It’s no secret that pro-freedom policies unleash human potential and lead to the creation of wealth and prosperity. The migration of people inevitably follows freedom. The world saw that last century: East Germans risked getting machine-gunned to escape communism to the West. Cubans built make-shift rafts to sail through shark-infested waters to freedom. Even in a generally free country like the United States, the same pattern holds true with domestic migration to freer states.
A $100 Billion Wealth Migration Tilts US Economy’s Center of Gravity South
Some 2.2 million people moved to the Southeast in just over two years. That’s roughly the population of Houston.
Drive along the 240-mile stretch of the Atlantic coast from Charleston, South Carolina, through the grassy marsh land of southern Georgia and down into northern Florida, and you’ll see one of the most profound economic shifts in the US today.
[…] More broadly, the entire South from here, north to Kentucky and west to Texas is where businesses are moving to, jobs are being created and homes are being bought. […]
The numbers tell the story. For the first time, six fast-growing states in the South — Florida, Texas, Georgia, the Carolinas and Tennessee — are contributing more to the national GDP than the Northeast, with its Washington-New York-Boston corridor, in government figures going back to the 1990s. […]
A flood of transplants helped steer about $100 billion in new income to the Southeast in 2020 and 2021 alone, while the Northeast bled out about $60 billion, based on an analysis of recently published Internal Revenue Service data.
The Southeast accounted for more than two-thirds of all job growth across the US since early 2020, almost doubling its pre-pandemic share. And it was home to 10 of the 15 fastest-growing American large cities.
“You could throw a dart anywhere at a map of the South and hit somewhere booming,” said Mark Vitner, a retired longtime economist for Wells Fargo who now heads his own economic consultancy, Piedmont Crescent Capital, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We now have more employees in Texas than New York state. It shouldn’t have been that way,” JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon said to Bloomberg TV on a swing through the South earlier this year.
As Walter Wriston, former CEO of Citicorp said, “Capital goes where it is welcome and stays where it is well treated.” A combination of good economic policies and the lack of reflexive hatred of businesses and their owners brought them to the South, and the results are there for everyone to see. Setting aside Bloomberg’s concern trolling about “inequality,” which is just as prevalent in the Northeast, the takeaway is that the people like living in the South. As Charleston County Republican Maurice Washington said:
“They don’t want to raise their kids in places like New York and California. You get a lot of that,” Washington said.
This growth pattern is great, but migration comes with its own risk. For cues for what can happen, look no further than Colorado. Over the decades, Coloradans made thoughtful governance and public policy choices, enacting a flat tax rate of 5% in 1987, which was gradually lowered to 4.55%. Voters also approved a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) via referendum in 1992 that impedes the growth of government by tying overall tax revenue to inflation and population growth, allowing larger increases only if approved by referendum. The results were similar to what Bloomberg reported above; Colorado went through brisk economic and population growth.
That population shift brought in “progressive” voters who followed conservative growth-oriented policies, and then started voting for the same failed progressivism of the states they emigrated from. Starting in 2013, Colorado passed several iterations of gun control. They chased away companies like gun industry behemoth Magpul to neighboring Wyoming. And they aren’t done.
What happened in Colorado is very likely to happen in the new growth states of Florida, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Second Amendment voters and groups in these states need to be on guard and watch out for threats to their right to keep and bear arms, lest they be caught off guard by trends like Colorado’s.
There are ways of staving off creeping gun control in these new growth states if you live in one. First, get started immediately on fortifying the Second Amendment by passing Strict Scrutiny constitutional amendments to your state constitutions. I have written about this before. Second, swell the ranks of gun owners in your state’s electorate. Start outreach activities to non-gun owners and bring them into the fold. Lastly, gun ownership must be passed along to the next generation. As long as pro-Second Amendment taxpayers are forced to pay for government schools, those schools must offer firearms instruction in schools and not exclude our views. Abstinence-only education doesn’t work whether it’s about sex or guns.
When there’s already a dying canary in front of your eyes, you’d better heed the warning.