinton in 1992 but now led by Republican governor Rick Snyder – also enacted a right-to-work law. They were rewarded for it by a 19 percent increase in industrial employment. Detroit is still a wasteland. But Michigan is bouncing back.

Texas, of course, has led the way. Its lack of a personal income tax, its sensible regulatory climate and the tort reforms of 2003 turned Texas into a business mecca. No state has created more jobs than Texas.

Meanwhile, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York – all blue states – have all lost industrial jobs. All have in common that they are burdened with the heavy taxes and regulations championed by the president.

The president also said this on Tuesday:

…we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years.”

No thanks to you, Mr. President. It is the private sector, investing its own capital in the technology called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and finding a way to get around federal obstruction at nearly every turn, that is largely responsible for gasoline prices we thought we’d never see again. And it happened mostly in red states.

Absent the gains in energy production from states like Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota – who all adopted policies that permitted responsible fracking – the economic picture would be quite different from the rosy one painted by President Obama Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, the deep blue states of New York and California – both sitting on vast energy reserves –have prohibited fracking and are seeing jobs leave as a result. (New York’s recoverable reserves extend into Pennsylvania, which despite being mostly a blue state, permits fracking and is creating jobs and reaping the attendant rewards.)

There is some pain to acknowledge in connection with falling energy prices. Many jobs in Texas are tied to a firm floor under oil and gas prices and since last summer, that floor has given way.

Still, the United States will soon be a net exporter of energy – a fact that is causing considerable heartburn among the petro-tyrants of the Middle East – while serving to boost the overall U.S. economy.

It was Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis who called the states, “laboratories of democracy.” Before his next State of the Union address – which will be his last one – it would do President Obama well to review the lab results of states like Texas and compare them to those states who do their lab work using his formulas.

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