Opinion | White House

Census results show White House doubling down on failure

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

Following new census numbers, mostly red states are due to gain seats in Congress while mostly blue states will lose representation. The model of states such as California, New York and Illinois led to demographic and economic decline - yet the Biden White House seems determined to federalize their failures. 

Millions of Americans in blue states uprooted their lives to head south and west. Northern states including Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia each lost a seat in Congress, and a corresponding Electoral College vote. California also lost a seat to apportionment. Sunbelt and Western states picked up the differences, with Texas gaining two congressional seats and Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon each gaining one. The trend suggests the blue state model of bloated, inefficient government destroys states from within. 

While some of the population shift can be attributed to industrial decline, much more can be explained by some of the highest tax rates in the nation and stringent business regulation, combined with significant increases in crime.

The blue state record of failures represents a template to be avoided, not emulated. And yet there are signs that New York and California could become microcosms of what likely will happen nationwide: A wave of capital flight out of the United States to more competitive tax and regulatory environments in other countries. Reducing American competitiveness as the pandemic ends will only result in economic disaster.      

The effects of tax and regulation had a significant impact on the biggest losers in the 2020 Census: Illinois, California and New York. California has the highest individual tax rates in the nation, and New York has the fourth highest. Each of these three rank in the top 10 for highest sales tax, and New York and Illinois also are home to some of the highest property taxes. 

Unfortunately, similarly high tax rates soon may be implemented nationally. President Biden is pushing for a nearly $2 trillion tax hike that would nearly double the capital gains tax on high earners, increase income taxes on people making over $400,000, and hike the corporate tax rate to 33 percent. Not only is the administration ignoring the practical effects this would have on the national economy, it draws the wrong lessons from failures at the state level. The attempt to fix nearly every issue with tax hikes failed in New York: Droves of the state's wealthy residents have moved, and 44 percent of those who remain want to leave as well. After a wave of "temporary" taxes on high earners in California, the state faced an unexpected $2.5 billion budget shortfall, in large part because of out-migration.

Democrat-run states also have seen a similar exodus of businesses, as innovation flees to the sunbelt. Tax increases intended for high earners inevitably smash the environment that small businesses need to survive and expand, costing jobs for workers at all levels. On the national level, Biden's proposed tax increases are expected to result in a loss of at least 1 million jobs.

It's not only blue states' failing tax-and-spend policies that are being mirrored by the Biden White House. The president has called for major police reform at the federal level, as more restraints on policing have led to exorbitant crime rates in blue-state cities. Several large cities in Democrat-run states decreased funding to their police departments when calls to "defund the police" became popularized on the political left. The results were disastrous. Retirements in New York City's police force spiked 72 percent last year and murders promptly soared by 41 percent. Over the past year murders spiked by 28 percent in Los Angeles and 33 percent in Chicago. It's little wonder that when police are demonized and defunded, crime increases - and yet the Biden administration has signaled that it wishes to nationalize reforms that could make policing even more difficult.

Meanwhile, Biden's Justice Department Civil Rights Division appointee penned an op-ed last year calling for defunding police. His nominee for associate attorney general said the same last year. By opening the door to radical activists in the federal bureaucracy, Biden is acting as a doddering figurehead as his own White House extrapolates some of the worst failures of blue states.

Joe Biden ran to the right of his 2020 primary opponents. The difference may have given him the edge to win the general election. But since being sworn in, Biden is moving to enact policy that makes Barack Obama look like a moderate. His out-of-control spending plans, new taxes, and importation of destructive criminal justice policies remain unchecked by the Democratic-controlled Congress. Unless Republicans block his agenda, Biden could bring Albany's and Sacramento's failures to Washington. This time, however, Americans won't pack a U-haul for other nations - we will have to suffer the consequences for the next decade or more.

Kristin Tate is a libertarian writer and an analyst for Young Americans for Liberty. She is an author whose latest book is "How Do I Tax Thee? A Field Guide to the Great American Rip-Off." Follow her on Twitter @KristinBTate.

Outbrain