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WSJ: Kansas as No. 1 (leads the Pacific Research Institute's U.S. Economic Freedom Index)
Wall Street Journal ^ | November 24, 2004 | Editorial

Posted on 11/24/2004 4:57:51 AM PST by OESY

Retiring to the sofa after turkey dinner tomorrow, most Americans may feel they have little in common with the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock. But one defining feature of 17th-century Americans remains: We still migrate for freedom.

American mobility is legendary and the notion that it is driven by a desire for liberty is the basis for the methodology behind the Pacific Research Institute's U.S. Economic Freedom Index released last week. Kansas is America's freest state while New York -- home of the Statue of Liberty -- ranks at the bottom.

The Index uses five categories -- fiscal, regulatory, judicial, government size and welfare -- to measure and compare economic freedom in the 50 states. Among the variables are tax rates, state spending, occupation licensing, environmental regulations, income redistribution, right-to-work laws, minimum wage and tort law. Co-author Lawrence McQuillian writes that Kansas won the top spot "largely due to its respect for property rights: It engages in less income redistribution and attracts less tort litigation than most states."

Along with the Heritage Foundation, we publish a world-wide index that over the years has underscored the essential link between economic freedom and prosperity. And sure enough, the Pacific Research Institute study finds that a 10% improvement in a state's economic freedom score yields, on average, about a half-percent increase in annual per-capita income. If all states were as free as Kansas, the annual income of the average American worker would increase 4.42%, or $1,161. Over a 40-year period, that would add $87,541 to a lifetime income.

The Index highlights one of the great attributes of America that we can all be thankful for. States have to compete for their human capital and when they fail Americans can vote with their feet.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: California; US: Kansas; US: New York
KEYWORDS: environment; freedomindex; governmentsize; heritagefoundation; judicial; licensing; minimumwage; pacificresearch; redistribution; regulations; righttoworklaws; statespending; taxrates; tortlaw; welfare
U.S. ECONOMIC FREEDOM INDEX

Pacific Research Institute ranks the 50 States.

1. Kan. 11. Ariz. 21. Mont. 31. Wash. 41. Mass.

2. Colo. 12. Nev. 22. Fla. 32. W. Va. 42. N.J.

3. Va. 13. S.C. 23. Ark. 33. Alaska 43. Ohio

4. Idaho 14. Ind. 24. N.C. 34. Mich. 44. Minn.

5. Utah 15. S.D. 25. Ala 35. Hawaii 45. Penn.

6. Okla. 16. Iowa 26. Tenn 36. Vt. 46. Ill.

7. N.H. 17. Texas 27. Md. 37. N.M. 47. R.I.

8. Del. 18. N.D. 28. Miss. 38. Wisc. 48. Conn.

9. Wy. 19. Ga. 29. Ore. 39. Ky. 49. Calif.

10. Mo. 20. Neb. 30. Maine 40. La. 50. N.Y.

So much for the book by Thomas Frank "What's the Matter With Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (Metropolitan Books, 2004)

Perhaps it was tax rates, state spending, occupation licensing, environmental regulations, income redistribution, right-to-work laws, minimum wage and tort law.

1 posted on 11/24/2004 4:57:52 AM PST by OESY
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To: OESY

Darn straight (posting from Kansas)


2 posted on 11/24/2004 5:01:17 AM PST by RightMike
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To: OESY

3 posted on 11/24/2004 5:03:37 AM PST by Oldeconomybuyer (The democRATS are near the tipping point.)
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To: OESY

What's with NH being 7th and still being a blue state? I guess the NE liberals who have moved there have altered the voting status of that state but have not yet stifled the economic freedom. Probably just a matter of time.

Also, it surprises me greatly that Ohio is 43rd. That's very scary and hopefully not a harbinger of that state going to the dark (i.e. blue) side.


4 posted on 11/24/2004 5:08:57 AM PST by randita
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To: OESY

Let's see, 8 of 10 are red states. NH was only just blue and Del. is smaller than most counties in Texas. Sounds like a trend to me :-)


5 posted on 11/24/2004 5:09:59 AM PST by jmaroneps37 ( Frist/ Blackwell in 2008 for a landslide: you saw it here first.)
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To: OESY
Its interesting to note that of the bottom 10 states eight of them are blue states w/ only Ohio and Minn(?) counting as red. Both of those were near misses.

Here in PA we have fast eddie talking about raising gas taxes and Pitts. set to install onerous occupation taxes and wage taxes on those businesses and people too stupid not to have moved out already.

Frankly, I'm surprised PA is only ranked 45 and not 50. Give us a couple more years of fast eddie and we'll be there.

6 posted on 11/24/2004 5:16:15 AM PST by Pietro
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To: OESY
Among the variables are tax rates, state spending, occupation licensing, environmental regulations, income redistribution, right-to-work laws, minimum wage and tort law.

Blah, blah, blah, blah . . . .

Skip all that for a moment:

I'd like to know to what degree, if any, economic freedom correlates with population density.

7 posted on 11/24/2004 5:17:06 AM PST by Age of Reason
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To: OESY

And how it may correlate wih overall population of a state.


8 posted on 11/24/2004 5:19:09 AM PST by Age of Reason
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To: OESY

My random rants on the list:

1) Delaware is unusually high - I can't believe such an economically free state would vote consistently liberal Democrats nationally for presidents and senators. But then again Luxembourg is economically very free but politically it is enthusiastically in the weasels camp.

2) Montana is unuually low - I would have guessed all most great plains states and all Rocky mountain states to be economically the freest. Similarly Alaska should be in the top 10 by an uninformed guess.

3) There is not necessarily a positive correlation between economically free and votes going for Bush (eg New Hamphire and Delaware both went to Kerry, and Colorado, 2nd place, almost went to Kerry as well), but all the dead last 5 were Kerry states, and 9 out of the last 10 save Ohio.

4) I would never have guessed yeterday's-swing-to-moderate-Rep-that-have-turned-blue states like Connectitcut, Rhode Islands, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois would come among the last 10 in economic freedom. Does wealth necessarily create a class of rich leftists intent on squandering that wealth?


9 posted on 11/24/2004 5:20:24 AM PST by NZerFromHK (Disclaimer: this poster is a naturalized NZer born in Hong Kong, not a expat Kiwi in HK)
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To: Age of Reason

"I'd like to know to what degree, if any, economic freedom correlates with population density."

If by "population density", you mean stupid people who migrate to areas where the government is "handing out more goodies", I'd say there's an inverse relationship to economic freedom.


10 posted on 11/24/2004 5:22:31 AM PST by Common Sense 101
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To: randita

The truth is that the liberals who move to New Hampshire do so for the economic freedom, but in typical liberal fashion, they don't vote to extend those freedoms to anyone else. It is once again, freedom for me, but not for thee.


11 posted on 11/24/2004 5:27:21 AM PST by Eva
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To: Common Sense 101
If by "population density", you mean stupid people who migrate to areas where the government is "handing out more goodies", I'd say there's an inverse relationship to economic freedom.

One of us might be confusing cause with effect.

But maybe we can straighten that out by further asking to what degree has a state's economic freedom fallen or risen with an increase in its population and/or its population density.

12 posted on 11/24/2004 5:32:18 AM PST by Age of Reason
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To: Oldeconomybuyer

The Sunflower State shines.


13 posted on 11/24/2004 5:40:45 AM PST by xp38
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
Rock Chalk Jay Hawk!

Gosh I love Lawrence, but hate the great multitude of the unwashed....

I love KS but live in my native AR-Kansas now.

Two points...KS has not CCW law and does not allow Title II firearms (NFA)...so IMHO, Arkansas is more "free" because I can actually defend that freedom.

14 posted on 11/24/2004 5:51:54 AM PST by DCBryan1
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To: OESY

So howcum Kansans aren't the richest citizens per capita in the US?


15 posted on 11/24/2004 5:58:06 AM PST by Kerfuffle
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To: OESY

Frank has it all wrong. Conservatives didn't win the heart of America. The heart of America always was conservative until the libs came along. If Frank thinks that the average American wants Big Brother to take care of him cradle to grave, he better go back to sociology class and burn the Marxist books he read. Libs just can't understand why average Americans wouldn't rather have their lives run from Washington and live off government goodies. Their ignorance amazes me. No it doesn't.


16 posted on 11/24/2004 6:04:44 AM PST by driftless ( For life-long happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: OESY
And yet it remains one of 4 states (KS, IL, WI, NE) that do not issue concealed carry permits to citizens under any circumstances. (ref: packing.org).

Man does not live by bread alone.

17 posted on 11/24/2004 6:05:07 AM PST by white trash redneck (Make love, not war. Get married, do both.)
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To: Kerfuffle
So howcum Kansans aren't the richest citizens per capita in the US?

Cuz we don't need so high an income to pay all those taxes, that's why.

18 posted on 11/24/2004 6:07:21 AM PST by Drennan Whyte
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To: NZerFromHK

Delaware is a very low tax state. No sales tax, and very low corporate taxes to attract corporate headquaters (in many cases just "post office box" headquarters.) Been that way as long as I can remember.


19 posted on 11/24/2004 6:20:13 AM PST by Strategerist
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To: NZerFromHK

Rich leftists have no intention of sqandering their wealth. They want the rest of us to pick up the Welfare State tab. They want to help the less fortunate but with your money.


20 posted on 11/24/2004 6:29:18 AM PST by Big Digger (If you can keep your head when others are losing theirs, you must be a Republican)
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To: NZerFromHK

Delaware is one of the corporate capitals of the world. It is a huge corporate law and corporation headquarter center. And most of DE is red. Just the innner city Wilmington, and parts of it's suburbs are blue. Many corporations have full fledged headquarters here (MBNA/Dupont/Astrazenica) and many many more have small office headquarters here as well. Not to mention all the PO Boxes!!!! And due to all of that, most of the corporate law cases take place here as well.


21 posted on 11/24/2004 6:38:11 AM PST by College Repub
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To: randita
Also, it surprises me greatly that Ohio is 43rd.

Not all that surprising. We do elect Republicans, but most are RINOs. Both Governors Voinovich and Taft loved big spending and big taxes. Blackwell is the only real Republican with a spine in a statewide office.

Blackwell for Governor in '06.

22 posted on 11/24/2004 7:00:28 AM PST by KarlInOhio (In a just world, Arafat would have died at the end of a rope.)
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To: OESY

{{evil cackle}} Democrats to Kansas: "I'll get you, my pretty...{{evil cackle}}"

23 posted on 11/24/2004 7:05:04 AM PST by Libertarian444
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To: RightMike

Take Lawrence out of the equation and they really have something to write about.


24 posted on 11/24/2004 7:27:02 AM PST by Jack Bull
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To: OESY

Of the freest 26 states, only NH and DE went for kerry.

Of the 10 least free states, only Ohio went for Bush.


25 posted on 11/24/2004 8:31:15 AM PST by staytrue
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To: Vic3O3; cavtrooper21

Kansas as the freeest state out there? Did WSJ forget Governess Katy? And how about all the RINOs in the state house?

Semper Fi


26 posted on 11/24/2004 8:36:36 AM PST by dd5339 (A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path.)
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To: dd5339

Economically free? Yeah...that's why the vehicle property taxes are outrageous, and why "Uncle Ed" relocated y'all down to Texas...because the business climate was so great in Kansas!


27 posted on 11/24/2004 8:47:00 AM PST by Vic3O3 (Jeremiah 31:16-17 (KJV))
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To: DCBryan1; dd5339
Rock Chalk Jay Hawk! Gosh I love Lawrence, but hate the great multitude of the unwashed.... I love KS but live in my native AR-Kansas now. Two points...KS has not CCW law and does not allow Title II firearms (NFA)...so IMHO, Arkansas is more "free" because I can actually defend that freedom

OohRah! You said it Bryan! We're ex-pat Kansans, down here in the Big Free Lone Star State, now, and loving it!

28 posted on 11/24/2004 8:50:09 AM PST by Vic3O3 (Jeremiah 31:16-17 (KJV))
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To: Strategerist

Lived in Delaware 18 years and I can tell you it is not a low tax state. The corporate taxes are low and there is no sales tax except on cars, but the personal income tax is very high. When I moved to NJ I actually got a reduction in the total tax bill. Course since then NJ has doubled the income tax and Delaware has dropped theirs, but it is still high.

The state makes a lot of money from the corporate franchise tax which is due to the favorable law structure and long case history. Because of the small population this is a subsidy most corporations pay to the 800,000 citizens of the First State.

Too me Delaware is comparable in "freedom" to neighboring Maryland, and votes the same way. The measures used for freedom don't work in this case.


29 posted on 11/28/2004 9:11:31 AM PST by JeanLM ((beware the fury of a patient man))
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