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Time for another edition of our long-running battle between the Lone Star State and the Golden State. Except it’s not really a battle since one side seems determined to lose. For instance, Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute often uses extensive tables filled with multiple variables when comparing high-performing states and low-performing states. But […]

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California is like France. Both are wonderful places to visit. They’re also great places to live if you’re part of the elite. But neither is the ideal option for ordinary people who want upward mobility. Back in 2016, I shared Census Bureau data showing that income was growing much faster for people in Texas, especially […]

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Just like with nations, there are many factors that determine whether a state is hindering or enabling economic growth. But I’m very drawn to one variable, which is whether there’s a state income tax. If the answer is no, then it’s quite likely that it will enjoy better-than-average economic performance (and if a state makes […]

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One of the great things about federalism, above and beyond the fact that it both constrains the power of governments and is faithful to the Constitution, is that is turns every state into an experiment. We can learn what works best (though the President seems incapable of learning the right lesson). We know, for instance, […]

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I’ve been pointing out the differences between California stagnation and Texas prosperity for quite some time. And since California voters approved a new 13.3 percent top tax rate last November, I expect the gap to become even wider. Simply stated, California is the France of America and Texas is the Cayman Islands of America. So […]

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Texas is in much better shape than California. Taxes are lower, in part because Texas has no state income tax. No wonder the Lone Star State is growing faster and creating more jobs. And the gap will soon get even wider since California voters recently decided to drive away more productive people by raising top […]

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I’ve already had a couple of blog posts commenting on how Texas is kicking California’s you-know-what. Being a fiscal policy person, I always point to California’s punitive state income tax as an example of bad policy and highlight the absence of any income tax in Texas to explain the success of that state. But sometimes […]

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Texas has a small state government and no state income tax. California has a bloated state government and a punitive state income tax. Here’s a simple quiz: Which state is doing better? The answer is obvious, as Michael Barone explains: Democratic majorities have obediently done the bidding of public employee unions to the point that […]

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From the perspective of lifestyle (factors such as climate, scenery, and recreational opportunities), there’s probably no better state in which to live than California. But if you want to be an entrepreneur, start a business, and create jobs, the Golden State is one of the worst places in America. I’ve already written about the state’s […]

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California is suffering a slow but steady decline. Bad economic policy has made the Golden State less attractive for entrepreneurs, investors, and business owners. Punitive tax laws deserve much of the blame, particularly the 2012 decision to impose a top tax rate of 13.3 percent. I’ve already shared some anecdotal evidence that this tax increase […]

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California is a lot like France. They’re both wonderful places to visit. And they’re both great places to live if you already have a lot of money. But neither jurisdiction is very friendly to people who want to get rich. And, thanks to tax competition, that’s having a meaningful impact on migration patterns. I’ve previously […]

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In 2016, here’s some of what I wrote about the economic outlook in Illinois. There’s a somewhat famous quote from Adam Smith (“there is a great deal of ruin in a nation“) about the ability of a country to survive and withstand lots of bad public policy. I’ve tried to get across the same point […]

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The right kind of tax reform can help people directly and indirectly. They benefit directly if reform reduces their tax burden and gives them more take-home income. They benefit indirectly if reform increases growth and leads to additional pre-tax income. For what it’s worth, I think the indirect impact is most important for family finances, […]

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I’m not a big fan of Donald Trump, mostly because I fear his populist instincts will deter him from policies that we need (such as entitlement reform) while luring him to support policies that are misguided (more federal transportation spending). But I admit it’s too early to tell. Maybe my policy predictions on Trump will […]

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I’m very happy that we don’t have a one-world government, but my views have nothing to do with conspiratorial fears involving blue helmets and black helicopters. Instead, I’m happy that there are lots of independent nations because that means lots of different approaches to public policy. And that means we have lots of real-life experiments […]

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There are no simple answers to Islamist terrorism, particularly when individual nutjobs are determined to kill a  bunch of innocent people. But I know that some answers to the problem are wrong. So when politicians like Hillary Clinton say we should have more gun control, I side with police chiefs who recognize that an armed […]

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Something doesn’t add up. People like me have been explaining that California is an example of policies to avoid. Depending on my mood, I’ll refer to the state as the France, Italy, or Greece of the United States. But folks on the left are making the opposite argument. A writer for the Huffington Post tells […]

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Long-run trends are an enormously important – yet greatly underappreciated – feature of public policy. Slight differences in growth can have enormous implications for a nation’s long-run prosperity. Gradual shifts in population trends may determine whether a nation faces demographic decline. Modest changes in the growth of government can make the difference between budgetary stability […]

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Here’s a quiz for readers. When politicians increase taxes, the result is: a) More spending? b) More red ink? c) Fewer jobs? d) Out-migration of productive taxpayers? e) Reduced competitiveness? f) Less investment? g) A bigger underground economy? h) More corruption? i) Less economic output? This is a trick question because the answer is (j), […]

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When writing about the Golden State, I generally focus on fiscal policy. After all, California is trying to become the France of America by imposing punitive tax rates and continuously expanding the burden of government spending. And since this leads to the loss of jobs and competitiveness, California offers a helpful reminder that bad policy […]

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Much of my writing is focused on the real-world impact of government policy, and this is why I repeatedly look at the relative economic performance of big government jurisdictions and small government jurisdictions. But I don’t just highlight differences between nations. Yes, it’s educational to look at North Korea vs. South Korea or Chile vs. […]

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It’s time to extinguish any lingering Christmas cheer. Today’s topic is over-bearing and tyrannical tax administration. To be more specific, we’re going to look at the extent to which taxpayers are mistreated during the process of collecting revenue. Yes, the amount that governments steal from you also is important, but that’s a topic we’ve already […]

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Maybe this means I’m not a nice person (notwithstanding my high score for tenderness in a recent test), but I can’t help but be happy when I read bad news about fiscal policy in high-tax welfare states. And because I’m a huge fan of tax competition, I get even happier when I find out that […]

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A regular feature of this blog used to be a “taxpayers vs bureaucrats” series, which featured outrageous examples of government employees getting wildly overcompensated. I even narrated a video on the topic of excessive pay and benefits for bureaucrats. But I stopped the series because it was too depressing. How often can read stories like […]

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Like most people, I’m a sucker for a heartwarming story around the holidays. Sometimes, you get that nice feeling when good things happen to good people, like you find at the end of a classic movie like “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But since I’m a bit of a curmudgeon, I also feel all warm and […]

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There’s a lot to like about Texas. The state has no income tax, for instance, which we know is a good recipe for faster growth and more prosperity. That’s one of the reasons why the Lone Star State kicks the you-know-what out of California in the battle to attract jobs and investment. But Texans also […]

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I periodically mock the crazy statists of California. The state is almost surely doomed to suffer a Greek-style fiscal chaos. The only unknown is whether Illinois will beat the Golden State into default. The politicians in Sacramento impose very high taxes to fund a bloated bureaucracy that oversees a bunch of politically correct nonsense. But […]

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I’ve commented before about entrepreneurs, investors, and small business owners migrating from high tax states such as California to low-tax states such as Texas and nobody gets upset. Indeed, I just appeared on Fox Business Network to talk about a new study showing an exodus from Maryland following the imposition of some class warfare tax […]

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Even though Chuck Asay is one of my favorite cartoonists (see here, here, here, here, and here), I was not a big fan of one of his recent two-frame cartoons. But he has more than made up for that slight transgression with this new gem. I’m biased, of course, since I’ve already written about California being the Greece of […]

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President Obama’s fiscal policy is a dismal mixture. On spending, he wants a European-style welfare state. On taxes, he is fixated on class-warfare tax policy. If we want to know the consequences of that approach, we can look at the ongoing collapse of Greece. Or, if we don’t like overseas examples, we can look at […]

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