Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
The American economy is a ruthless animal, driving intense competition through the ever-growing desire for self-improvement and ease. Everyone who enters the world of business takes a risk, and gambles on himself or herself. A business owner will inevitably need to know how to win at business in order to play the game. At the same time, workers have choices about where they live and where they pursue their careers.
Winning can be defined in different ways, but profitability is an essential ingredient of the winning formula. The last two years have substantially increased profit margins for a few companies (i.e., vaccine manufacturers and video-conferencing software providers), while entire industries have faced devastating losses (i.e., hospitality). The fallout from Covid policies and shutdowns combined with the continuing demographic decline will have substantial and sustained impacts on the economy, but winners and losers will still emerge, regardless of the competitive or regulatory environment. So how will these winners and losers be determined?
At the macro level, states and regions with significant government intervention during Covid have seen out-migration, which translates into loss of revenue. California has seen a net out-migration of their population every year since 2013, with Covid accelerating that migration substantially. Oxford Economics’ analysis of the U.S. Postal Service change-of-address system determined that San Francisco’s population decline may have reached a loss of 27,000, the fourth-largest decline in the nation.
This loss of people in places like San Francisco and New York will have downstream impacts on votes and tax revenue. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities says that, “New York City is projecting a $9 billion shortfall over the next two years, and New York State projects tax collection will fall $14.5 billion short of initial expectations this year  alone.”
Where are they going? U-Haul tracks moves between cities to analyze migration patterns, and 14 of the top 25 growth cities in 2021 were in Florida and Texas. RedBalloon.work has seen hundreds of thousands of workers looking for freedom in the workplace, and willing to move to find it, driving in part the much larger de-urbanization and “red migration” trend in America. Contrary to what we’ve been told about overpopulation, the more people meaningfully contributing to an economy, the wealthier that economy is as a whole. People who love freedom and move their families to find it are driving economic wins for their adopted regions. Red states are growing; blue states are declining.
US News reported last year that red states have better economies overall – and that gap is widening. Not only are people moving, but businesses are relocating, bringing jobs and tax revenue to red states with lower taxes and fewer regulations. Texas and Florida are engaged in a healthy competition to see which state can lure the most companies from blue states.
On the individual company level, even before the Covid-crazies, the American Management Association estimated that in America alone, $100 billion of productivity is lost annually due to office politics. With the widely-adopted Covid policies of the past few years, millions of workers have transitioned to working in part or fully from home. Given Forbes estimate, “a staggering 72% of remote workers don’t have a dedicated office space, and 40% aren’t even working from a dedicated desk,” productivity has undoubtedly taken a hit too.
Workers are gradually making their way back to the office, only to find that the office has become even more draconian (what percentage of companies in the US, even just publicly-traded companies, now require vaccination as a term of employment?) Concrete hiring quotas and increased emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion, along with the prevalence of cancel culture now transform the office into a highly-regulated and increasingly hostile space for employees who don’t share the underlying belief that their workplace should be a center of political advocacy.
I predict that the trend of depopulation we have seen in blue states will become true of blue companies as well. Those who remain focused on “purifying” their workforce with ever-increasing compliance and “equity” standards will see the self-starters and contributors leaving, and will, over time, lose the profits and prominence they previously enjoyed. Those who, like red states, welcome freedom of thought and medical choices will, over time, win with innovation and customer service. Apollo Technical reports that “companies with high worker satisfaction outperform low-satisfaction companies by 202%!” Happy people work harder and produce better results, and free people are happy people.
Businesses that take a sometimes-awkward stand for freedom ultimately identify themselves as places where people are free and get work done – and these businesses are positioning themselves for massive wins in the years to come. I hope “woke” companies will wake up and realize that it pays to be a champion of freedom.
Andrew Crapuchettes, is the founder and CEO of RedBalloon, which was founded in 2021 as the solution to the ever-growing problem of government overreach and “cancel culture” invading the American workplace.
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