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May 11, 2023

One reason Gavin Newsom can’t be passing out million dollar checks to strangers like “The Millionaire” on that old TV show is that blue states such as California are seeing their most productive residents (i.e., their biggest taxpayers) flee like rats from a sinking ship.

John Milimore at the Foundation for Economic Education reports that according to recent IRS data, the exodus of the highest-earning taxpayers from blue states like New York and Illinois to red states is increasing. California alone has seen its adjusted gross income drop by $29 billion since 2019 due to a tripling in the number of top-earning taxpayers leaving. Hence the attempt to try to pass a law requiring people to keep paying state taxes even after they move out (At the Hotel California, you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.)

This also means a financial boom for red states. In Florida, the average new arrival makes $150,000 a year, more than double the income of the average person who moves out of Florida. Taxpayers leaving Illinois and New York make an average of $35,000 more per year than people moving in. But why would anyone making a good income want to move to a state that will take most of it away to pay for government that does nothing to prevent criminals from stealing the rest of it?  

For a long time, the big worry among conservatives was that these new arrivals would bring their leftist voting habits with them and foul their new nest like their old one. But with the exception of cities that are magnets for leftist looney-tunes (looking at you, Austin), most of the new arrivals seem grateful and appreciative to have escaped to America. That’s leaving red states gaining population and House seats while getting even redder (Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won reelection in 2022 by the biggest landslide in 40 years.)

The downside is that the combination of decades of one-party Democrat rule, the far-left lurch of the Party, and the exodus of productive wealth-creators is reducing America’s once-great cities to crime-infested nightmares, run, as Milimore notes, by public sector workers unions and welfare activists. And how will it ever get better if there’s nobody left to vote but people who are dependent on the broken system?

I fear it’s going to get worse before it gets better, and I’m not even sure how it could get worse or how it will get better (Chicago voters reacted to the wave of crime unleashed by far-left Democrats by electing a new mayor who’s even further left and softer on crime. It’s possible the criminal vote is now the swing vote in Chicago.) But there’s a saying that “things that can’t go on forever won’t.” We just have to hope that eventually, the remaining residents of these cities get over being suicidal.

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