Skip to comments.WSJ: Kansas as No. 1 (leads the Pacific Research Institute's U.S. Economic Freedom Index)
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 ...
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.
Darn straight (posting from Kansas)
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.
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 :-)
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.
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.
And how it may correlate wih overall population of a state.
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?
"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.
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.
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.
The Sunflower State shines.
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.
So howcum Kansans aren't the richest citizens per capita in the US?
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.
Man does not live by bread alone.
Cuz we don't need so high an income to pay all those taxes, that's why.
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.
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.