What emanates from the “swamp” in Washington D.C. never ceases to amaze. It would almost be comical but for its impact on our lives. In my opinion, part of the problem is the systemic divergence of forces that affect the deliberations. On the one hand, laws, rules, and regulations are passed with the express intent of encouraging and rewarding certain behaviors and activities. Meanwhile, on the other hand, when these rules and regulations are scored fiscally, CBO uses what is referred to as, “static analysis” – IOW, no behavioral changes! Hello?
Of course, we do change our behavior, don’t we? And often, not in the ways that were anticipated. In a free society like ours, people can vote with their feet, which tends to throw off the projections of central planners.
A great example of this was reported on my favorite economics blog last week. Mr. Perry summarized the annual U.S. Migration Report for 2017 released by North American Moving Services. (BTW, was that fast or what? Didn’t 2017 just end a week ago?) What follows are some highlights from the report, but you can read the entire post with all the explanatory material here.
The table shows the top five inbound states and the top five outbound states based on household moves in 2017. In an effort to explain the household move differences, the table compares these two groups in nine different economic categories. North American Moving Services’ data reaches as far back as 2011 and reveals some notable patterns.
To quote Mr. Perry:
Illinois has been among the top five outbound states in each year from 2011 to 2017 and was No. 1 or No. 2 in each of those years except 2011 when it was No. 3. New Jersey has been in the top five outbound states in each of the last seven years from 2011 to 2017. Connecticut has been in the top five outbound states every year since 2011 except for 2012, and Michigan every year except 2013. Last year was the first time that California was among the top five outbound states.
For the top five inbound states, Arizona has been included every year except 2011, and it’s been No. 1 or No. 2 in each of the last four years. South Carolina has been in the top five inbound states in each of the last seven years, and North Carolina every year except two (2011 and 2015). Florida has been among the top five inbound states in most years but wasn’t in 2017, it was replaced in the top five by Tennessee, which made its debut last year.
There is empirical evidence that Americans do “vote with their feet” when they relocate from one state to another, and the evidence suggests that Americans are moving from states that are relatively more economically stagnant, Democratic-controlled fiscally unhealthy states with higher taxes, more regulations and with fewer economic and job opportunities to Republican-controlled, fiscally sound states that are relatively more economically vibrant, dynamic and business-friendly, with lower tax and regulatory burdens and more economic and job opportunities.
Who’d a-Thunk It? Americans vote with their feet because they value jobs, economic freedom and prosperity, entrepreneurship, lower taxes, and less government over the opposite?
“Who’d a-Thunk it?” Indeed.
Until next time, cheers!