Self-determination dead in New Jersey?

In a season of crazy polls, one in New Jersey stands out for its revelation of obtuseness.  The Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll shows that almost a majority of adults want to leave the Garden State, thanks to the high cost of living and government.  Apparently the 49% who object to these costs don’t realize that they can vote for a more responsive — and less costly — state government:

Even New Jerseyans can’t stand living in New Jersey, according to a new poll that said nearly half of adults residing in the Garden State want to pull up stakes.

The Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll, released Wednesday, found 49 percent of those polled would rather live somewhere else.

New Jersey already is suffering from an image problem and bears the brunt of jokes because of its corruption and pollution problems. But 58 percent of those residents polled said the heavy financial burden of just living in the state is no laughing matter, and that’s why they want to leave.

Poll participants cited high property taxes (28 percent), the cost of living (19 percent), state taxes (5 percent) and housing costs (6 percent) as the main reasons they want out. The poll also found that 51 percent of those who expressed a desire to leave planned to do so, with adults under the age of 50 making between $50,000 and $100,000 the most likely to flee.

“If you have the ability to leave and you don’t see any possibility for change with the way the state is run — and that’s the No. 1 issue here — you have to vote with your feet,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

That’s simply not true.  In places like the old Soviet Union, Zimbabwe, and the DPRK, people have to vote with their feet because they don’t have a meaningful vote otherwise.  In America, people can vote with their ballots.

If New Jersey government has gotten so out of control that a majority of adults no longer want to live there, the less costly alternative would be to vote out the current government and try a new direction.  Organize for different candidates.  Try a couple of recall petitions to get the attention of the political class.  Start pushing back on tax hikes and bond issues.

I’m actually sympathetic to the impulse.  I left California for a better job opportunity eleven years ago and managed to avoid the debacle of the current budget deficit, which is three times greater than Minnesota’s entire annual state budget.  However, I also know people who leave here for less-costly states, and at least some of them are the people who sported “Happy to Pay for a Better Minnesota” bumper stickers on their cars.  If people want less-costly living, then they need to recognize that government isn’t a charity organization and push for smaller, less costly government instead of demanding government solutions to every problem and then getting itchy feet when the costs hit home.  Pretty soon, there won’t be any place to run.