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LIFE AND LIVABILITY






There is not an easy answer to the question of what the best place is to live in here in the United States. Because of our societal structure and cultural diversity, people have many options in choosing a desirable residence. Some may choose to reside in urban or suburban environments. Others may prefer the quiet and tranquility of rural areas. Regardless, there are many options for one to choose from.

There are many factors that may impact the preference for one environment over another. Personal, financial, or cultural factors may have a great influence in where one chooses to set their roots or raise a family. Beyond our inner scope, public policy factors can also nudge our decision one way or another. Given the relative ease of relocation, compared to the past, the decision to reside in one location can change. External factors can drive such change. 

Based on recent news reports, there is a significant migration taking place in our society. Many coastal states with populous well-known metropolises see residents flee inwards or southward. The goal is to find more affordable and livable communities. Given the sudden change, one must assume this is not a change solely based on consumer taste but influenced by other factors. Factors driven by people outside of the family structure making the decision.

Generally speaking, there are a few common criteria people use to measure potential places of residency. A key measure is the cost of living, considering the direct cost of housing along with additional indirect expenses related to residing in a particular municipality. The quality of life is a key factor weighing in the safety and security of the household from those around them. For families, the effectiveness of government services, primarily education, healthcare, law enforcement, and others. People generally want affordable communities with safe environments and good schools. 

Policies implemented in many blue states altered the desirability of many prominent communities. Many cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, are far too expensive places to live in despite the high salaries attained in these areas. High income and property taxes as well as numerous additional fees for behaviors untaxed in many other areas. Traditionally, government leaders exercise fiscal responsibility in spending taxpayer money, but more progressive liberal regions provide access to funds for expenses not appropriate for public spending. As a result, many taxpayers see much of their hard-earned money diverted away from their households with little to show for it. If people can afford to leave, they will, which is what the migration is showing us. 

Many blue states have greatly reduced the quality of life well beyond the significant cost of living. Social policies make many communities less safe than ever, as officials inject politics into law enforcement and community standards. Homelessness and crime are rampant in many blue state, making many parts of our popular cities less hygienic and less safe. The issue is the public is somehow supposed to overlook flaws and accept certain behaviors that reduce the quality of life. Programs seek to normalize the fringe rather than truly help people become productive members of society. 

Another area of deterioration is the effectiveness of government services, primarily education. The education in many blue states is not adequately preparing students for their futures, despite the great deal of money spent on education and the significant fund educational organizations circulate into elections. Without private and charter schools, public education would trap a great deal more students into the cycles of poverty. The biggest issues is the geographic inconsistency in quality and funding issues. Many hardline political views prevent people from looking at potential disruptive solutions that could make education more affordable and responsive in the long run.

Impacts of the migration will be felt at the local, state, and federal levels. More tax revenues balanced against greater demands of services and support will impact the budgets of many local and state governments. Investments in infrastructure, law enforcement, and housing will need to change. Representation in Congress is expected to change as a result of the migration. Like all migrations in our history, society will adapt over time. 

The important lesson for policymakers is to make communities affordable, safe, and hopeful. New Jersey appears not to learn from its past experiences with politically related migrations, as it continues to push for increases in the cost of living. As past millionaire’s tax pushed many of its wealthy into neighboring states, the related spend tied to this rounds of taxes will undoubtedly fall on the middle class. There simply are not enough people left in the top tier remaining in the state to limit the pain to the top earners. Political rhetoric meeting can be costly reality. 

The best place to live in our society is a place where one can afford comfortable housing, attain quality educations for their family, and sleep knowing they are safe. There needs to be more of these places.