Thursday, May 31, 2018

What Are the Core Functions of Government?

I try not to discuss individual candidates for office, except when it comes to governor, and in that case it is because of the significance of the executive branch itself. This blog is not about individual candidates, but about how to turn the ideals of economic and individual freedom into practical policy solutions.

I am going to make an exception of sorts today, but the exception is directly related to the purpose of this blog. According to KGAB,

A Concorde for WyoFlot

KGAB reports that WyoFlot is flying again:
The Cheyenne City Council on Monday night approved spending up to $600,000 to support safe and reliable commercial passenger air service at the Cheyenne Regional Airport. Cheyenne has been without an air carrier since late March, when Great Lakes Airlines announced it was shutting down operations. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Sam Galeotos: Get Your Facts Straight!

Gubernatorial candidate Sam Galeotos has earned a lot of respect and support, including an endorsement from Cynthia Lummis. My understanding is that many in the community of larger businesses in Wyoming support him. That is perfectly expectable: when you look at his credentials, he comes across as a strong candidate with the right qualifications to lead Wyoming back to prosperity. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A European Lesson for Wyoming

Back in the States again from a ten-day trip to Europe. After some family-related matters in Sweden and a quick stop at my alma mater in Denmark, I enjoyed many free-speed miles on the Autobahn before I attended an economics conference in Amsterdam. 

The conference was actually better than I expected, especially because I learned things that we can apply here in Wyoming. One of the papers discussed was on private infrastructure funding, something we could definitely benefit from here. Hope to have more on that soon.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Another Report on the Wyoming Economy

I hear ever so often that Wyoming is a low-tax state, with all sorts of comments about how we pay only three grand per year but get $30,000 worth of government services back (a ridiculous notion that I have resoundingly refuted here, and here again). We hear references to the Tax Foundation's annual ranking of states by business tax climate, a publication that raises Wyoming to the skies but has practically no relation to the real world whatsoever.

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Left, The Wrong and The Right

Two weeks ago I expressed my worries that our fiscal conservatives are not going to step up to the plate and deliver on spending cuts - permanent, structural cuts that change the trajectory of government spending and fix the budget deficit, all at the same time. Since then I have pointed to the need for stronger commitment on spending reform from our gubernatorial candidates, a move that would definitely help bring our legislators closer to good reforms.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Where Are the Candidates on Spending Cuts?

The tax issue is going to stay on top of this election cycle, and with it, the question of government spending. As I asked yesterday,
Instead of looking for new, permanent, structural tax increases, when is the Wyoming State Legislature going to task one of its committees with looking for new, permanent, structural spending cuts?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Cities, Counties Want More of Your Money

The Wyoming Association of Municipalities has renewed its lobbying for higher local taxes. On May 22, KGAB reported:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Socio-Economic Profile of Wyoming: Update

For the record, I have not abandoned my socio-economic profile work. The next step requires some deeper research that I just don't have time for right now. I have a bigger report planned and I am preparing as time allows. Please be patient. Thanks.

Election 2018: Rex Rammell

On Sunday I explained how Rex Rammell, the Constitution Party candidate for governor, could edge out the Republican candidate and be Mary Throne's foremost opponent in November. This scenario rests on two premises, one of which I mentioned on Sunday: that the Republican party elects a candidate in the August primary who is soft on taxes. Since Rammell has signed The Tax Pledge, under this scenario he will attract fiscally conservative voters in large numbers.

There is just one more premise that needs to be fulfilled for Rammell to rise past a tax-soft GOP candidate: that Rammell comes across as a true conservative candidate. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Another Tedious Rant for Socialized Medicine

The American Conservative apparently thought it was a really good idea to publish an ill-informed flow of babble on why we need socialized medicine in America, penned by a lawyer who has written a book about Chelsea Brad Manning. Here is my response:

Sunday, May 20, 2018

How Rex Rammell could win in November

A big thank you to M Lee Hasenauer, whose town hall meeting in Cheyenne on Saturday scored Tax Pledge signatures from two more gubernatorial candidates. He reports that Bill Dahlin and Rex Rammell both signed the pledge at the meeting.

Well done, M Lee! Let us see what Sam Galeotos and Mark Gordon are going to do. I have been told by Galeotos staffers that he is opposed to higher taxes, and Gordon has indicated interest in the pledge.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Socio-Economic Profile of Wyoming, Part 3

Yesterday we saw how the middle class is moving away from many parts of Wyoming. Today we are going to take a look at the flip side of that trend, namely the dependency rate on public assistance. I introduced that rate on Monday, calculating it based on the reported number of households who get Supplemental Security Income, public cash assistance and food stamps. This is a limited set of welfare, but it provides a good picture of how dependent households are on these programs.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Socio-Economic Profile of Wyoming, Part 2

Today's installment in the socio-economic profile of Wyoming concentrates on income distribution. To be clear, this is not to discuss economic inequality - a debatable term in itself - but to show a change in the ability of communities around the state to support themselves. This, in turn, is an important issue because it helps us understand consequences of various ideas for changes in taxes and government spending.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Socio-Economic Profile of Wyoming, Part 1

Remember the first ENDOW report? It claimed to present a socio-economic profile of Wyoming. It did not amount to much - you can read it here and my response in part 1, part 2 and part 3 - but it has been used profusely by tax-and-spenders to advocate more economic development spending.

Since the ideas in the ENDOW package are still alive, it might be a good idea for us fiscal conservatives to provide our own socio-economic assessment of our state. Let us start today with some basic facts and figures about living conditions around Wyoming. 

To begin with, all the numbers we look at today are at the county level, almost always covering all Wyoming counties. Today we are only looking at 2016 data, but we will stretch it out in time as we move forward. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

School Choice, IT and Wyoming's Future

Last Monday I outlined the basic idea behind a school-choice model here in Wyoming. The one new ingredient that I introduced compared to previous school-choice models is an emphasis on IT education all the way through K-12. 

Today, let us put some more meat on those bones. 

There are three important reasons to advance a school-choice model with an IT profile:

Friday, May 11, 2018

Will Wyoming Evict Medicaid Patients?

My call to action yesterday, asking our elected fiscal conservatives to go on the political offense, got some well needed attention. Wyoming cannot wait anymore. Without decisive action on the spending side of the state budget, we are steaming straight into the abyss of fiscal panic.

I was going to line up some examples of what this means, but a reader (thank you!) sent a link to an article from The American Spectator about the fiscal crisis in Louisiana. It actually serves as a perfect example of what happens when political invertebrates combine fiscal sloppiness with legislative inertia. Explains the Spectator:

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Federal Reserve Confirms My Analysis

I have a lot more to say about school choice, a topic I will get back to on Monday. In the meantime, I have good news: the Federal Reserve confirms my analysis of the Wyoming economy. 

As I have explained in the last couple of days, the Trump economy has given us a little bit of economic margins. The minerals industry is experiencing a rebound, though it is still far below where it was a few years ago. Meanwhile, the rest of the private sector is basically at a standstill.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The State of the Wyoming Economy

Yesterday I explained:
On April 27, the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group released its revenue update for the first quarter of 2018. The report was a source of joy to some, and will most likely embolden the tax-and-spenders in the legislature. That would be bad, of course. The state budget is still in the red, and the trend is still one of growing deficits, not shrinking ones. Furthermore, for three reasons the bump in revenue is of such a weak quality that the most prudent approach for our legislators would be to ignore it and continue as if the deficit is still growing (which, again, it is). 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Don't Misread Latest CREG Report

On April 27, the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group released its revenue update for the first quarter of 2018. The report was a source of joy to some, and will most likely embolden the tax-and-spenders in the legislature. 

That would be bad, of course. The state budget is still in the red, and the trend is still one of growing deficits, not shrinking ones. Furthermore, for three reasons the bump in revenue is of such a weak quality that the most prudent approach for our legislators would be to ignore it and continue as if the deficit is still growing (which, again, it is). 

School Choice and Fiscal Conservatism