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By Bill O'Reilly
Over the Thanksgiving weekend I was down in Austin and Houston, Texas doing shows with Miller. It's been a while since I had visited the Lone Star State and I took a good look around. Now, next week I'll be going out to California, the state with the largest population. Texas is second. And it's fascinating to compare the two places because they signify the clash, the clash that's taking place in America right now.
Texas voted for Romney by about 1.3 million votes. California voted for Obama by about 2.3 million votes. Texas is a conservative state, California dominated by liberal Americans. Both states have more minority voters than white voters.
The overriding tradition of Texas is that self-reliance rules. Most voters there don't want government telling them what to do. Therefore, they don't have a lot of social services. No state income tax in Texas. However, debt in the Lone Star State is about $40 billion and there is a balanced budget amendment.
By contrast California owes an astounding $167 billion. And it's running an annual deficit of about $9 billion, money that can never, never be paid back. And what is California getting for all of that? High school graduation rate; 37th out of 50 states. Per capita income, $44,500. But there is a 10.1 percent unemployment rate. Crime number one, there are more prisoners in California than any other state.
Let's take a look at Texas high school graduation rate ranks 44th slightly above California. Per capita income about $40,000 bucks per year. But there is relatively low unemployment 6.6 percent. Convicts in state prisons ranked number two behind California.
So you can see there is not a big difference in the economic and social stats but there is a big difference in mind set. California has many more social welfare programs. Golden State also has many more business regulations.
Texas, you could pretty much set up any "bigness" you want. You can also ride a motorcycle without a helmet. Talk on the cell phone in a car and on and on. Texans basically saying hey, government, get out of our lives!
The Californians on the other hand generally embrace big government in just about all areas. I mean when the city council of San Francisco proposes to ban gold fish, you know you have intrusive situation. By the way that same city council finally banned public nudity last week except for permitted festivals or parades. Thank God the Thanksgiving Day parade, not held in the city by the bay.
In Texas, if you run around naked and make a wrong move, you might get shot. The state allows its citizens to carry concealed weapons. You can't do that if you are naked.
In California, only vicious drug cartel people carry guns because if the regular folks do, you are likely be in big trouble. They get in big trouble when the cartel guys get back to Mexico.
So you can see there is a stark difference between living in Texas and living in California. The question for all Americans is what place do you think is better? Now I like both states, they are fascinating. But I don't want to live in a nanny state. And that's what California is. New York is getting there as well where I live.
California is also going bankrupt. $167 billion in debt, are you kidding me? That is grossly irresponsible for a state with as many natural resources as California. I mean these pinheads in Sacramento think they can just spend money and other people have to pick up the tab.
Meantime in Texas if you hit it big you get to keep as much of what you earn. Yes, there are local taxes but the state does not impose an income tax. That's why so many workers are moving to the Lone Star State. Florida is a similar situation.
There comes a point where each of us -- each of us has to decide what kind of country we want. Many Americans are depressed because traditional America seems to be disappearing.
Certainly President Obama is a big government progressive guy and now he has a second term. "Talking Points" doesn't expect the President to change his philosophy, he's going to spend an enormous amount of money on social justice. And he's going to take money away from successful Americans in order to finance his vision. I could be wrong but I don't believe that's going to help the economy very much. However, the President is going to do the social justice thing no matter what.
In Texas, the government does not believe that redistributing income is its responsibility. Also it does not believe that it should micromanage the lives of its citizens. If you are dumb enough to ride a motorcycle without a helmet and you wind up in a cemetery it's your call. Trust me nobody is banning 16-ounce soft drinks in Waco. Again it goes back to everybody who has a gun.
In California, and the federal government -- if California and the federal government, I should say, continue to spending at the rate they're spending both will go bankrupt before Barack Obama leaves office and that's the truth. But now there's a very ominous new tax scheme bubbling under the surface, so-called wealth tax. In France, Spain, Iceland, and Switzerland they tax the net worth of wealthy people every year. It doesn't matter if you earn anything, or if you get income or dividends, it doesn't matter. If you have assets -- house, gold, car, whatever -- those governments are going to take some of that. Uber liberals in America want to do the same thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL ALTMAN, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY ECONOMICS PROFESSOR: You can replace completely the income tax and the estate and gift taxes with a wealth tax of 1.5 percent. I think it should be graduated and progressive because to me the most important issue is to deal with the wealth inequality in this country which is much more severe than the income inequality in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Oh isn't that interesting, wealth inequality. Where we've heard that before? Karl Marx? Mao, Fidel Castro? If the U.S. were to impose a so-called wealth tax, that would be the seizure of private property, thus unconstitutional. So on paper we can't do it. But we are living in a very strange time and socialism is close. The State of Vermont has a socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. He would take everything he could from the wealthy.
Again, if Congress passes a law that seizes private property from wealthy Americans we'll no longer have a capitalistic country. So when you yell at me, you guys out there, when you yell at me for not calling Barack Obama a socialist, now you know where the bar is. I don't expect President Obama to endorse a wealth tax but if he does believe me all hell is going to break loose.
Finally, I enjoyed my weekend in Texas, I lived in the state for two years and I admire the spirit there. I also love California. The weather is great it's a beautiful place. But as for philosophy, I'm with the Texans. I don't want the federal government telling me how to live or taking what I earn to a punishing degree.
And that's "The Memo."
- You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: email@example.com.