Sunday, December 31, 2017

When Is Government Big Enough?

Ask your local statist. Unless his answer is "never", he is not being honest. Statism is the public policy practice of an ideology with many names: socialism, social democracy, liberalism, progressivism... All those labels have one common denominator, namely the unrelenting pursuit of economic redistribution. 

Also known as "egalitarianism".

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Paid Leave: Egalitarianism on the Right

My latest essay on Larson's Political Economy criticizes the rising support for egalitarianism and the welfare state among America's conservative elite:

Friday, December 29, 2017

People Still Move Away from Higher Taxes

The latest migration data, putting Wyoming dead last with the largest net loss of population, is yet another wake-up call for all the tax hikers around our state. They have not even had their Taxmageddon package enacted, and we are still hemorrhaging workers and taxpayers. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

School Recalibration Report: A First Glance

On December 15, the consulting firm Augenblick, Palaich and Associates delivered a draft of their school-funding recalibration report. It is a 500-plus page document, which no doubt has required quite a bit of work on behalf of the consultants.

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Elephant in the Air over Wyoming

Welcome back! To jumpstart our journey into the legislative session, here is a video on Governor Mead's signature project, ENDOW. ENJOY!

Monday, December 18, 2017

New Normal in County Business Data

Last week I reported on a slight improvement in the job market in Wyoming, but I also pointed out that it was combined with a negative trend in wages. Today, we are going to take a look at more county-level data and what it means for the near-term future of our state's economy.

To begin with, during the economic decline our state has seen a notable decline in private-sector business establishments.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Infringements on Property Rights

My latest essay on Larson's Political Economy takes a look at the Teavana and Colorado baker cases, and what they mean for the concept of property rights:

Friday, December 15, 2017

Poverty in Wyoming on the Rise

I never thought the day would come when New York has a fiscally more intelligent governor than Wyoming. Yet here we are. While Governor Mead is pushing as hard as he can for his "economic development" ENDOW program, Governor Cuomo of New York is exhibiting some fiscally conservative character traits. Explains the Times Union out of Albany, NY:

Thursday, December 14, 2017

WyoFlot Still Ready for Take Off

The upcoming legislative session is already packed with fiscally dangerous ideas, most of which is in the $475 million pile of tax hikes. On top of those hikes is the ENDOW report, which is now coming down to the wire.

Since Governor Mead seems to have decided to make ENDOW the crown jewel of his gubernatorial tenure, it is not very surprising that his crew, working on the report, is pushing hard to give Mead a product that can sail through the legislature. Unfortunately, they are still heavily invested in WyoFlot, one of the most irresponsible ideas for spending taxpayer money I have seen in a long time.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tax Reform Won't Make Dent in Deficit

As I have explained before, the tax reform that Congressional Republicans are working on is designed to secure as much tax revenue as possible, while still cutting taxes. In my latest piece for the American Institute for Economic Research I explain that this reform will make no real difference to our government's deficit problem:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

County Data: Jobs Better, Wages Weaker

New county-level jobs and earnings numbers are in. The results are encouraging and disappointing - but even more so: predictable. 

Let us start with the encouraging part. In my last county-level labor market analysis, I noted that in the first-quarter private sector jobs numbers, only four counties saw growth in private-sector employment. For the second quarter, six counties climb into the job-growth bracket compared to the same quarter last year:

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Coordinated Effort To Raise Taxes

Despite mounting resistance from taxpayers, our statist politicians continue to push for their tax hikes. The latest example is a devious proposition from Campbell County Commission chairman Rusty Bell - and he is kind enough to draw our attention to a coordinated effort between state and local lawmakers to raise more than just our state taxes. 

Before we get to it, a quick piece of information that provides a good background. We all know that government produces essential services that we need for a functioning, orderly society and a strong economy. Those services are: 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

WyoFlot Q and A

With reference to the ENDOW plan's idea for a de facto state-run airline, an anonymous reader commented:

Taxes, Income and Growth

My latest on Larson's Political Economy offers some comments on the macroeconomic prospects of Trump's tax reform:

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Plan to Save Wyoming

I have said it before, and I will say it again: this upcoming legislative session is a do-or-die moment for Wyoming. 

As 2018 approaches with frightening speed, let us take inventory and see where we are at today. Here is a quick rundown of our economic problems, our political hurdles and some of the solutions that can bring us back on track to prosperity and growth.

Economic problems

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Statist Rhetoric and How to Respond

The fight against Taxmageddon is making progress. The Revenue Committee has now, twice, postponed votes on their tax monstrosity. Their latest approach is to piecemeal it through, hoping to fly under taxpayers' radar.

Assorted statists provide increasingly aggressive support for these tax hikes. They use all kinds of arguments about how government is not growing, government has been starved and cut to the bones, and so on. As we approach the 2018 session - one of the most important in our state's recent history - the debate over the size of government is only going to intensify.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tax Reform Entrenches the Welfare State

In my latest article for the American Institute for Economic Research, I explain how the GOP tax reform is the first of its kind - and not in a way that will make conservatives happy:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Mary Throne Puts on her Spending Pants

While the governor, the Appropriations Committee and the tax hikers in the Revenue Committee are busy pulling more spending and truck loads of higher taxes through December and into the legislative session, gubernatorial hopeful Mary Throne has taken the opportunity to sharpen her candidate profile. 

This is no coincidence. Next year's election is going to be an election over taxes, spending and the very economic future of our state. Throne, savvy as she is, knows which way the wind is blowing and wants to establish herself on that arena.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Half A Billion Dollars in Higher Taxes


This is it. This is do or die for the Wyoming economy. As we speak, the Joint Revenue Committee is meeting here in Cheyenne, with tax increases on their agenda that, if they all go through, will raise our taxes by $477 million. 

This is only the beginning. As a member of the legislature explained in a comment on the open Facebook group Wyoming Prosperity, the number discussed among legislators is $700 million. (If you haven't joined Wyoming Prosperity yet, please do so. We are going to need this group now more than ever.)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Who Needs Democrats in Wyoming...

...when we have Republicans who tax and spend like drunken liberals?

I hope you are sitting down for this. If you have an allergy to tax hikes, please stop reading right here, because what I am about to tell you is even worse than I predicted. I never thought they would go this far, so - yes - I was wrong.  But only on the magnitude of the tax madness we are dealing with.

We'll get to it in a moment. First, the bigger picture. In the Governor's mansion, Matthew Hansen Mead is trying to spend more our money as fast as he can.

GOP's Trojan Horse for the Welfare State

My latest for the American Institute for Economic Research:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Ideological Introspection from Left to Right

Here is my latest essay on Larson's Political Economy:

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Governor's Budget: A First Glance

Yes, it is that time of the year again! Governor Mead has released his budget. 

We are going to get many opportunities to look at it, from all sorts of angles. For now, a first impression: Governor Mead is not living in the same state as we are. His attitudes toward the state budget, and toward the Wyoming economy, have nothing in common with the reality that families, small business owners and taxpayers experience around the state.