The Texas Model

3 minute read

Watching the Partisan bonfire in Washington these past few weeks, it’s been easy to focus on the grime of the politics and overlook the scale of the choices. What do we expect from government? What are we willing to pay for? What trade-offs will we accept between freedom and regulation, fairness and opportunity? If you want to see how those choices play out day to day in real life, there’s no better place to look than Texas. The Lone Star State is now the U.S.’s North Star, pointing toward the future, with three of the country’s five fastest-growing cities. Since 2000, a million more people have moved to Texas than have left, drawn by low taxes, low-cost houses and minimal regulation and undeterred by gaps in education, health care or other public services.

Economist Tyler Cowen’s cover story reflects the research that shaped his new book, Average Is Over, a bracing look at the forces that in years to come will make some people much richer–and will leave many others further and further behind. “Tyler is that rare free-market adherent who takes rising inequality seriously and has concrete ideas about how to bridge the gap,” says Ryan Sager, editorial director for Time Ideas, who edited the story. If you want to know what people are seeking, Tyler argues, look where they’re moving. As for government, since Washington hardly provides a model of progress of any kind, states will be studying one another to see what works. The Texas model is easy to criticize–but the results are impossible to ignore.



In “Speed Trap” [Oct. 14] we misstated the name of Pocono Raceway and misidentified a race and its location. The race, held at a track owned by Tony Stewart, was part of the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series and was held in Ohio. We also misstated the number of women in NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program; the correct number is two for 2013.


Many readers on Twitter shared Omar Waraich’s post on Pakistani teen activist Malala Yousafzai’s global influence

Amazing 4children2have a humanitarian role model.


There are some times u feel that good deeds cannot be just measured by prize. It’s always evident by change it brings.


“In Pakistan just ½ of all girls make it to primary school.” Now the entire country is talking about it.



To convey the Texas story visually, Berlin-based illustrator-artist Sarah Illenberger drew a U.S. map on her computer. Then she hired a laser cutter to turn the map into a 30-by-40-in. wooden puzzle, using a computer-linked machine that directed the fine carving of the 50 states. Finally, Illenberger lacquered and spray-painted the pieces (above) and rearranged them into the shape of the Lone Star State.


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