What I'm not saying is that all government spending is bad. It's not - far, far from it, but there is no free lunch, as a former colleague of mine used to say. There is no public tooth fairy. Father Christmas does not work on the Treasury staff this year. You can never bail someone out of trouble without putting someone else into trouble.
I think the inflation prospects for the U.S. over the next five or six, seven years, are quite serious. You cannot have a bumper crop in apples without the value or the price of each apple falling. The Fed has had the largest increase in the monetary base in the history of the U.S., from colonial times to the present, times ten.
If you look at the performance of the zero-income-tax-rate states and the highest-income-tax-rate states, I believe a large amount of their difference is due to taxes. Not only is it true of the last decade, but I took these numbers back 50 years. And, there's not one year in the last 50 where the zero-income-tax-rate states have not outperformed the highest-income-tax-rate states.
There are 11 states in the United States that in the last 50 years instituted an income tax. So I looked at each of those 11 states over the last 50 years, and I took their current economic metrics and their metrics for the five years before they put in the progressive income tax. Every single state that introduced a progressive income tax has declined as an overall share of the U.S. economy.
Let me just try to give you sort of the intuitive one here on the stimulus funds. If you have a two-person economy - let's imagine we have two farms, and that's the whole world, just two farms. If one of those farmers gets unemployment benefits, who do you think pays for him? Am I going way over your heads today?
Let's take the nine states that have no income tax and compare them with the nine states with the highest income tax rates in the nation. If you look at the economic metrics over the last decade for both groups, the zero-income-tax-rate states outperform the highest-income-tax-rate states by a fairly sizable amount.
There are several states that move from Karl Marx-like policies to Adam Smith-like policies and back again in a weekend. So for the states with huge volatility in their income tax policies over time, the differences in growth rates in those periods are really amazingly consistent with tax rates really mattering.
Because tax cuts create an incentive to increase output, employment, and production, they also help balance the budget by reducing means-tested government expenditures. A faster-growing economy means lower unemployment and higher incomes, resulting in reduced unemployment benefits and other social welfare programs.
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In 1994, Estonia became the first European country to adopt a flat tax, and its 26 percent flat tax dramatically energized what had been a faltering economy. Before adopting the flat tax, the Estonian economy was literally shrinking. In the eight years after 1994, Estonia experienced real economic growth - averaging 5.2 percent per year.
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California is the highest-tax state in the nation and has been for a long time. It has the highest-paid teachers in the nation, by far - $400 a month more than New Jersey - and yet California is the third lowest state on test scores for fourth and eighth grade English and math in the nation, and has been at the low level for a long, long time.
Sometimes, tax rate increases create the very problems that the spending is intended to cure. In other words, the tax rate increases reduce economic growth; they shrink the pie; they cause more poverty, more despair, more unemployment, which are all things government is trying to alleviate with spending.
What we're talking about is the price of goods, all goods, in terms of money. That has nothing to do with unemployment, except for the fact that you get fewer goods. And when you have more money and fewer goods, the amount of dollars per good goes up. It goes up because there are fewer goods and it goes up because there is more money.