Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Disscussing why States Prosper on Fox News Strategy Room

I always enjoy the opportunity to join the panel on FoxNews.com Strategy Room. This being the week of its first year anniversary of that program made it all the more special. On the show we covered many things, including why certain states prosper and why others do not. I knew exactly where the conversation was going when the Host, Eric Bolling started discussing the decline of Detroit and other historically industrialized cities and out of no where he started naming states (mainly in the South) that seem to be enjoying economic growth. He asked, "what do these have in common?' The answer was simple; they are Right to Work states.

Right to Work states allow employees to choose whether they join a union, while closed union shop states make union membership compulsory. How significant of an impact does such have an economy? A report by Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal and best selling author Arthur Laffer, published by the American Legislative Council, indicates that it is huge. The authors do a thorough investigation of why the ten richest states have prospered and why the ten poorest have struggled. The report covers ten years, 1997 to 2007.

The states that have enjoyed the most prosperity over the last decade, according to the study, are Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Virginia, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nevada, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas. On average, these ten states witnessed an 85.1% increase in the states' gross state product growth, an 87.9% increase in personal income growth, a 55.9% increase in personal income per capita growth, and a 20.4 percent increase in population growth.

On the opposite end of the economic spectrum you have Hawaii, Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New York. These unfortunate states have only seen a 59.3% increase in the states' gross state product growth, a 60.7% increase in personal income growth, a 52.3% increase in personal income per capita growth, and a mere 4.4 percent increase in population growth.

There are several similar characteristics between the rich and poor states in one area in particular, which is in the policies they pursue. For example, all but one of the winners are Right to Work states (Colorado). Meanwhile, all of the losers are under force unionism. When unions (and their higher benefits, wages, and other labor expenditures) are a fixed cost of doing business, those states are simply less attractive, which leads businesses to businesses moving to more business friendly states.

It doesn't stop with unions. The ten losers are noted for having excessively high taxes on businesses and high income earners. When these income earners feel such pressure, they know they cannot always "fight" the policies effectively, so they take "flight" to states that are friendlier to business and wealth creation. Furthermore, the losers are known for more excessive regulations than the winners, another cost in time and money in building a business. Finally, these losers often have crippling licensure laws that undermine entrepreneurship and economic activity. Laffer and Moore's study goes much further by examining several "principles" of effective taxation and shows huge disparity between the winners and losers. The bottom line is that some states create an environment that is more business friendly. As a result, those states enjoy lower unemployment and higher economic growth.

The results of the states that ignore the ability of businesses and the affluent to flee such policies have led to a huge decline in both prosperity and even population growth in the "loser" states. The study should be read by policy makers, business owners, and individuals who want to live in states of prosperity and not poverty.

Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on AM 650 (M-F at 11 am) in Houston, Texas and on AOL Radio. His articles often appear in Chicago Sun Times, Reuters, USA Today, and other national media. Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com. You can also find Price on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home