Tuesday, March 03, 2009

At least we're not facing relegation

We argue around here about the extent to which Wisconsin is a "tax hell" or has a bad business climate. Each side marshalls the facts that support its position. Our tax burden is extremely high, but our spending levels are closer to average. Part of that is that we tend not to employ users fees. On the other hand, the spending numbers have to be read in light of our low levels of federal aid and below average state income and so on.

William Ruger and Jason Sorens at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University have developed indices of what personal and economic freedom and compared all 50 states. Ihe economic index is, of course, value driven. They are looking for low taxes and spending, less regulation and a greater degree of local control over resources. They prefer user fees to taxes.

On this measure, Wisconsin does poorly. It is 42nd in fiscal policy, 35th in overall economic freedom and 37th in the overall freedom ranking.

Of course, folks with a different ideology would construct different indices and they would be fascinating to see. But the Mercatus work tends to support the traditional conservative critique of Wisconsin as a high tax and high regulation state.

The most free state in the union, according to Mercatus, is New Hampshire, all in keeping with Granite State license plates (Live Free of Die!").

The least free? New York.

H/T: Jonathan Adler

Cross posted at Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog.


Anonymous said...

This survey says much more about the authors than it does about freedom in the various states. They view cigarette taxes, gun control, and smoking bans as major infringements on liberty, while they give no weight to the freedom of a same-sex couple to marry, a cancer patient to buy medicinal marijuana, or a woman to terminate a pregnancy. None whatsoever. And they think government spending on education is a really bad thing.

No wonder Alabama and Mississippi come out better than Wisconsin does.

Dad29 said...

Well, that settles it, and thanks to Anony for the tip:

Sweet Home, Alabama!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, DaddyZero, does living in freaking ALABAMA sound preferable to you? Have you ever been there? The bride and I spent a month there one weekend. Yuck!

Anonymous said...

We'll have to wait and see if the Perfesser and Daddio abstain from using technology during the Lenten season, as proscribed by their leaders in Rome. Dad's worldview jibes nicely with antebellum Alabama, where the menfolk strut around with pitchforks and blather about how the End is Near.

Clutch said...

Ruger and Sorens reveal the most free and least free states in roughly the same sense that Olbermann reveals the worst person in the world.

Viz., it is bullshit -- yet eagerly consumed by many. Just one more entry in RE's ongoing record of taurocoprophagia.

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Anonymous said...

Clutch, that is a great word. "taurocoprophagia" What does it mean?

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