Analysis & Comment

Opinion | The Flight to Red States

To the Editor:

Re “People Are Fleeing to Red States. Are They Better?,” by David Brooks (column, April 14):

Mr. Brooks writes about why there has been a dramatic population shift from blue to red states. My reasons are simple: taxes and the quality of life.

As one who moved from the New York City area to a purple suburb of blue Charleston, S.C., I save a fortune in state, local and property taxes.

South Carolina doesn’t tax Social Security benefits, which are outrageously taxed by the federal government and most blue states. And my property taxes are about 90 percent lower than they would be in the New York City area.

Oh, did I forget to mention that shoveling snow in the winter is now a thing of the past?

Yes, politically, South Carolina leaves a lot to be desired, but here I can live off the fruits of my lifetime of work (which I still do), instead of seeing my efforts and assets evaporate into tax collectors’ coffers.

Steven Morris
Mount Pleasant, S.C.

To the Editor:

Blue states are more prosperous, more educated and less affected by climate change. And the flight to red states won’t continue forever. Doubt climate change if you will, but Florida and South Carolina will be heavily flooded in the years to come. The West is running dry, and the heartland is being blown away.

Blue cities and red rural areas aren’t a red state phenomenon. Cities across the country are blue, while it’s mostly red outside the metropolitan areas.

By land mass, this is a red country. New York is deep blue only because of New York City, which is home to half the state’s population, and, as James Carville famously quipped, purple Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in between.

I think I’ll stay put.

Barry Rehfeld
New York

To the Editor:

With the exception of Tennessee, the states mentioned by David Brooks all have warm climates. In Michigan, a lot of retirees head south between Thanksgiving and Easter. We call them snowbirds. Who wouldn’t want to avoid a cold climate unless you appreciate the four seasons?

However, the snowbirds always seem to come back. Maybe it’s because of family, or maybe it’s because the quality of life is better in Michigan than in the South.

People don’t necessarily move to a particular state because of politics. They move there because it offers jobs that they’d like or the ability, being a retiree, to live in two places during the year and enjoying the benefits offered by each state.

Ken Ross
Dearborn Heights, Mich.

To the Editor:

David Brooks’s column describing why people are “fleeing” blue cities for red states misses a number of key points. While he rightly notes that many such people “flee” (are they really fleeing?) to blue islands in red states, the key point is that many people who have owned homes in blue states — especially in coastal California and the New York area — for more than a decade have seen their home value rise by 50 percent or more while they are still paying thousands of dollars per month on their mortgages.

In a lovely place like Asheville, N.C., one can buy a comparably sized home for 40 percent of what it would cost in coastal California, live mortgage-free and pocket the price difference in a mutual fund. Plus one could feel right at home in a town that is basically Berkeley with more dive bars.

In addition, young professionals priced out of blue state housing markets can now have blue state jobs and salaries and work remotely from the same blue islands in red territory. To put it simply, it’s basic economics driving most of this population shift, not ideology.

Russell Shor
Carlsbad, Calif.

To the Editor:

I am one of these people. I am a flaming liberal living in an ultraconservative Republican state.

Like many others I moved from a Northeast cold-winter state to a Southeast warm-winter state because of the weather. In spite of the politics. I’m not happy about the politics, but I’m very happy about the weather. That’s all there is to this so-called conundrum.

Vicki Anderson
Hernando Beach, Fla.

To the Editor:

I am retired and moved from Wisconsin to Florida three years ago. The reason many red states have an increase in population is that the boomers represent a huge number of people in our country and they are retiring, many to warm states like Florida and Arizona.

Sheryl King
Venice, Fla.

To the Editor:

David Brooks writes: “We know the policy mix that creates a dynamic society. We just don’t yet have a party that wants to promote it.”

I have been saying for years that we need a third party to reflect the positions of the centrists. Most of my friends are Republicans; I am the lone Democrat among them. I often compare where we stand on different issues. It is amazing how similar our thoughts are concerning these various issues. They are so similar that I often call my friends closet Democrats.

I won’t vote for a Republican because of the radical wing the party has to appease. My friends won’t vote for a Democrat for the same reason. Yet we share many of the same values and policy positions.

Our country is ready for a centrist party. Perhaps then we can end the logjam in Washington and move our country forward.

Kevin Walsh
Mahwah, N.J.

To the Editor:

David Brooks asks, “Where is the party that stands for the policy blend that manifestly works?”

We’re called the Forward Party and our motto is “Not Left. Not Right. Forward.” We’re recruiting folks who think like Mr. Brooks does to help us promote better choices in upcoming local elections.

Through election reform, we hope to make life easier for the majority of Americans who hold to the middle of the road. No more voting for the lesser of two evils!

The old parties label us as potential “spoilers” because what we’re planning to spoil is their grip on the power of polarization. We’re coming soon to an election near you.

John M. Rathbun
Mills River, N.C.

Source: Read Full Article