Let's take the nine states that have no income tax and compare them with the nine states with the highest income tax rates in the nation. If you look at the economic metrics over the last decade for both groups, the zero-income-tax-rate states outperform the highest-income-tax-rate states by a fairly sizable amount.
Let me just try to give you sort of the intuitive one here on the stimulus funds. If you have a two-person economy - let's imagine we have two farms, and that's the whole world, just two farms. If one of those farmers gets unemployment benefits, who do you think pays for him? Am I going way over your heads today?
There are several states that move from Karl Marx-like policies to Adam Smith-like policies and back again in a weekend. So for the states with huge volatility in their income tax policies over time, the differences in growth rates in those periods are really amazingly consistent with tax rates really mattering.
There are 11 states in the United States that in the last 50 years instituted an income tax. So I looked at each of those 11 states over the last 50 years, and I took their current economic metrics and their metrics for the five years before they put in the progressive income tax. Every single state that introduced a progressive income tax has declined as an overall share of the U.S. economy.
What I'm not saying is that all government spending is bad. It's not - far, far from it, but there is no free lunch, as a former colleague of mine used to say. There is no public tooth fairy. Father Christmas does not work on the Treasury staff this year. You can never bail someone out of trouble without putting someone else into trouble.
If you look at the performance of the zero-income-tax-rate states and the highest-income-tax-rate states, I believe a large amount of their difference is due to taxes. Not only is it true of the last decade, but I took these numbers back 50 years. And, there's not one year in the last 50 where the zero-income-tax-rate states have not outperformed the highest-income-tax-rate states.