According to a new CNBC analysis, Americans are leaving high-tax states in droves. By looking at a combination of tax figures and moving company records, the financial channel has determined that states with the highest taxes are also seeing the biggest net migration out of town.
CNBC found that states like Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts have seen more people migrate away over the last decade than they have been able to replace. These high-tax states are losing their population to states where Americans can keep more of what they earn.
Connecticut taxpayers, for example, paid an average of $4,431, according to data from the Federation of Tax Administrators, a group that represent state tax officials. Last year, United Van Lines and Atlas Van Lines, the two largest movers in the U.S., moved 3,212 households out of state and 2,368 moves inbound. That means 55 percent of all moves left the state, for a net outbound flow of 58 percent. Over the last decade, the two companies reported 36,837 moves outbound to 30,426 inbound, for a net outbound flow of 55 percent.
The analysts admit that the records only reflect the use of the top two national moving companies. They also admit that some high-tax states – Vermont and Alaska, for instance – do not fit the larger pattern.
Even so, the data speaks volumes and should encourage researchers to expand this study to encompass the full picture of population shift. It would be very interesting to know if what CNBC found will hold up to comprehensive scrutiny, because it could have a remarkable effect on policy going forward. If state leaders realize that they are driving away their economy by taxing their citizens too stiffly, it could trigger a major backlash. We could see dyed-in-the-wool liberals forced to abandon their ever-increasing push for higher taxes.
Well, one can dream, right?
The truth is that we really need no such study. Americans will go where they sense the greatest economic opportunity. Taxes are a hindrance to that opportunity, no matter how you slice it. Why do you think do many successful Britons wind up migrating to the United States? Simply, they don’t want the Queen to chip away at their wealth until there’s almost nothing left. It’s not that they have no sense of social responsibility; many of these men and women give millions to charity. It’s just that they don’t want their government to decide for them how much of their wealth they must abandon.
As Hillary Clinton begins her campaign for “revenue enhancements,” Americans should ponder what higher taxes would mean for the country. In a globalized economy, is it possible that we might see mass migration out of the United States? Could it be that individuals and companies will see better opportunities elsewhere? Of course. It’s already happening under Obama. People don’t get rich because they are stupid. They aren’t going to pass up millions and millions of dollars out of some vague sense of patriotism. They just aren’t.
We’ll be left with what, then? A country filled with only those citizens who are unwilling to take a risk? A country filled only with those who don’t make enough money to worry about it? What’s that going to look like in fifty years? Who is going to pay for all of these infrastructure improvements when the population is almost wholly dependent on the government?
When that day comes, it’ll be a great day for Democrats. For everyone else, it will be the end of America as we know it.