Wyoming Liberty Group
Twenty years ago, President Bill Clinton signed welfare reforms into law that revolutionized American anti-poverty policy. Critics warned these changes would cruelly condemn vulnerable families to extreme hardship. But new evidence shows these reforms lifted millions of families out of poverty.
Welfare was originally created as a safety-net of last resort for those unable to help themselves. But all too often it traps otherwise productive individuals in government dependency, sapping their potential and life prospects.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” – President Reagan
More than a quarter century has passed since the Berlin Wall fell. The average American college student was born years after the subsequent reunification of Germany. How many Americans under 30 have a living memory of the “Soviet Union”?
The American welfare state is alive and kicking, with steady growth in spending in typical welfare-state areas such as welfare, health care and education. During the Great Recession America's welfare state has proven to be impervious to the general macroeconomic conditions of the nation's economy.
As I recently explained, about two thirds of state government spending in Wyoming is dedicated to core welfare-state programs within education, health care and human services (broadly known as "welfare"). With a likely revenue crisis on the horizon, and with the causes of that revenue crisis being structural, it is necessary for the Wyoming state legislature to structurally reform its spending program. Inevitably, that means reforms that permanently lower - or preferably eliminate - the entitlement programs that consume two thirds of state revenue.
The most important – and most challenging – part of public policy research is to create convincing pathways toward more economic freedom. Compared to the efforts going toward criticizing “big government”, the reform issue receives only minor attention.
Wyoming has a reputation for being a free and independent state. This is true in some cases, for example gun rights. But when it comes to economic freedom we have a lot to wish for. Our taxes are far from as business-friendly as is often suggested, and you have to use some really crafty calculations to suggest that Wyoming is generally a low-tax state.
In other words, on the tax side we are far from as free as we could be.