The Facts Don’t Lie on Taxpayer Migration

What makes politics and policy fun is that people of good will and honest intentions can disagree and strive to change each other’s mind. Starting from one’s essential worldview, myriad stages of decisions must be made without the possibility of complete information — that is, subjectively — so persuading and being persuaded are distinct possibilities.

We can agree, for example, that we have a moral duty to help those who suffer and struggle among us. Whether government power is the appropriate tool to answer that moral call is a matter on which good people can differ (let alone the wisdom of specific programs).

What makes politics and policy frustrating is that, whether from selfish interests or personal investment in flawed ideas, participants often try to distort data points as if they are another layer of subjectivity. If public discourse and representative democracy are to function, there must at some point be a backstop of shared acceptance of facts.

A fact that I raised in a paper written with J. Scott Moody for the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is that federal income-tax payers have been leaving Rhode Island consistently for a decade, taking with them the accumulated equivalent of more than $1 billion in annual resident income.

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