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An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States
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A passionate, detailed, quantified argument for state-level tax reform An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States explains why eliminating or lowering tax burdens at the state level leads to economic growth and wealth creation. A passionate argument for tax reform, the book shows that even states with small populations can benefit enormously with the right policies. The authors detailed exposition evaluates the impact state and local government policies have on a state s relative performance and economic growth overall, backed up with economic data and analysis. Facts don t lie. But they do point clearly to the failure of so-called progressive tax schemes designed more to curry favor with selected constituencies than to create an economic system that leads to individual wealth as the reward for hard work and entrepreneurial risk taking. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States is a detailed and critical look at income taxation across the nation, and drills down into an analysis of the economic growth or malaise that results from tax policy. Arguing eloquently that a state cannot tax itself into prosperity, just as the impoverished cannot spend themselves into wealth, the authors point out what many inherently know but often fear to say out loud. The book provides detailed quantitative analysis, and discusses the policy variables that can have enormous effects on the financial well-being of states and individual residents, such as: * Personal and corporate income tax rates * Total tax burden as a percentage of personal income * Estate and inheritance taxes * Right-to-work laws An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States shows everyone how to evaluate state-level fiscal and economic policies to become more competitive.
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Table of Contents

Prologue xiii Chapter 1 The Fall from Grace: The Story of States 11 and the Income Tax Adopted 1 The Implementation of an Income Tax A Terrible Mistake 1 That Giant Sucking Sound Is People, Output, and Tax Revenue Fleeing Income Taxes 4 Economic Malaise 4 Misleading Measures 5 Ohio 7 The Story of New Jersey A Colorful Example of Opportunity Wasted 10 Lower Tax Revenue 10 The Rhetoric Surrounding Tax Revenue and the Decline in Public Services 11 The Case of the Disappearing Tax Revenue 12 Connecticut 13 No Bang for the Buck How Costly Tax Increases Fail to Result in Better Provision of Public Services 16 Chapter 2 Economic Metrics 23 Primary Economic Metrics 24 Tax Revenue Performance of All States over the Past Decade 32 The ALEC-Laffer State Rankings 37 Internal Revenue Service Tax Migration Data 39 Chapter 3 The Nine Members of the Fellowship of the Ring to Balance Out the Nine Nazgul 53 An Analysis of the Top Personal Income Tax (PIT) Rates 56 Public Services and the Personal Income Tax 61 The Effects of Oil and Severance Taxes 63 A Longer-Term View of the Data 67 An Analysis of Corporate Income Taxes 69 An Analysis of the Overall Tax Burden 73 An Analysis of the ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index 76 Chapter 4 Piling On 81 An Analysis of the Property Tax Burden 82 An Analysis of the Sales Tax Burden 82 Estate and Inheritance Taxes 88 Right-to-Work Laws 90 Labor Force Unionization 93 State Minimum Wages 96 Chapter 5 Give unto Caesar 99 New Hampshire Case in Point 104 Top Traders 121 Real-Time Mobility Index 127 Chapter 6 Why Growth Rates Differ: An Econometric Analysis of the Data 133 List of Variables 137 Gross State Product Growth: Single-Variable Analysis 141 Gross State Product Growth: Two-Variable Analysis 146 Gross State Product Growth: Three-Variable Analysis 149 Population Growth: Single-Variable Analysis 150 Population Growth: Two-Variable Analysis 153 Population Growth: Three-Variable Analysis 156 Population Growth: Four-Variable Analysis 157 Conclusions 158 Annotated Econometric Bibliography 159 Key Quotes from Econometric Bibliography 186 Chapter 7 Fiscal Parasitic Leakages: Texas versus California 193 A Tale of Two States A 55-Point Summary 194 The November 2012 Elections in California and Texas 199 Economic Performance: California, Texas, and the United States 201 A Brief Note on Poverty Metrics 207 The Texas Oil Boom and California s Oil Bust: A Clash of Economic Cultures 208 An Overview of Total State and Local Government Revenues Texas and California 212 Texas, California, and the United States: A Comparison of Tax Revenue and Debt Financing 213 Policy Variables Affecting Growth 218 The Relationship among Taxation, Spending, and the Achievement of Policy Objectives A Story of Parasitic Leakages 224 Intergovernmental Revenues, Federally Mandated Social Services, and State Welfare, Medicaid, and Food Stamp Programs 225 The Provision of Public Services by State and Local Governments 229 The Performance of State and Local Public Education 235 Highways: California versus Texas 239 Prisons: California and Texas 241 Conclusion 242 Chapter 8 Au Contraire, Mon Frere: Criticisms of Our Work Our Responses 245 Conflicts of Interest and Policies 245 Taxes and Other Supply-Side Policy Variables Don t Affect Population and Gross State Product Growth 247 Growth Is a Move from North to South, from Clouds to Sunshine, from Cold to Warm 251 Growth Is Predominantly a Matter of Education and Not Taxes and Other Economic Policy Measures 252 Personal Income per Capita and Median Income Growth as Measures of Success Show Taxes Don t Matter 253 Tax Rate Cuts Are Public Service Cuts 257 Other Factors Affect Population Growth (Oil, Sunshine, Accessible Suburbs, Etc.), and Therefore Taxes, Right-to-Work Laws, and Other Supply-Side Variables Don t 259 Correlations between Tax Rates and Growth Reflect a Simultaneous Equation Bias (Reverse Causation); That Is, Growth Causes Tax Cuts, Not the Reverse 261 There Are High-Tax States That Outperform Low-Tax States; Therefore the Supply-Side Theory Is Wrong 264 The Oklahoma Argument against Tax Cuts 267 Income Distribution Becomes More Even with Progressive High-Rate Tax Codes 270 The Probity of the ALEC-Laffer Measures Is Nonexistent; Therefore Their Policy Prescriptions Are Wrong 273 Federal Tax Rates Are More Important Than State Tax Rates, and Therefore State Tax Rates Don t Matter 275 The Wealthy Used Public Resources, and They Not Others Should Pay for Those Public Resources; We Need More Progressive Taxes, Not Less 276 When Is Enough Evidence Enough? If the Facts Were Reversed, We Would Concede 277 Notes 281 Bibliography 295 Acknowledgments 317 About the Authors 319 Index 321

About the Author

ARTHUR B. LAFFER, PhD, is the founder and chairman of Laffer Associates, an economic research firm focusing on interconnecting macroeconomic, political, and demographic changes. STEPHEN MOORE is chief economist at The Heritage Foundation. He focuses on budget, tax, and monetary policy. REX A. SINQUEFIELD was a co-founder and director of Dimensional Fund Advisors LP. Since retirement, he has become one of Missouri's leading philanthropists and a dedicated supporter of public policy change. TRAVIS H. BROWN is the CEO and co-founder of Pelopidas, LLC, a public affairs and issue-advocacy firm. He frequently contributes to Fox & Friends and Forbes.com and is the author of How Money Walks .

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