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Oklahoma’s post election rise

Mike Brake November 21st, 2012

Oklahoma was bright red on Nov. 6; the nation went a very pale blue.

Why and how are we Okies different, and what does that mean for the future?

It might help to look at California, which is where four more years of Obama-style tax increases, hyper-regulation and deficits will take us. California just doubled down on liberal policies, electing veto-proof Democratic majorities in its legislature and approving draconian tax increases on its residents.

Or should we say soon-to-be-ex-residents. The great California out-migration began around 1990 as state taxes and regulations began to rise, and as state budgets slid deeper into the red.

In fact, the states with the highest out-migration between 2000 and 2010 are all blue — including Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and the population-loss champ New York, which saw a net loss of 1.5 million. You’d need a cholera epidemic to clear that many people out of Oklahoma.

Where did they go? Most fled to lower-tax red states like Texas, Georgia and Arizona. Those left behind are increasingly dependent on government largesse; a third of all welfare recipients in the U.S. now live in California. The results, to no one’s surprise, are budget deficits that have already passed $10 billion a year.

America is on a similar downward slide. In four years under President Obama, we added $5 trillion to a national debt that had taken 222 years to pass $10 trillion. A third of our population receives some kind of entitlement payments, and that will increase dramatically as Obamacare expands Medicaid rolls. Mitt Romney was roundly criticized for suggesting that 47 percent of Americans don’t pay their way; the actual share with no federal income tax liability is 46 percent.

So we have roughly half of the people, to one extent or another, supporting the other half, with continuing trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.

The Obama answer is to “ask the richest to pay just a little bit more.” Well, the much-maligned top 1 percent already pay 37 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 10 percent pay 70 percent. The bottom half pay just 2.25 percent.

That top 10 percent represents most of the job creators. Tax them more, regulate them more, impose more mandates on them and you get fewer jobs.

That’s where California and other blue states have already landed, and it is where we are headed as a nation in the next four years. What does that mean for Oklahoma?

Like Texas and a few other high-growth states with sensible tax and spending policies, we will increasingly become a refuge for those flayed and bullied by liberal taxes and regulatory policies. Red — for residents, employers and the jobs they bring — will be even more attractive in the next four years, a place to hunker down and ride out the Obama storm.

California will ultimately tip over into a Greece-like meltdown. Oklahoma will last longer, thanks to our red outlook. But if Obama manages to succeed in his stated goal of “transforming America,” where will we run?

Brake was chief writer for former Gov. Frank Keating and former U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin.

Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

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11.21.2012 at 01:24 Reply

Between 2000 and 2010 I moved fromPennsylvania, to Hawaii, to Arizona, and eventually to Oklahoma.  Not a single move was motivated by the taxes in those states.  I didn't "flee" any state!   I moved because I wanted to, because I could, and because people I care for live in those states.

Sometimes you need to look at the bigger picture instead of searching for the nuggets you want to exalt strictly for the sake of proving your self-indulgent point.  Though that seems to be what the Bible thumpers like to do.

Now let's talk about that doucher lie about the rich paying 37% in taxes.  

The TRUTH is that (37%) would be their actual tax rate if they didn't have a seemingly unlimited number of tax loopholes to exploit.  Loopholes like offshore tax havens, loopholes like Capital Gains tax vs income tax, Loopholes like Trusts, and Loopholes provided by owning a corporation (which are many).  Do I need to go on?  

Before the election it became common knowledge that Mitt Romney could have paid less than 10% on his 2011 taxes.  Instead he just happened to NOT write off $250,000 in charitable donations (presumably because he was trying to save face while running for president).  This made his tax rate a whopping 13.9%!  

Even when they aren't totally cheating they pay 20% less than they should!  Don't you tell me the rich are paying their "fair share"!  I know the truth!  It's a darn shame that since Mitt has lost we'll never find out of he amends his 2011 taxes to get the federal deduction on the donation that he chose NOT to declare.  Didn't it ever occur to you that the reason he was too much of a pussy to show his last decade of tax returns was because it would have revealed that he's been paying that little in taxes for at least that long?  Are you that naive?

Perhaps you’d care to explain how someone who works 40 hours a week at minimum wage earning a gross income of $15,800 would be expected to exist on $9,500 (assuming they paid 37% in taxes).  Cause I don’t know what planet you live on, but a dump of an apartment in OKC will cost about $400 a month (which is a steal compared to housing in other areas of the country).  That’s half that income gone.  Then you have necessities like food, clothing, running water, healthcare and electricity.  Once you pay for that you’re already seeing negative numbers.  You can’t afford a car, car insurance, gas to fill it, or luxuries like cable TV or even basic internet access.  So, could you explain to me how it is that our people can exist on minimum income with maximum taxation, and not come to knock on the government’s door for welfare, food stamps, WIC, or Medicaid? 


Ironically you point to California as the state as the example of over taxation, but you ignore the fact that the state is known for having many outspoken wealthy and famous citizens who tend to favor paying their fair share.  George Lucas (of Star Wars fame) recently sold property in Marin County California for the purpose of creating Section 8 housing and giving the finger to his neighbors whom wouldn’t allow him to expand his Lucasfilm operation there.  When you talk about people stifling job creation, I think of the rich snobs that cockblocked one of the most wealthy and imaginative filmmakers of our time.  But for some reason all you can think of is a bunch of minorities who are constantly looking for a handout.  These people want jobs, and they’ll pay taxes too, but there is a matter of getting the horse in front of the cart.  We seem to be at an impasse with regard to how to go about that.

Just don’t try to sell me this cock and bull story about the disenfranchised rich man.  I ain’t buying it.