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It's Going to Take More Than Politics to Torpedo the Texas Boom – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Tariq Lodhi considers himself to be socially progressive: anti-gun, pro-choice, an advocate for LGBTQ rights. For the last five years, he split his time as a tech engineer between the liberal enclaves of Boston and the Bay Area.

Then, earlier this month, he moved to Texas, where Republican Governor Greg Abbott has been signing a flurry of conservative laws limiting abortion and voter rights, banning mask mandates and handicapping banks’ ability to do business in the state if they don’t support the firearms industry. 

By the time Lodhi took the plunge, the decision was easy: The economic and professional opportunities outweighed the cultural warfare coming out of Austin. His new engineering job at Qorvo Inc. is a great fit, and the rapidly growing tech scene north of Dallas is exciting. Back in California, his $2.7 million “shed” in Cupertino was starting to feel cramped. In the Dallas suburbs, he can buy a mansion with a pool in a great school district for less than $1 million. 

From outside the state, “it’s easy to buy into the stereotype of what you hear in politics,” Lodhi said in an interview. “I find the local population here very welcoming, very warm, friendly and hospitable.”

Lodhi joins a wave of newcomers that’s helped boost Texas’s population by more than 4 million over the past decade, part of a boom that created one of the fastest growing economies in the U.S. And despite the angst among businesses and economists worried that hard-right politics will make it harder to lure talent, the calculus for anyone considering a move is more nuanced than just focusing on red state versus blue state. 

Corporate recruiters, chambers of commerce and many of the companies and people that have helped create the thriving economy suggest it’s going to take more than politics to kill the Texas boom. Low taxes, relatively affordable homes and plentiful jobs are luring new arrivals from across the political spectrum, even those ardently opposed to many of the social policies that Republicans lawmakers have prioritized in recent years.

Tesla, Goldman

Tesla Inc. said this month it will move its headquarters to Texas, following similar announcements by Oracle Corp., Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. and real estate giant CBRE Group Inc. Finance firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have also expanded in the state, helping bolster the size of the Texas economy to $1.9 trillion, the ninth largest in the world if it were its own country. 

Austin was the top destination in the U.S. for attracting new workers in the past 12 months, according to data from LinkedIn. The migration primarily came from the San Francisco area, Los Angeles and New York City. Dallas and Houston were also among the 10 U.S. cities for luring talent. Job boards showed almost 800,000 postings for Texas in the third quarter, almost double from a year earlier, according to a report from recruiting firm Robert Half.

Crypto trader Jake Ryan decided he’d had enough of the cost of living, horrible traffic and heart-breaking homelessness of Los Angeles. In 2017, he started hedge fund Tradecraft Capital to invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency assets, and quickly decided he wanted to find a place with a better quality of life for his family where the government wouldn’t get in the way of doing business. He’d gone to University of Texas in Austin, and always wanted to return to the city. 

Ryan says he doesn’t care for the conservative politics of the state — especially when it comes to cultural and social policies such as the recently implemented laws regulating transgender kids’ participation in school sports. But Austin is a blue refuge in a red state, and he can live with it. 

“I love it,” he said of Austin. “Things are looking up.”

‘Cuts Both Ways’

Corporate recruiters in Texas say politics rarely comes up when talking to job candidates. “These issues pop up periodically — whether it’s Covid or abortion — but they don’t last,” said Carl Taylor, who owns an executive search firm in Dallas. “The long-term value of being in Texas far outweighs the blip of what is the hot news item or current issue that is going on.”  

Keith Wolf, a managing director at the recruitment firm Murray Resources in Houston, said that for every candidate who might take a pass on Texas because of the politics, others are drawn to the state to find a better match for their values.

“It cuts both ways,” he said. “Some people are attracted to Texas because of the politics. Maybe they come from a more liberal state and they have more conservative views, and we’ve seen that.”

Laura Huffman, president of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, said the main reason businesses are relocating to the region is for access to talent. Rarely does she hear about politics.

“Those are not central in conversations we have,” Huffman said. “The issues that come up consistently are of talent, the environment for growing a business, the quality of life.”

‘A Different Energy’

Employers are attracted to Texas by the lack of income taxes, a predictable regulatory climate and a young, growing and skilled workforce, the governor’s press office said in an email.

Still, socially conservative policies are unpopular with many of the highly educated professionals who are in demand, and that will weigh on long-term economic development, according to Ray Perryman, who runs an economic research firm in Waco, Texas.

“This spate of legislation that restricts human rights and well-being cannot help but limit the state’s fortunes in the future,” he said.

Cydny Black moved to Austin from Washington D.C. last year for a job at a boutique marketing agency that specializes in work for mission-driven non-profits. She had heard Austin was a great city for creative types, full of artists and musicians, though she was concerned she wouldn’t feel completely welcome as a progressive Black woman. That proved to be unfounded.

“People have been so kind in Austin,” she said. “I love the East Coast, but it’s a different energy.”

When the Texas legislature started prioritizing culture-war issues this year, Black was disappointed. But instead of being tempted to flee, she’s putting down roots with the hope of helping to foster change. She’s registered to vote and joined the Austin Area Urban League Young Professionals to meet like-minded folks.

“I don’t agree with policies I’m hearing or reading about, so I’m looking for ways to get involved,” Black said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Canada joins U.S, EU and Britain in imposing new Belarus sanctions

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Canada imposed new sanctions on Belarusian officials and entities in coordination with international partners on Thursday to protest against what it called attacks on human rights and acts of repression, Ottawa said.

A foreign ministry statement said Canada was acting together with the United States, the European Union and Britain. Separately, the U.S. Treasury imposed restrictions on dealings in new issuances of Belarusian sovereign debt and expanded sanctions, targeting 20 individuals and 12 entities.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren)

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For Now, Post-Roe Politics Are Unknowable – Bloomberg

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Important Note: We’re retiring this newsletter in favor of a new feature on Bloomberg.com that allows readers to sign up for emails of my latest columns. I’ll still be writing them every morning, but you’ll only receive them in your inbox if you hit the blue link under my name here — click to the page, then click on “Follow+” to sign up.

By many accounts, the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is likely to abolish the constitutional right to abortion, either because the court will constrict the right until it’s meaningless or, more likely, because it will flat-out overturn the controlling cases. I’ll let others weigh in on the practical consequences of such a decision, and on what other rights and precedents may be next on the current court’s agenda. I’ll stick, for now, to some speculation about the electoral fallout.

To begin, I’d agree with political scientist Jonathan Ladd that the effects on public opinion are impossible to predict. Of course, those who feel strongly about this issue will have the expected reactions, but most people don’t care deeply about abortion. My best guess is that whatever people tell pollsters, at least in the short run we shouldn’t expect significant changes in overall public opinion. Most people who aren’t invested in the arguments now will presumably go back to not being invested once the decision falls out of the news cycle.

As far as the 2022 elections are concerned, the conventional wisdom is that those who would be losing in court — abortion-rights supporters — would be more energized, all else equal. How much will that mitigate the energizing effects of policy loss among Republicans after two years of unified Democratic government? My guess is that the plausible answers range from “some” to “just a little.” As far as voting is concerned, most of those who care strongly about abortion are already sorted to the corresponding parties, so I wouldn’t expect much of a short-run shift.

But that doesn’t mean there will be no effects at all. For one thing, abortion is about to become a much more significant policy issue in state and national elections. Yes, candidates have run on the issue up to now, and state legislatures have acted on it. But even though some of the laws that survived court scrutiny did have significant effects, there was always a sense that the campaign talk amounted to shadow-boxing, since there were severe limits on what any politician could actually accomplish. That will change.

There may also be real possibilities for change within each party’s coalition. On the Republican side, it’s possible that we’ll eventually get some demobilization of single-issue party actors — but it’s also possible that continued fighting at the state and national level could energize those voters further. It’s unknown whether overturning other court decisions on social issues, from contraception to marriage and more, will generate the same politics within the party that abortion has.

On the Democratic side, the effects seem easier to predict. Over the past few years, as women have become more central to the party coalition, so have the policy questions they care about. It sure seems like the demise of abortion rights would only accelerate that trend while providing common ground for various different groups of women within the party. (There are plenty of women who strongly oppose abortion rights or are relatively indifferent, but among Democratic party actors there’s a pretty united front, and if anything the court’s decision should solidify that consensus.)

In the long run, we’ll see how decreased access to abortion will shift public views, as people begin to see stories in the media — and examples within their own lives — of the effects of new restrictions. For 50 years, those stories have mostly dropped out of the national conversation. Meanwhile, I don’t see any particular reason to expect an increase in either media stories or personal experiences sympathizing with the other side — we shouldn’t see an increase, for example, in stories about women who regret abortions, but we could see more women harmed from illegal procedures. Over time that might change things significantly, and could have unpredictable effects on voting coalitions and on the parties themselves. But whether that will actually happen? There’s no real way to know.

1. Henry Farrell at the Monkey Cage talks with Mary Sarotte about Putin and Ukraine.

2. Irin Carmon on the Supreme Court and abortion.

3. My Bloomberg Opinion colleague Michael Strain on policy divisions within the Republican Party.

4. Amy Walter on President Joe Biden’s approval ratings.

5. And Ed Kilgore on the Georgia gubernatorial election.

Important Note: We’re retiring this newsletter in favor of a new feature on Bloomberg.com that allows readers to sign up for emails of my latest columns. I’ll still be writing them every morning, but you’ll only receive them in your inbox if you hit the blue link under my name here — click to the page, then click on “Follow+” to sign up.

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The inflation debate could preview the next big shifts in Canadian politics – CBC.ca

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The most interesting battle of the 44th Parliament’s early days has been the recurring back-and-forth between Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre.

This running debate between two of the most prominent figures in Canadian politics maps out some of the fault lines that might define the present and near-future of the national debate.

Once one of Stephen Harper’s most enthusiastically combative lieutenants, Poilievre has spent the past two years cultivating an online following — even playing footsie with some of the Internet’s conspiracy theorists.

This past spring, six months before the fall election, Erin O’Toole decided he didn’t want Poilievre to be the Conservative Party’s spokesperson on fiscal matters and shuffled him to another job. O’Toole’s team insisted it wasn’t a demotion — though it’s not hard to imagine that Poilievre might have been a bit too edgy for the non-threatening and moderate campaign O’Toole ran this fall.

But Poilievre was returned to the position of “shadow finance minister” after O’Toole and the Conservatives stumbled to a disappointing election result in September. Poilievre now seems like something of a spiritual leader for the Conservative side.

Before the election, Poilievre enthusiastically attacked federal spending and the Bank of Canada’s purchase of government bonds. He now points to this fall’s inflation figures as vindication of his arguments. On Twitter, he has adopted the oh-so-clever hashtag of #Justinflation to underline his claim that the prime minister is to blame for recent price increases.

‘Just inflation’ catches on

Poilievre also has taken to using the phrase “just inflation” during question period — barely skirting the rule against using another MP’s proper name — and four other Conservative MPs joined him in doing so in the House on Tuesday.

Inflation has dominated questions from the Conservative side through the first week of the 44th Parliament. So Freeland was prepared when she and Poilievre faced each other directly last Thursday.

After Poilievre needled Freeland for acknowledging that inflation is a “crisis” and challenged her to admit that it’s a “homegrown problem,” Freeland stood and listed off numbers that suggest Canada’s level of inflation is in line with the rest of the G20.

At her next opportunity, Freeland referred Poilievre to the words of a National Post columnist (“The Conservatives may not want to listen to me about inflation, but I suspect they read the National Post”) who wrote that inflation is a “global phenomenon” and also described Poilievre as “charging out of his corner, arms wind-milling.”

Poilievre tried again and Freeland challenged him to tell Canadians that he thinks a pandemic is a time for “austerity.”

In her own way, Freeland is a good match for Poilievre — and each might define something about their respective sides.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, sits beside then-Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland as they take part in the APEC Summit in Manila in 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

 

An erudite former journalist, Freeland is one of the key figures of the Trudeau era. She was the Liberal leader’s first star recruit nearly a decade ago, then the woman he chose to put front and centre against Donald Trump, and the deputy prime minister he needed after the bruising campaign of 2019. Now she is the first woman to be put in charge of federal fiscal policy.

Poilievre, who casts himself as a populist fighter, is also a keen student of rhetorical combat. He once said that his approach is based on an understanding of the minutiae of legislation and a mastery of “simple facts.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals — content to drown the proceedings in values statements — have not always shown much interest in trying to win question period. In her own news conferences, Freeland has tended to prefer long and careful explanations.

Freeland pushes back

For those reasons, Freeland’s recent efforts stand out.

After former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz told CTV on Sunday that inflation in Canada was not caused by federal spending, Freeland waved his words in front of the Conservative benches — and reminded the Official Opposition that Stephen Harper appointed Poloz to preside over the bank.

On Tuesday, she corrected Conservative MP Gerard Deltell on the rate of inflation in Germany and challenged Poilievre to specifically identify which pandemic support program he would have cut.

But as more voices have jumped into the inflation fray, Poilievre has pivoted slightly to focus on the rising cost of housing.

On Monday, Poilievre raised the case of a 27-year-old constituent who couldn’t afford to buy a house and wanted to know why prices had increased so much over the last year. In response, Freeland pointed to the money families would save thanks to the federal government’s push for expanded child care.

Vulnerabilities on both sides

Poilievre came back to note that his constituent wouldn’t be able to start a family until he could afford to buy a house.

There are unanswered questions for both sides here.

Freeland might not be directly responsible for the cost of groceries or the price of a detached home in Southern Ontario, but if neither issue resolves itself, the Liberal Party will have to worry about dealing with a frustrated electorate.

On housing, the Liberal election platform at least included a plan — one that was rated higher than the Conservative offer. But that might not be enough on its own to solve the problem.

The sky-high cost of housing is a significant point of vulnerability for the Liberals. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Poilievre’s hawkish stance on government spending, meanwhile, is undermined by the fact that his party just ran on a platform that promised nearly identical levels of spending. And the one major cut the Conservatives were willing to campaign on — walking away from billions in promised spending on child care — might be impossible to pursue if Ontario joins the federal child care plan.

Regardless, the cost of living and public spending will be some of the most valuable terrain in Canadian politics for the next while.

A fall economic statement is expected this month, with a budget due in the spring. So Poilievre and Freeland are likely to see a lot of each other in the coming weeks and months.

Beyond that, you can use your own imagination.

If O’Toole were to lose his tenuous grip on the Conservative leadership, attention would quickly focus on Poilievre — either as a potential candidate or as a potentially influential figure in deciding who leads the party next.

Whenever Trudeau decides to step aside, Freeland will be foremost in the pool of possible successors.

But we don’t need to get ahead of ourselves. There is already much to confront over the next year. And much might depend on how well Freeland and Poilievre make their respective arguments.

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