What Happens If the Cow Moves Away?

In a welfare state, there are two sectors: the parasitic sector and the producing sector. The parasitic sector attaches onto the producing sector and begins sucking the lifeblood out of the producing sector, much like leeches that attach themselves to a cow and begin sucking blood out of the cow.

The leeches have to be careful, however. Their survival and well-being depend on the cow remaining alive. If the leeches get too greedy and too voracious, they will suck so much blood out of the cow that the cow ends up dying, which is not a good thing for the leeches. 

Thus, the leeches must work out a balance in which they suck just enough blood out of the cow to keep the leeches happy and prosperous but not so much blood that the cow dies.

That’s what statist politicians and bureaucrats do with the welfare state. They aim to suck just enough money out of the producing sector through taxation to keep them well and prosperous, but they take great care to not take so much booty that they end up killing the productive sector.

But what happens when the cow decides to just move away? What do the parasites do then?

That’s precisely what has been happening in the state of California, one of the biggest welfare-state havens in the United States. After several decades of plundering and looting the producing sector to fund its welfare-state way of life, the producers have been moving out of the state to protect themselves from the parasites. 

According to an article at Los Angeles’s KTLA, 

For the third straight year, the state of California has experienced a decline in population, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, and many of those packing up and heading east are some of the state’s wealthiest.

A study of IRS Migration Data by an online real estate portal found that no state experienced a larger loss of tax income from migration than California.

The study, conducted by, found that California lost more than $340 million in 2021 IRS tax revenue due to residents moving.

The states to which these wealthy people are moving include Florida and Texas, which, not coincidentally, do not have a state income tax.

That means that the parasitic sector in California now has fewer cows from which to suck, which means more blood to be sucked out of the cows that, so far, are remaining in California. But what happens if more cows decide to move away to save themselves from the parasites?

Ultimately, this process, if continued, cannot end well for California. The welfare-statists will end up sucking everyone dry and, to mix metaphors, kill the golden goose that is laying the golden eggs. 

The better alternative, of course, is for the welfare-statists to abandon their parasitic welfare-state system, which is based on envy, covetousness, and political stealing, and leave people free to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth and to decide for themselves what to do with their own money — save invest, spend, or donate it to others.

Reprinted with permission from The Future of Freedom Foundation.