Wyoming Liberty Group
The two most recent reports from CREG, the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group, tell of a mounting revenue problem for the state government. This has now led to the introduction of a bill - S122 - to the ongoing legislative session that calls for the formation of a group to find a solution to the problem.
When Wyoming legislators consider whether or not to expand Medicaid, the last thing they have on their mind is probably German treasury bonds.
That would be entirely understandable. After all, what connection could there possibly be between the German government's borrowing habits and the provision of tax-paid health insurance in Wyoming?
Is Wyoming in need of a tax reform? Recent economic news indicates that this may be a question worth considering in a not too distant future.
The latest CREG report on state government tax revenue presents an improved forecast of General Fund revenue by four percent over January. While the first reaction appears to be a rush to the spending binges, it comes with a longer-term question that calls for deeper analysis. It starts with Governor Mead's restrained fiscal regime, which has capped state spending in a way Wyoming had not seen in at least a decade. This welcome change for the better has been followed by a slow but visible industrial diversifcation of the Wyoming economy.
One of the most common trends in public economics is the growth in government. It has many explanations that range from public choice theory to the ideological desire to expand the welfare state. In between, there is the simple fact that our elected officials get into a habit of growing government, a habit that is probably as hard to break as gravity itself.
One of the more memorable experiences from my first visit to New York City more than 20 years ago was crossing Park Avenue with a friend who lived in town. Having been to every major city in Europe I knew better than to try to cross the street in front of cars turning from the side street. So as we stood there on the corner of 59th and Park I cautiously looked over my left shoulder. Sure enough, some young up-and-coming, very busy New Yorker threw his Japanese luxury car around the corner like his life depended on it.
A new Cato Institute report estimates the total cost of the so called “War on Poverty” to $19 trillion over 50 years. That is more than the total cost of national defense during the same period of time.
The authors of the report, Michael Tanner and Charles Hughes, note that the federal and state spending programs that constitute the “War on Poverty” are so inefficient that it is almost impossible to measure any marginal effect at all from all the money being spent.
One of the core arguments for government expansion is that there is no other way to reliably help the poor to a better life. This false notion has very deep roots, all the way back to the days when the first elements of the welfare state emerged on European soil. Back then, radical liberals convinced social conservatives that collectivized compassion was the way to go.