The California economy did not lose to Texas in 2021

Opinion and interpretation

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Kelly Soderlund, right, works with a colleague at the TripActions office in San Francisco, Friday, August 27, 2021. The transition to a hybrid work model is ideal for people like Soderlund, a mother of two young children who works in offices in San Francisco and Palo Alto, California, for TripActions. 1,200 employees worldwide. (Photo by AP / Eric Reisberg)


Many in the media predicted last year that the California economy would fall by Texas.

In January 2021, a month after Oracle and Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced the relocation of their headquarters from Silicon Valley to Texas, NBC News published the headline: “Technology Flight: Why Silicon Valley Travels to Miami and Austin.” The article quoted an analyst who predicted that “the mini exit of technology companies that will leave the valley” “will accelerate in 2021.”

That same month, after Digital Realty announced it was moving from San Francisco to Austin, SFGATE reported: “At a tech mass exit, another company is leaving the Bay Area for Texas.”

It was only one month of negative headlines. But they kept coming.

In July, in an article repeatedly quoting Elon Musk’s anti-California irons, the UK Independent published the headline: “Texit: Why High-Tech Giants Are Escaping Silicon Valley to Texas.”

Then, in August, the hype surrounding California’s probable doom went into overdrive, with narrative steroids injected by a report from the Stanford Hoover Institute. Written by senior Lee Ohnian and Joseph Varanich – a former lobbyist who runs a business from Texas that focuses on persuading companies to move to Texas – the 45-page report reads as expected: Like a joint production of a party ideologue impersonating a party ideologue. Businesses from Texas that promote demand for its services Transfer companies to Texas.

“These figures show that California has clearly lost the incredible dynamism it once had, and is now among the worst-off states in the country for economic investment,” Ohnian Vernich said. “Texas has become the new California, and California is becoming the new rust belt, losing businesses and people to states that offer more opportunities and a better, more affordable life.”

Their article has inspired others who have reiterated its conclusions. Three days after its publication, a Forbes blogger based an article on it, declaring Texas the epitome of success and California an embarrassing loser: “If we want America to remain as attractive on the international stage as Texas is on the national stage, we need to adopt policies that make us look more like Texas and less. Like California. ” Days later, the Hoover report’s findings’ were repeated in a wire story that appeared on television stations from San Francisco to Oklahoma to New York, all re-broadcasting the claim that California’s quality of life is terrible, our economy is dying and Texas is the Promised Land.

But is life really better in Texas than in California? If the data is sinful, here’s a bucket of bleach: Compared to families in California, those in Texas earn 13 percent less and pay 3.8 percentage points more in taxes. Texans are 17 percent more likely to be murdered than California residents. Texans are also 34 percent more likely to be raped and 25 percent more likely to kill themselves than California residents.

California residents live an average of two years, four months and 24 days longer than Texans.

And the statements in this Hoover report? Did the California economy die last year? Has investment in technology slowed? Has it lost Silicon Valley to Texas?

In 2021, California created 261,000 more jobs from Texas. California has attracted $ 145 billion more venture capital from Texas. California residents withdrew $ 3,911 per person; Texans, only $ 364. Far from dying last year, the California tech industry has raised more money than any year recorded.

Unfortunately, the uncritical perception of this erroneous economic narrative reflects not only the openness of reporters, but also their benefit to conservative ideologues and corporate lobbyists, who achieve political points and regulatory concessions by spreading a false storyline about California’s decline.

Do not expect facts to change that. Journalists need a plot twist, and conservatives need California to lose.

Max Tevez is a lifelong writer and Californian.

Max Tabs
Max Tevez is a lifelong writer and Californian. Max Tabs

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