One Needn’t Guess at the Results of Progressive Policies
President Obama has bet the economy on his program to grow the government and finance it with a more progressive tax system. It’s hard to miss the irony that he’s pitching this change in Washington even as the same governance model is imploding in three of the largest American states where it has been dominant for years — California, New Jersey and New York.
A decade ago all three states were among America’s most prosperous. California was the unrivaled technology center of the globe. New York was its financial capital. New Jersey is the third wealthiest state in the nation after Connecticut and Massachusetts. All three are now suffering from devastating budget deficits as the bills for years of tax-and-spend governance come due.
These states have been models of “progressive” policies that are supposed to create wealth: high tax rates on the rich, lots of government “investments,” heavy unionization and a large government role in health care.
Lacking the time, just now, I’ll have to rely on general experience, but I’d be surprised if Rhode Island weren’t right up there with these three states on the various lists that the WSJ puts forward as evidence for its thesis that progressive policies are harmful to the entities foolish enough to pursue them. Our local progs would be better positioned to opine on this than would I, but the detrimental outcomes seem to me so predictable that the engaged citizen may wonder whether the harm is intentional.