With the sheer magnitude of WPRI’s worldwide influence, it’s difficult to imagine there are other state think tanks out there. But it’s true – each state has their own free market think tank pursuing liberty for their state’s citizens.
Needless to say, the recent slate of tax increases in Illinois has the folks at the Illinois Policy Institute apoplectic. They have the issue covered from beginning to end, and have done a great job raising public awareness of the damaging effects of the tax hike. (Although, admittedly, the tax hike in Illinois could be great news for Wisconsin, as businesses flee north to God’s Country.)
Check out their site here.
My latest column is up over at the WPRI website. It discusses what lessons the markets can learn from baseball card collectors. An excerpt:
I suppose it could be argued that everything I know about markets and economics came from baseball card collecting. At age 14, I had a massive collection, complete with card value spreadsheets and the like. My card trading negotiations with my friends likely resembled the Iranian hostage negotiations. They often dragged on for days, and involved insults, flattery, and every other negotiating tactic one can invoke. Thank God I hadn’t heard of waterboarding.
I bought Mike Greenwell rookie cards in the way Warren Buffett snatches up undervalued stocks. I tucked them all away, waiting for them to appreciate in value, as they almost certainly had to. When I finally took a class in college on investing in stocks, I just said “ooooh, it’s just like baseball cards.” Only a little less cutthroat.
Read it here.
The Illinois Policy Institute comes up with their “10 Ways Government Hurts the Poor:”
1. Minimum Wage If you charge more for something, you sell less of it. Labor is no different than any other commodity for sale. As economist Walter Williams says, “If higher minimum wages could cure poverty, we could easily end worldwide poverty simply by telling poor nations to legislate higher minimum wages.” A higher minimum wage means fewer jobs and makes it more difficult for people to start a small business. If you tell me you’ll pay me X dollars an hour to do a job, and I say, “That’s fine,” why shouldn’t I be allowed to do so? Why not just declare that everyone has to earn at least $100,000 a year? The answer is no different at $100,000 than it is at $15,000. It is just a matter of scale.
2. Taxes Business taxes are built into a product at a number of levels along the production and distribution chain, and then sales tax is added at the end. An ever-increasing government can appear to fund its growth by “taxing the rich” and to make business “pay their fair share,” but low income consumers pay a higher percentage of their total income in taxes. All products and services include taxes even when it is not obvious. For instance, rent contains property tax. Gasoline is highly taxed, but the actual tax rate is not listed at the pump.