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A lot, obviously. But conservative columnist Michael Barone writes specifically today that Texas is setting an example for the country when it comes to the potential of a booming private sector, especially when compared to states like California, Michigan, New York and Ohio:

The lesson of the previous decade seems clear: if you take a previously prosperous and creative state and subject it to high taxes and intrusive regulations, it loses 5% of its private sector jobs; if you take a previously somewhat less prosperous and creative state and govern it with low taxes and light regulation, it gains 9% more jobs, even as the nation’s economy is suffering.

I’ve explored previously this contrast between our two largest states. Here’s another set of numbers about our second and third largest states that tells a story about what has happened over a longer period of time. In 1970 New York had 18 million people. In 2010 New York had 19 million people. In 1970 Texas had 11 million people. In 2010 Texas had 25 million people.

Don’t tell me public policy doesn’t account for much of the difference.

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