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Ok, let's say you came upon a survey in which you only knew that the results ranked Kansas as number one and New York as dead last. What would you assume the study had measured?
"The best place to practice blinfolded archery?"
Good guess! You would be wrong. The study was really measuring "economic freedom". And it was determined by a think tank located in San Francisco with support from a magazine published out of New York City that California(49) and New York(50) were the worst places to do business.
Irony.. I dunno, ask Sadie, she'll tell you.
Maybe I should call up the Wichita office of Forbes magazine?
Maybe I should run into the streets and welcome the economic refuges streaming in from LA and NYC as they seek asylum in "free" Oklahoma(6)? I hereby offer up the spare bedroom for any "freedom seekers" escaping the clutches of repression.
Maybe I should call up my friend living with his wife out in LA and ask him if he wants to give up his six figure lifestyle, kick ass job at a game company and house in Hollywood to come live in "low wage freedom" with the rest of us?
Maybe I should start reading Newsmax.com?
The index shows that the 25 states with above-average freedom include only two “blue” states, New Hampshire (which Kerry barely won and Bush won in 2000) and Delaware. The 25 subpar states included 17 Kerry states.
Sheesh.. these people... one guy with a icon of Ronald Reagan (from #49) as his avatar retorted that:
The report is about economic freedom, not which states create the most wealth.
Leading us to the obvious conclusion that economic freedom DOES NOT lead to wealth creation. Which begs the question.. so what is it GOOD FOR then? Is not the whole argument that "economic freedom" leads to wealth? That's what the authors of the report claim after all?
“If all states ranked as free as Kansas, the annual income of an average working American would rise 4.42 percent, or $1,161, putting an additional $87,541 into his or her pocket over a 40-year working life. This would be a sizable addition to individuals’ private retirement accounts,” PRI stated.
No word on whether this was reported with a traight face or not.
Of course, what they really mean is that "free" = lower taxes. The correlation between lower tax rates and economic vitality is not as tight as they might suggest. States like New York, Massachusetts and California, with their higher tax rates seem to be defying the basic laws of the economic universe by continuing to be the great economic engines of the nation in spite of their lack of "freedom". What this says to anyone not blinded by ideology is that tax rates have less of an impact on economic success than other more important factors. If tax rates were indeed the main indicator of economic health we WOULD see a thriving Kansas and a New York in decline.
But we don't, and suggesting that New York and California should be more like Kansas seems absurd considering their success.
The only kernal of truth to this idea that tax rates kill economic growth only applies if taxes become so burdensome that they overide other factors, such as; avalability of talent, proximity to other related interests and general livability. But up until that point people would much rather pay higher taxes on higher salaries than lower taxes on lower salaries, provided that at the end of the day they go home with more money in their pockets.
I would gladly move to California if it meant making more money, even if it meant paying more taxes. The important indicator is not whether not taxes are higher but whether the gap between costs and income grows. Taxes play a part on the costs end of the equation, as does housing and transportation, but if those costs are offset by an increase in income and an apportunity for career advancement people will move.
On the more cynical side of things, this report indicates areas of low wages. THAT is a good thing for companies looking for cheap labor. But don't expect the publishers of this report to give up their plum jobs in the lands of repression to come work in a call center in the freedom of sunny Kansas.
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