opinion web
Liberal Opinion Conservative Opinion
John Stossel
John Stossel
3 Feb 2016
Political Arrogance

After the Iowa caucus results, it looks like Hillary Clinton vs. Marco Rubio in November! They lead the … Read More.

27 Jan 2016
Running on Empty

Cars run on fuel. Politicians run on votes, and they'll do almost anything to get them. That includes … Read More.

20 Jan 2016
Economic Myths

Hillary Clinton: "Of course we want to raise the minimum wage!" Donald Trump: If we trade with China, "they … Read More.

Shopping Around for a Better Life


Thanks, California! Thanks for your monstrous spending and absurd regulatory overreach! America needs you. We need Connecticut and Illinois, too! We need you the way we needed the Soviet Union, as models of failure, to warn us what happens if we believe those who say, "Government can."

Moving to California was once the dream for many Americans. Its population grew at almost triple the national average — until 1990. Then big government, in the form of endless regulation and taxes, killed much of the dream. In the last decade, 2 million people left California.

Many of them moved to Alaska, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington or Wyoming. More on what makes those states special in a moment.

When the USSR died, overthrown by its own citizens' hatred of central planning, I assumed the world would acknowledge that big government is a nightmare. But people don't. Our brains are programmed to believe that "next time, central planning will help." So, many people forget the lesson of the USSR.

Fortunately, they can still watch what's happening right now in California, Illinois and Connecticut. OK, those states are not totalitarian dictatorships, but they tax and micromanage so much that they will soon approach bankruptcy, cut services and stagnate.

And Americans have an advantage Soviet citizens never had: 50 states. If we live in a big-government state, we can move. I did.

I grew up in Illinois. It was nice enough (except in winter). But gradually its politicians gave away its future.

I moved to New York City, no political paradise, but where the big TV news jobs are. And maybe New York's promises to unions won't bankrupt us too soon.

I could always move again. I would still be smothered by federal rules, but at least I can move to a place with fewer onerous state rules.

A group called the Free State Project invites us to move to New Hampshire to help create "liberty in our lifetime." It's too early to see how that will work out, but that state now has a booming population of libertarians and anarchists.

One even got elected to the state legislature after running against his own roommate, also a libertarian, whom he accused of not being anti-government enough.

Americans who want to escape state income taxes and live near better job prospects can move to one of those nine states that I mentioned above.

It's no surprise they produce more jobs. Without an income tax, those states were forced to limit the growth of their governments, so they did. Every state has schools, social service programs, prisons, etc., but those states find a way to fund those things for less. Then they reap benefits.

Last decade, those nine states gained population and increased jobs by 4.9 percent; jobs in the rest of the states declined by 2.6 percent.

It's good that we have places like Texas and New Hampshire to which fed-up citizens can escape. In Europe, you'd have to leave your country to escape its worst laws.

French actor Gerard Depardieu just moved to Belgium to escape France's proposed 75 percent tax on the rich. Years ago, high taxes in Britain drove Rod Stewart to move to Los Angeles. But by 2010, California's taxes had risen, and Stewart moved back to England. (He doesn't claim the reason was taxes; he said his child could get a better education in England.)

Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute summed up California's situation for me. "The politicians want to get re-elected, and the state government workers want to get as much as they can before the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. California is Greece — the Greece of America."

I hope all Americans watch and learn from states like California. But if we don't, and if people keep electing big-government politicians, at least Americans, unlike the Greeks, can hop around between 50 states, trying to stay one step ahead of bad laws and ruin.

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at <a href="" <>></a>. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at




5 Comments | Post Comment
The Free State Project (FSP),
A libertarian movement,
New Hampshire is the place to be
To seek liberating content.
The porcupine is the mascot,
A rodent known for its sharp quills.
Known for liberty - it is not -
Many a sweet porc pie it fills.
The FSP has a porc fest
For liberty to celebrate.
The quills are quite hard to digest.
Live quill free or die a pained fate.

Hard to find a free porcupine
Where libertarians do dine.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Ima Ryma
Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:11 AM
New York should have been included with California, Illinois and Connecticut (perhaps Massachusetts too). I have been unfortunately to live in New York most of my life except for four years in college in Massachusetts. I am waiting for the house of cards to fall apart here. It was tough to face the realization that I will have to leave the state when I retire. I am now facing the reality that I may have to leave before then. Partially due to the ever increasing fees for everything and New York's new SAFE act. I just hope all those people moving from California to the "free" states are not bringing their bad ideas with them. There is nothing worse than a person moving from a restricted state to a free state and starting to campaign for the same restrictions they moved away from.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Aardvark
Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:50 AM
It seem to me that the states and local governments look to the federal government to fund a large part of their budget. With the money comes federal rules and regulations. So at the end of the day the people are under federal control.
Comment: #3
Posted by: countryboy
Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:11 AM
I live in Ohio. Not the worst state, but certainly not the best. I will be moving when I retire in about 10 years. Not because of the weather, but to get away from taxes. If the federal government continues to tax and spend, it will be to another country.
Comment: #4
Posted by: fedupinohio
Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:46 AM
The government is not about to let its milk and beef cows stray too far! There are already extensive restrictions on passports and oversea travel which are getting worse. Airline travel is now a nightmare because of the TSA and government "war-on-terror.

It is only a matter of time before these same jerks make interstate travel just as expensive and difficult! While this will enerrgize libertarian sentiment and activism among the population, we still have some challenging times ahead, both as Americans and as libertarians!
Comment: #5
Posted by: David K. Meller
Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:29 AM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right: comments policy
John Stossel
Feb. `16
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 1 2 3 4 5
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Walter Williams
Walter E. WilliamsUpdated 10 Feb 2016
David Limbaugh
David LimbaughUpdated 9 Feb 2016
Froma Harrop
Froma HarropUpdated 9 Feb 2016

19 Aug 2009 Obamacare's Inevitable Logic

9 Apr 2013 Government Plays Favorites

9 Jul 2014 Important Slow News