Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Taxes And Migration: Vermont Politics

Higher taxes don't force people out of your state. With the political season heating up, the myth that the tax regime is fueling brain drain is receiving a lot of airplay and ink. Not everyone buys into the pseudo-analysis:

During this election, Vermonters are going to hear a lot about lowering taxes, job creation, size of government - all hot buttons designed to keep us from going deeper on the complex underlying issues. Hopefully the press corps and the electorate will not swallow these placebos without reading their ingredients. Problem statements are easy. Solutions are not.

One needn't dig too deep to discover that those touting lower taxes and a better business climate have a poor grasp of migration. Advocates are trying to deceive voters. These snake oil salespeople are the charlatans of economic development.

That's not to say that lowering taxes is a bad idea. I just have to wonder if supporters of such a policy know how to make an honest case and pitch it to the people. The rhetoric typically stinks of ideological thinking and exploits deep-seated anxiety. The approach is shameful but effective.

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