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Opinion Editorials

Why California’s population is packing their bags for Texas

While Texas is not the only state opening their arms to California refugees, the taker mentality of California and similar states is cause families to leave everything behind in frustration.

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texas versus california homes

texas versus california homes

One example of the taker mentality: California

The false foundational premises of TakerNation’s ideological belief system are numerous. However, there’s one that unfailingly, as in every single time, gets ’em in the end. It says they’ll always have ProducerNation to plunder. This is why Takers often appear slightly  irritated. On one hand they despise Producers for being individuals, taking responsibility for themselves, earning their own way, and not having a feeling of entitlement. On the other hand, they realize their ideology dies on the vine without wealth. They can’t create wealth themselves, but they need it. See, without the ability to plunder the wealth of ProducerNation, TakerNation dies of malnourishment. The most recent and glaring example of this is now happening in real time in California, my native state.

There’s another false premise which has always lead them to trust in Producers generating wealth without end. They think you and I don’t alter our behavior due to agendas they’ve passed into law. For example, they believe the 30-something couple with two kids and one on the way, who both work, will ignore their ever shrinking take-home pay. Yet, Californians are leaving in droves for states who view bona fide Producers not as sheep to fleece, but as families who wanna be left alone to live their lives the way they see fit. Many fleeing the so-called Golden State are taking jobs with ’em. This baffles Takers no end. “After all we’ve done to make everything in life completely fair, they leave?!”

California’s ProducerNation is relocating

As I write this in my home office, I can see out my front picture window. It’s 80° with blue skies and a superb ocean breeze. Kids are picnicking with their moms a couple blocks away at the park. I can drive to a gorgeous beach in under 25 minutes. It rains just 8-12 inches yearly. Yet with all that and much, much more, people are making the choice to leave. They’re turning their lives upside down in the process, and they know this before they go. They leave family. They leave friends, some lifelong. They leave everything.

Why? Cuz they’re sick and tired and beyond angry at TakerNation leaders legally confiscating their hard earned money. They’re tired of being fleeced by TakerNation employees who think they should be paid high wages for showing up and not screwin’ things up most days. They’re sick and tired of courts allowing — no, wrong word — helping the tenants in their residential rental properties get away with non-payment of rent. They’re sick and tired of having worked their butts off so the entitled can whine incessantly about them not doing their fair share. They’re sick and tired of their kids being indoctrinated in California’s public schools.

Essentially, they’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. They’re good folk. They mind their own business. They teach their children OldSchool American core values — the ones by which they’ve always lived.

Then it happens. Let’s talk about the Porters.

The Porters’ favorite cousin, Sharon, comes to visit from a place like Texas. One night over a couple beers, they tire of hearing her rhapsodize about how good they have it, living in SoCal and all. They begin to rant. The cousin is caught off guard by the reality she begins to hear. “You paid over $5,000 in state income taxes?!” “Your house payment is how much?!!” “Excuse me, but for this?” And so on, and so forth, into the night. Fast forward to the following morning.

There’s been a good night’s sleep, kinda sorta, and fresh coffee. They’re enjoying the cool early summer morning weather, as they resume last night’s conversation.

That’s when the bovine refuse hits the spinning metal blades, big time. Our hard working, law abiding SoCal 30-somethings discover that cousin Sharon lives in a 4,000 square foot home she bought earlier this year in a great San Antonio neighborhood, for around $290,000. In SoCal’s neck of the woods, that much gets you a small, not so well located, old home. How old? At least 30.  Sharon’s monthly payment? Just under $1,900 a month including taxes and insurance. Since the Porter’s make over $90,000 between them, they could swing that without much trouble.

See where this is headed?

The Porter’s will be completely relocated into either San Antonio, or maybe Austin, in time to have an eight foot tree in their new family room by Christmas. California will only be fodder for stories they tell at family gatherings. California, the state blueprint for TakerNation, will have lost another household, the children they’ll have, and 30-50 years of their productive lives. Instead, they’ll be contributing to the vibrant ProducerNation that is Texas.

Multiply this by the thousands who’ve already left California, plus the, who knows how many families who’ll surely do so in the future, and you can see how the TakerNation script plays out. California is losing its best and brightest. Meanwhile those who come here illegally or from other states lookin’ for California’s famous (infamous?) welfare gig, are multiplying like freakin’ rabbits in spring time. Take a moment and play ‘Final Jeopardy’ with me.

Considering the two trends — Takers movin’ in while Producers racin’ for the exits — what would your prediction be for California’s economy in the next few years?

Remember the false premise. Takers believe in their heart of hearts that Producers and the wealth they create will forever be available to pillage. Takers, like goldfish, are repeatedly surprised when they find out Producers will take their wealth creation where they’re treated well, not like involuntary daily blood donors. Goldfish? You know. We put ’em in a bowl of water with a small plastic castle in the middle. Every three seconds they swim around and the castle comes into view. “Oh, wow! A castle!!”

Every time a Taker in California hears of someone they know having moved outa state, they’re shocked. They’ll say something like, “Boy, didn’t see that comin’.”

That’s their version of “Hey, look! It’s a castle!”

Jeff Brown specializes in real estate investment for retirement, has practiced real estate for over 40 years and is a veteran of over 200 tax deferred exchanges, many multi-state. Brown is a second generation broker and works daily with the third generation. With CCIM training and decades of hands on experience, Brown's expertise is highly sought after, some of which he shares on his real estate investing blog.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Roland Estrada

    July 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    One way to take care of a BIG chunk of California’s debt, is to figure out a way to take us into some form of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy would allow us in theory to trash all the public sector union contracts. Hopefully, then we could move every single public sector worker over to Social Security, even cops and firefighters.
     
    Yes I know I’m speaking sacrilege here. But who in the private sector gets to retire at 55 years of age with a pension worth 90% of their salary? I’ll tell you who, NOBODY.  Public sector unions are KILLING us, period!! 
     
    If you want a job in the public sector, great. Take the job because you want it, not because you get a cushy pension and benefits. If you don’t want the job then get out. I’m sure someone will take the job just to earn the money. 

  2. MacSac

    July 6, 2012 at 3:41 am

    Seems like though it’s native-born Californians that are moving out. Lots of Indian computer engineers are certainly moving in. With typical starting salary of 100K+, they bid up the home prices. UCLA really is University of Californians Lost AmongAsians.
     
    Maybe when enough people move out, not the 90k household income gardeners and the nannies though, just the people whose skillsets are a mismatch to the good paying jobs, the rest of California can just be open space for the start-up coders to decompress.
     
    Well, Texas, apparently, isn’t too friendly to folks of other shades.

  3. whybother

    September 9, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    MacSac, have you even been to Texas?  I will tell you this about Dallas, Texas, there are a lot of IT people and coders in Dallas because a lot of companies are moving to Texas.  Also,  I have brown skin but I was never asked if I was my child’s nanny in Texas while I was asked on multiple occasions if I was my child’s nanny in Silicon Valley.   I miss the extra $200/paycheck I used to receive when I worked in Texas where there is no income tax.  The weather may not be that great but $200 x 26 pays for a nice vacation or two.  I grew up in California and came back to California kicking and screaming.  AFter being back for a couple of years my husband has taken his rose colored glasses of and decided that we need to get the heck out of California.  After all the taxes (propert tax over $6000 and income tax) my child school says the average parent donates and average of $1600 per student!  Can you say WTF!  Where does all that money go.  Oh yeah that is right this is the taker state.  Well take from me no more free-loaders ‘cuz I am out of here to lower taxes and better educational system.

  4. TheSophist

    July 5, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Really great points, Jeff, but…

    It’d be one thing if most of those moving to Texas from California, Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and other TakerStates would adopt the mindset and philosophy of Texans. Sadly, far too many of them keep the same old Social Justice Warrior mentality while enjoying the benefits of Old School American Values.

    Look at Austin as the shining example of people trying their damnedest to transform it into a mini California or mini Illinois. Houston and Dallas creep ever so slowly towards the Statist model.

    Where will they flee next, once they’ve done to Texas what they’ve already done to Colorado and Oregon and Washington?

    At some point, Texans are not going to be so welcoming to economic refugees who do not embrace the ProducerNation values….

    • Tom

      July 6, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      It is why I call them locusts. They have come close to stripping the taker states, now they attack the producer states. North Carolina is full of them…

  5. Darth Phoenix

    November 6, 2017 at 12:54 am

    Austin is tired of Californians toxify our city and politics for the last decade or more.

    It used to be Hippies,Cowboys and gays living in peace. Not it’s whiny SJW’s from Cali to no end.

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Opinion Editorials

Ways to socialize safely during quarantine

(EDITORIAL) Months of isolation due to quarantine is causing loneliness for many, but joining virtual social groups from home may help fill the need for interaction.

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Quarantining, sheltering in place, staying home. We’re tired of hearing it; we’re tired of doing it. Yet, it’s what we still need to be doing to stay safe for a while longer. All of this can be lonesome. As the days turn into weeks and weeks into months, the alone time is getting to even the most introverted among us.

Solitary confinement is considered one of the most psychologically damaging punishments a human can endure. The New Yorker reported on this in a 1992 study of prisoners in detention camps in the former Yugoslavia, as well as Vietnam veterans who experienced isolation. These studies showed that prisoners who had experienced solitary confinement demonstrated similar brain activity to those who’d suffered a severe head injury, noting that “Without sustained social interaction, the human brain may become as impaired as one that has incurred a traumatic injury.”

We aren’t meant to be solitary creatures. Your “pandemic brain” is real. That fogginess, the lack of productivity, can be attributed to many things, including anxiety, but being kept apart from other humans is a big part of it too. Be kind to yourself, give yourself grace, and join others virtually. Be it an app, a class, a Facebook group, a chat room, or a livestream, someone somewhere is out there waiting to connect with you too.

The good news? We are lucky enough to live in an era of near limitless ways to interact socially online. Sure, it is different, but it is something. It’s important. The best thing about this type of social interaction is being able to hone in on your specific interests, though I’d caution you against getting caught in an online echo chamber. Diversity of interests, personality, and opinion make for a richer experience, with opportunities for connecting and expanding your worldview.

Here are a few suggestions on ways to socialize while staying home and staying safe. Communicating with other humans is good for you, physically and mentally.

Interactive Livestreams on Twitch:

Twitch is best known as a streaming service for video game fans, but it offers multiple streams appealing to different interests. This is more than passive watching (although that is an option, too) as Twitch livestream channels also have chat rooms. Twitch is fun for people who like multi-tasking because the chat rooms for popular livestream channels can get busy with chatter.

While people watch the Twitch hosts play a video game, film a live podcast, make music or art, mix cocktails, or dance, they can comment on what they’re watching, make suggestions, ask questions, crack jokes, and get to know each other (by Twitch handle, so it is still as anonymous as you want it to be) in the chat room. The best hosts take time every so often to interact directly with the chat room questions and comments.

Many Twitch channels develop loyal followers who get to know each other, thus forming communities. I have participated in the Alamo Drafthouse Master Pancake movie mocks a few times because they are fun and local to Austin, where I live. Plus, in my non-quarantine life, I would go to Master Pancake shows live sometimes. The chat room feels familiar in a nice way. While watching online is free, you can (and totally should) tip them.

Online trivia in real time:

There are some good options for real-time online trivia, but I’m impressed with the NYC Trivia League’s model. They have trivia games online on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The NYC Trivia League seems to have figured out a good way to run the game live while keeping answers private from the other teams. They run games on Instagram Live with a live video of the host, and participants answer via the question feature. Clever!

Online book club:

First I have to shout out my Austin local independent bookstore, BookPeople, because they are fantastic. They run book clubs throughout the year, along with readings, book signings, and all things book-related. BookPeople hosts several online book clubs during these lockdown days, and most people will find something that appeals to them.

I’m also impressed with this list from Hugo House, a writer’s resource based out of Seattle. This list includes Instagram and Goodread book clubs, book clubs for Black women, rebels, and poetry lovers. The Financial Diet recommends the Reddit book club, if you are comfortable with the Reddit format. Please note that it’s a busy place, but if you like Reddit, you already know this.

Cooking class or virtual tasting:

This is doubly satisfying because you can follow these chefs in real time, and you end up with a meal. There are a couple on Instagram Live, such as The Culinistas or Chef Massimo Bottura.

You can also participate in virtual tastings for wine, whiskey, or chocolate, though you will have to buy the product to participate in the classes (usually held over Zoom or Facebook Live). If you are in Austin, Dallas, or Houston, I recommend BeenThere Locals. The cost of the course includes the wine, spirits, or cooking kit in most cases, and all of the money goes to the business and expert hosting the class.

Look for your favorite wine, spirits, cheese, chocolate makers, and chefs that are local to you to find a similar experience. Most either prepare the class kit for pickup or delivery within a local area.

Quarantine chat:

To interact with another quarantined person seeking social interaction, there’s Quarantine Chat. Quarantine chat is one of the ways to connect through the Dialup app, available on iOS and Android devices. Sign up to make and receive calls when you want to speak with someone. The Dialup app pairs you randomly with another person for a phone conversation, at a scheduled time, either with anyone or with someone with shared interests.

Quarantine chat takes it a step further with calls at random times. When your quarantine chat caller calls, you will not see their number (or they yours), only the “Quarantine Chat” caller ID. If you are unable to pick up when they call, they will be connected with someone else, so there is no pressure to answer. It’s nice to hear someone else’s voice, merely to talk about what you’ve been cooking or what hilarious thing your pet is doing.

Play Uno:

Uno Freak lets people set up games and play Uno online with friends or strangers. Players do not need to register or download anything to play. Uno Freak is web-based.

Talk to mental health professionals:

If your state of loneliness starts sliding toward depression, call someone you can speak to right away to talk over your concerns. When in doubt, call a trained professional! Here are a few resources:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET, 800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org.
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to this text line 24/7 for someone to text with who will also be able to refer you to other resources: U.S. and Canada: 74174, U.K. 85258, Ireland: 50808.
  • Psych Central has put together this comprehensive list of crisis intervention specialists and ways to contact them immediately.

There are many ways to connect even though we are physically apart. These are just a few real time ways to interact with others online. If you want something a little more flesh and blood, take a walk around the block or even sit in a chair in front of where you live.

Wave at people from afar, and remember that we have lots of brilliant doctors and scientists working on a way out of this. Hang in there, buddy. I’m rooting for you. I’m rooting for all of us.

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Opinion Editorials

Working remotely: Will we ever go back? (Probably not)

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Now that the pandemic has opened the door on working remotely, there’s no way we’ll put the genie back in the bottle. But, here’s some ways you can adapt.

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Woman working remotely on her couch with a laptop on her lap.

When it comes to working remotely, will the toothpaste ever go back in the tube?

Mark Zuckerberg recently said, “We are going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale…” By 2030, Zuckerberg anticipates that over half of Facebook’s workforce will be remote. Many other companies are jumping on the work from home bandwagon. Working remotely has helped many businesses manage the pandemic crisis, but it’s unsure what form remote working will take over the next 10 years.

We know that employees are responding positively to WFH, as reported in this article – Employers: Lacking remote work options may cause you to lose employees. As offices transition to a post-COVID normal, here are some things to consider about your office and remote work.

What does your business gain from allowing workers to WFH?
The future of remote work depends on a conscious application of WFH. It’s not just as easy as moving employees out of the office to home. You have to set up a system to manage workers, wherever they are working. The companies with good WFH cultures have set up rules and metrics to know whether it’s working for their business. You’ll need to have technology and resources that let your teams work remotely.

Can your business achieve its goals through remote work?
The pandemic may have proved the WFH model, but is this model sustainable? There are dozens of benefits to remote work. You can hire a more diverse workforce. You may save money on office space. Employees respond well to remote work. You reduce your carbon emissions.

But that can’t be your only measure of whether remote work fits into your vision for your organization. You should be looking at how employees will work remotely, but you need to consider why employees work remotely.

The work paradigm is shifting – how will you adapt?
The work environment has shifted over the past century. Remote work is here to stay, but how it fits into your company should be based on more than what employees want. You will have to work closely with managers and HR to build the WFH infrastructure that grows with your organization to support your teams.

We don’t know exactly how remote work will change over the next decade, but we do know that the workplace is being reinvented. Don’t just jump in because everyone is doing it. Make an investment in developing your WFH plan.

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Opinion Editorials

The truth about unemployment from someone who’s been through it

(EDITORIAL) Unemployment benefits aren’t what you thought they were. Here’s a first-hand experience and what you need to know.

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Have I ever told you how I owed the government over two grand because of unemployment in 2019, and only just finished paying it back this year?

This isn’t exactly the forum for memoirs, but this is relevant to everyone. So I’ll tell y’all anyway.

It all started back in 2018 when I came into work early, microwaved my breakfast, poured coffee, and got pulled into a collaboration room to hear, “We love you and your work, April, but we’ve been bought out and you’re being laid off.”

It was kind of awkward carrying my stuff out to the car with that Jimmy Dean sandwich in my mouth.

More awkward still was the nine months of unemployment I went through afterwards. Between the fully clothed shower crying, the stream of job denial, catering to people who carried rocks in their nostrils at my part-time job (yes, ew, yes, really), and almost dying of no-health-insurance-itis, I learned a lot!

The bigger lesson though, came in the spring of the following year when I filed my taxes. I should back up for a moment and take the time to let those of you unfamiliar with unemployment in Texas in on a few things that aren’t common knowledge.

1: You’re only eligible if you were laid off. Not if you had quit. Not fired. Your former company can also choose to challenge your eligibility for benefits if they didn’t like your face on the way out. So the only way you’re 100% guaranteed to get paid in (what the state calls) “a timely manner”, is a completely amicable split.

2: Overpayments have to go back. Immediately. If there’s an error, like several thousand of Texans found out this week, the government needs that cash back before you can access any more. If you’re not watching your bank account to make sure you’re getting the exact same check each time and you have an overpayment, rest assured that mistake isn’t going to take long to correct. Unfortunately, if you spent that money unknowingly–thought you got an ‘in these uncertain times’ kinder and gentler adjustment and have 0 income, you have a problem. Tying into Coronavirus nonsense is point three!

3: There are no sick days. If ever you’re unable to work for any reason, be it a car accident, childbirth, horrible internal infection (see also no-health-insurance-itis), you are legally required to report it, and you will not be paid for any days you were incapacitated. Personally, my no-health-insurance-itis came with a bad fever and bedrest order that axed me out of my part time job AND killed my unemployment benefits for the week I spent getting my internal organs to like me again. But as it turned out, the payment denial came at the right time because–

4: Unemployment benefits are finite. Even if you choose to lie on your request forms about how hard you’re searching for work, coasting is ill-advised because once the number the state allots you runs out…it’s out. Don’t lie on your request forms, by the way. In my case, since I got cut from my part-time gig, I got a call from the Texas Workforce Commission about why my hours were short. I was able to point out where I’d reported my sickness to them and to my employer, so my unpaid week rolled over to a later request date. I continued to get paid right up until my hiring date which was also EXACTLY when my benefits ran out.

Unemployment isn’t a career, which is odd considering the fact that unemployment payments are qualified by the government as income.

Ergo, fact number five…

5: Your benefits? They’re taxed.

That’s right, you will be TAXED for not having a job.

The stereotype of the ‘lazy unemployment collector burdening society’ should be fading pretty quickly for the hitherto uninformed about now.

To bring it back to my story, I’d completely forgotten that when I filed for unemployment in the first place, I’d asked for my taxes NOT to be withheld from it–assuming that I wasn’t going to be searching for full time work for very long. I figured “Well, I’ll have a tax refund coming since I’ll get work again no problem, it’ll cancel out.”

Except, it was a problem. Because of the nine month situation.

I’d completely forgotten about it by the time I threw myself into my new job, but after doing my taxes, triple checking the laws and what I’d signed, it was clear. Somehow…despite being at my lowest point in life, I owed the highest amount in taxes, somewhere around the 2k mark.

Despite being based on a system that’s tied to how much income you were getting before, and all the frustrating “safeguards” put in place to keep payments as low and infrequent as possible, Uncle Sam still wants a bite out of the gas-station Hostess pie that is your unemployment check. And as I’m writing this, more and more people are finding that out. And even as we enter 2021, there is still more to be aware of – we’re not out of the woods yet.

I’d like to end this on a more positive note… So let’s say we’ve all been positively educated! That’s a net gain, surely.

Keep your heads up, and masked.

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