Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Census numbers

So we are more then 308 million and our growth has been slower than in previous decennial reviews of population.  What is more interesting to me is the fact that most of the growth happened in places where there are low tax and less intrusive regulatory schemes.  Not surprisingly the least vigorous growth happened in places where taxes and regulations abound.  According to Michael Barone - "Seven of the nine states that do not levy an income tax grew faster than the national average. The other two, South Dakota and New Hampshire, had the fastest growth in their regions, the Midwest and New England.  Altogether, 35 percent of the nation's total population growth occurred in these nine non-taxing states, which accounted for just 19 percent of total population at the beginning of the decade."

Charles Tiebout wrote a key paper called the "Pure Theory of Local Expenditure" which argued that people vote with their feet by choosing environments (including tax and regulatory regimes) that suit their needs.   California, which in the last couple of decades has grown from a relatively low tax and low regulatory environment to a very high one had some of the most sluggish growth in the country - although not as bad as places in the Rust Belt.   

Gee, Tiebout was right.  All those whiners that decried the extension of lower tax rates at the federal level may need to reconsider their positions.  Even better they might re-think whether all those new regulations are going to make our country more viable or less.  

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