Imagine that you are granted the power to decide the future of the American state, and you are standing at a crossroads before two signs pointing in opposite directions. The first sign says: This way for low taxes, low regulations, low unemployment, and no budget deficit. The second sign says: This way for higher taxes, higher regulations, higher unemployment, and a crippling budget deficit. Which path do you choose?
Percentage of population with health insurance Source 50-1
Percentage of high school graduates age 25 and over Source 50-2
[Percentage] of insured low-income children Source 50-3
Per capita spending on state arts agencies Source 49-2
Per capita spending on water quality Source 49-4
Amount of monthly Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits paid Source 49-5
Texas is a model, yes, for loose regulations, a consistent standing as one of the most business friendly states in the country, and a remarkably healthy budget. But it's important to add what Douthat left out: That the untold ingredient of Texas' secret sauce is a draconian approach to social services that, if nationalized, would represent a 180-degree turnaround from the platform elected in November 2008. That's the other side of the destination waiting past the first sign.