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CapCon drone says tax burden is the same thing as quality of life

by: Eric B.

Mon Dec 30, 2013 at 13:47:45 PM EST

If you wanted to know why our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect regularly does things that are at odds with reality, it's because its individual members consume a media diet of this kind of horseshit.

Migration is arguably the best single metric for assessing quality of life issues in a particular location. In good times or bad, people often move to other states for reasons that can be difficult to quantify. The further people go, the higher the cost in both financial and psychological terms. Leaving behind friends, family and associates is never easy. By studying migration details we hope to learn why people move, and use the information to change bad policies that otherwise threaten to create a Michigan diaspora of former neighbors now living in other states.

Mackinac Center research focused on Michigan has found for every 10 percent increase in personal taxes an additional 4,900 people leave the Great Lake State annually. So for example, an 11.5 percent individual income tax in 2007 has driven around 29,000 of our citizens away so far — and that's a conservative estimate.

Yes, of course Mackinac Center "research" asked the penetrating question of whether income tax rate affected out-bound migration and came to the laziest conclusion possible. Others have probed this very question, of course, and instead of looking at out-bound migration and assuming that it was driven by income tax burden. They did this by undertaking the very strange course of asking people why they left. Predictably, income tax burden was nearly non-existant. What drove people out of the state were general quality of life (i.e. state government dedicated to being terrible to gay people; cities that are unwalkable, culturally bereft, crime-ridden nightmares) and lack of opportunity caused by the erosion of the auto industry. That is, people can get paid better to work in other states.

It goes without saying that if the income tax rate actually played a significant role in determining where people live that Michigan would have seen an out-migration the last two years in old people who suddenly found their pension income exemption gone. But it doesn't, and no serious adult thinks that it does.

Eric B. :: CapCon drone says tax burden is the same thing as quality of life
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One size fits all (4.00 / 2)
These are the same people who believe that because they love size 9 shoes that all feet, as a result, must be size 9. It isn't laziness that makes the Mackinac Center walk down this tired road as much as the need to fit all things into their cramped political ideology. The laziness comes from the news media which likes to give the Mackinac Center the same respect as a real research institution.  

The 10 countries with the lowest tax rates (4.00 / 2)
According to TheRichest.com:

1. Timor Leste
2. Vanuatu
3. Maldives
4. Macedonia
5. Namibia
6. Qatar
7. United Arab Emirates
8. Zambia
9. Saudi Arabia
10. Bahrain

I suggest that the folks at CapCon put their money where their mouth is and move to one of these fine places.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

Look south, young man. (0.00 / 0)
One has to look no further than Indiana, which is the state Snyder has said on many occasions he wants to emulate, to see what you get.  If you're happy with being a middling state with middling cities, lagging quality of life indicators, and backwards cultural values, then by all menas enjoy your new Michiana/Indianagan, Michiganders.  

As for me, I'd to emulate places like Minnesota or Massachusetts.  As for the whole tax burden bull, I'm not even bothering to address it because we've heard it all before.  At the state level, Michigan is not a high-tax state, and hasn't been in years.  What happened to Michigan is a hellish perfect storm of things with taxes ranking way below quite a few other issues.

I'd also nominate CO and WA (0.00 / 0)
as I'd prefer our state to follow the legalization path. Even though I personally wouldn't utilize the opportunity, I bet a healthy majority of our state would similarly support the change.  A healthy majority of voters, however, may be a different question if not during a presidential cycle.  

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
proponent (0.00 / 0)
I was talking about a more wholistic view of states to emulate.  

I'm a big proponent of marijuana legalization, but I really do think some of us liberals overestimate how much of a vote driver it can be.  I wasn't really talking politics to emulate, at least not by itself.  I was talking more culture and tax policy, health policy, etc...legalization is great, but it's a very small piece of the puzzle that would make Michigan more liveable.

BTW, I think it'd pass in a second, here, even in a mid-term.  Like marriage equality, I don't think people realize how quickly the country has moved.

[ Parent ]
I know and I agree : ) (0.00 / 0)
I just wanted to throw that marijuana angle in there, since I was reflecting on it while reading your comment.

Basically, I think Michigan has the capacity to transcend the Indiana quality of life doldrums despite Republican intentions to have us mired there.

Disclaimer: I am sure many Indiana residents have a great life and rightfully enjoy the amenities offered to them.  I just have a different vision for how Michigan could fare socially and economically.  

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]

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