Over at Econlog, Bryan Caplan has written a post about his impressions of Texas, based on his recent trip/speaking tour of the state. He correctly identifies many of the multiplicitous positive aspects of Texas and life here.
Texas has a lot going for it, but there are a few downsides. The main downsides are:
(1) Sprawl: I'm all for new development, but a sea of identical-looking houses interspersed by the occasional fast food chicken restaurant does not make for very pleasant living.
(2) Antipathy for plants? The older areas of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex are very nice indeed, with enormous oak trees and beautiful parks. In the newer, sprawling areas, all trees are instantly mowed-down and replaced with lawn and concrete. This makes the landscape uglier, hotter, and more prone to flooding.
(3) Government corruption: Many of Texas' infrastructure projects are simply boondoggles, transfers of wealth from the taxpayers to the construction-company friends of politicians. Road construction is the classic example, in which miles of highway are torn up, and then rebuilt exactly as it was before. Rather than improving or widening the roads, they simply tear them up and rebuild them again, over and over, in an endless transfer of taxpayer money to construction companies.
There are a few other things I could point to that I dislike, but the simple fact of the matter is that no location is perfect-perfect. But, for a happy mix of good weather, fine people, excellent economic opportunities, and low cost of living, Texas circa-2020 is about as good a place as you're likely to find out there in the world.
I think most of the people who dislike it here have what I would call niche criteria when it comes to choosing a place to live. You won't find purple mountain majesties or a large Lebanese diaspora here, for example. Most of what Texas is lacking consists of these sorts of niches. If someone were to say, "I'll never live in a place where I can't have a weasel as a pet!" or "I insist on paying a state-level income tax!" then, okay, Texas might not be for you.
Still, for the average Joe, Texas is a great place to be. No wonder people keep moving here.
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