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« Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 933 -- Texas' Economy Unequivocally Shines. | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 935 -- Workforce Participation (Or, The Lack Thereof) Masking Real Unemployment. »

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 934 -- Laboratories Of Democracy.

States Can Decide What Works For Themselves-

The Washington Examiner crafted an editorial going after Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley for seeking to implement a brand-spanking-new tax on Internet sales:

O'Malley's 2008 millionaire surtax was intended to raise the income tax bill of wealthy families by 32 percent and raise an extra $106 million in revenue. Instead, it prompted one-third of Maryland's top earners to leave the state, sending tax revenue plummeting by 22 percent. Instead of collecting that extra $106 million, O'Malley's blunder actually cost the state $257 million. The Wall Street Journal's analysis of federal tax-return data found that "Maryland lost $1 billion of its net tax base in 2008" from residents moving to other states. That means the millionaire tax is still costing local governments much-needed revenue.

.... it would be extremely burdensome to collect revenue for more than 8,000 taxing jurisdictions in the U.S. Texas Gov. Rick Perry vetoed such revenue-seeking legislation for precisely that reason.

Everybody but O'Malley can see where this is going. Just like the flight of the millionaires, an Internet tax will cost Marylanders dearly in jobs and business opportunities lost to more enlightened and business-friendly states.

Indeed, Maryland only didn't lose seats in Congress after the 2010 Census because it is adjacent to Washington, D.C., and Washington, D.C. and its outskirts have boomed as the Federal Government has literally, physically grown. But the rest of Maryland shows a strong propensity for outward domestic migration. Let's take Baltimore, for example (Baltimore, the city, seceded from Baltimore County, long ago, so let's look at both):


A clear outward trend. Texas cities have absorbed many of those economic refugees.

It is now easier to pack up and move hundreds or even thousands of miles away than it has ever been in human history. Americans can and do "vote with their feet" on the policies they like and don't like.

Even in an era before locomotives and paved multi-lane interstate highways, before jet air travel and the Internet, the American Founders drew up a system that limited Federal overreach and gave states profound independence. As mass media and ease of travel have made our society more interconnected and our culture more homogenous, it would be tempting to argue that regional autonomy is a quaint notion. On the contrary, laboratories of democracy may be more important than ever before.

The Keynesian moment may have peaked, rhetorically, when Richard Nixon declared "we're all Keynesians now" in 1971, but the past few years have really been Keynes' time to shine. Turns out, the Keynesian experiment didn't work at the national level.

A few states did better than others, though, in recent years. Texas, foremost, dominated in job growth and people moving with their feet.

Imagine if we didn't have the examples of Texas and Michigan to guide us? Without state-by-state examples of success and failure, we may just assume that America is in an inevitable decline. Instead, we know that collectivism fails and liberty succeeds. This applies not only to States in America but to nation-states of the world as well:

This is why the Tenth Amendment ("The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."), and having a necessarily and intentionally limited national government, are so vital to to this ongoing American experiment.

The reality should be obvious. Since 1960, Americans have rejected big labor and big government:


Unfortunately, even something as stark and unequivocal as this...

click for a bigger version

...is not obvious to people with a certain rigid "progressive" worldview. To hear liberals explain it, depending on their degree of cognitive dissonance, Texas is really a terrible place without jobs, or Texas has only thrived because of oil and because we have warm weather.

Indeed, "climate" or "weather" is often cited as an overriding reason why Texas is gaining population and jobs at the expense of those poor, cold places near Canada. These people have apparently never lived in Texas from about April through October. It's hot. It's either oppressively humid, East of I-35; or dry, dusty, and windy, West of I-35. We have by far more natural disasters-- more tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, dust storms, droughts, and wildfires-- than any other state in America:


Yes, we generally have great food and robust culture, and it's more often than not really nice outside from about Halloween through Valentine's Day, but many people choose Texas in spite of the weather or climate, not because of it. That's what makes the Texas economic success story that much more amazing.

Everyone should want to live in California, if beautiful scenery, gorgeous climate, and a diverse array of outdoor activities are your things. California is lush. It's fertile. The weather is just plain nice most of the year. Yes, they have mudslides and wildfires and earthquakes, too, but the whole state of California is really just a pleasant postcard waiting to happen.

Yet, despite strong foreign in-migration to the Golden State, it had such strong domestic out-migration in the 2000s that California won't be adding any Congressional seats or Electoral College votes for the first time ever as a state.

The Barack Obama model draws most strongly from the models found in California, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Illinois. High tax. Pro-big labor. Big government. Lots of regulation. They've generally lost far more jobs and people to domestic migration than the national averages.

The rest of the states shouldn't have to suffer under the failing one-size-fits-all policies of Obamanomics. And the struggling states shouldn't be subsidized or bailed out by the Federal Government and/or solvent states. Good ideas will win.

If we're confident in the power of our ideas, let's marginalize Washington, D.C. and let the states compete and drive policy everywhere toward what works-- economic liberty.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas' Economy Unequivocally Shines.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 28 June 2011 01:38 PM


As a resident of Baltimore City (The City that Breeds), this is all too crazy. I can hardly afford to buy anything in-state, because of the high taxes that businesses are already burdened with, the prices are high.

Shopping online is very helpful. But, once they begin taxing that, too, I will have to perform civil disobedience, and find away around their evil plans.

Posted by: Izzy at June 29, 2011 12:50 PM