November 21, 2004


New York Is Last in Freedom Index (RODERICK BOYD, November 16, 2004, NY Sun)

New York ranks dead last among the states in Forbes magazine's U.S. Economic Freedom Index, a study to be published today that considers the effects of more than 140 variables, including taxation, tort reform, and environmental regulations, in an effort to determine the amount of freedom a state's average taxpayer has and its effect on income.

The study was conducted by a policy group with a free-market orientation, the Pacific Research Institute. It is Forbes's second national survey of economic freedom. Forbes, which has its headquarters in Manhattan, also publishes the Index of Economic Freedom, a global analysis of the world's economies.

In the first national study, published five years ago, New York also ranked last. Kansas this year is ranked no. 1. In the 1999 study, Idaho finished first.

The study defines economic freedom as individuals' right to pursue the interests that best promote their well-being. The study says the states that have the most economic freedom are those that offer the fewest obstacles, in terms of taxes and regulation, to starting a business or finding a new job. The ranking compared the states based on what was termed "government intervention" in such areas as fiscal policy, welfare spending, size of government, regulatory climate, and the judiciary. [...]

With the exception of New Hampshire, the Northeast is the most economically oppressive area to launch a business or seek work, according to the study. Joining New York in the nether regions of the rankings for the second time are Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. A co-author of the study, Lawrence McQuillan, said the Northeast's population density makes it easier to develop and implement regulations here. The state ranked 49th in the survey is California.

Mr. McQuillan acknowledged the obvious political dimension to the ranking of both the top 10 and the bottom 10. In this month's election, eight of the top 10 states in economic freedom went for President Bush, and nine of the bottom 10 went for Senator Kerry. Mr. McQuillan said the divide was representative of long-standing differences in both the political philosophies and the traditions in the states' legislatures. Moreover, the prospect for upward mobility in the rankings is slim, he said, given the sway of unions and various other special-interest groups with the legislatures of New York and California.

"I'm hesitant to say that having a Republican governor and legislature is a silver bullet, but it does make it more probable that these issues will be seriously considered," Mr. Mc-Quillan said.

A nice illustration of the deeper values that drive the Red/Blue divide--in Red America freedom is of opportunity; in Blue America it is from morality.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 21, 2004 10:41 AM

So much for the Pataki in 2008 campaign. He has failed miserably, succumbing to the blandishments of Albany. (Yikes!)

Glad to see that the Peoples Republic of New Jersey has retained its traditional position of 49th most free. Plus ca change, plus la meme chose.

The unfree states have political cultures where government is essentially about divvying out favors to friends, relatives and supporters. The main difference between NJ and Argentina is that Argentine women don't look like livestock.

Posted by: Bart at November 21, 2004 11:24 AM

New York, greatest state in the union with the dumbest politics. If the real estate market softens just a bit as interest rates tick up, its economy will implode. As a native son I'm glad I no longer live there.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford, Ct. at November 21, 2004 3:11 PM

If NYC would get rid of WWII rent control.

I think it's safe to say that while we've not won their hearts and minds, major European war operations are over.

Posted by: Sandy P at November 21, 2004 9:19 PM

Somewhere in Hell John C. Calhoun is getting a chuckle from this story.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 21, 2004 9:31 PM
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