Taxes & Human Behavior: A Lesson in Logic for Liberals
I came across a few lessons in taxation today. The links I’m writing about would appear to underscore the obvious and it still boggles my mind the folks on the left often can’t or refuse to grasp the logical. The first comes from Stephen Moore writing at Washington Times right here. Check out the chart which details the population erosion in blue state America. Contrast that with the startling growth figures for the red states on the very same chart. None of this should be a shock. If I can get the same bacon and eggs at both restaurant A and restaurant B but A charges double what I’d pay at B then where am I going to eat? You might choose A for the ambience once a year but mostly you’re eating at B.
When I lived in Delaware I was eight miles from the Lower Shore of Maryland. When Maryland’s then Governor, a guy named Martin O’Malley, endorsed what was called a millionaires tax. A couple of years after passage and the uber-liberal Baltimore Sun struggled to find an answer as you can see by checking this ancient link. O’Malley left his state in a shambles when he stepped down as Governor in January. His reward is a giddy reaction from his fellow travelers, many of whom now want him to be President.
I’m a native of Western New York State and of the 4 states I’ve called home in my life only number four is a red state (it currently has the fifth fastest growing state economy in the country and it doesn’t rely on mineral wealth). When I was born in the early 1960s the Empire State as it’s still called was the most populous in the country. By 1970 it was number two and since has been surpassed by numerous other contenders. New York shows one of the worst population losses of recent years on Stephen Moore’s chart. Buffalo, which was the nearest major city when I was a kid, now resembles Detroit. It’s an empty and decrepit shell. It was the country’s 8th largest city in 1900, home to one-half million in 1950 and now you might find a couple of hundred thousand poor souls remaining who’ve nowhere else to go. With the property and income tax bases long off to sunnier climes the leftists running New York State government now prey on the people they claim need the most help. Writing at the Wall Street Journal a fellow named Patrick M. Gleason is tracking the impact of cigarette taxes, which hammer the poorest. Gleason’s column is available here and it details the untaxed and black market cigarette trade in New York. The figure for outlawed cigarettes sold is approaching two-thirds of all smokes sales. It can be blamed for the death last year of a Staten Island man who died as police were arresting him. It also may account for the long lines at Indian Reservations. When I was working as a broadcaster in Syracuse in the state’s Eastern Finger Lakes Region the exit for the Onondaga Nation off Interstate 81 just south of the city was often a backed-up mess. The indigenous people’s smoke shops were so busy drive through windows were eventually installed. Nicotine addicts will often buy multiple cartons at a time and often pick up several more for friends.
Technically it’s illegal in New York to leave the reservations with more than a couple of packs. You could face smuggling charges if police find you with a carton on the passenger seat. I say technically because state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and local police want none of it and simply don’t have the resources to seize the neighborhood “smugglers” and illegal cigarettes. The Wall Street Journal piece explains the overwhelming number of states with high tobacco taxes have actually seen declines well below the revenue projections used to justify the increases.
The liberal reaction is either to deny reality or insist on even more policing. The road to totalitarianism is paved with leftist intentions.