The Corner

Forty Years of American Politics

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, the incomparable Michael Barone.  A fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, the senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, and a frequent commentator on Fox News, Michael is also the principal editor of the Almanac of American Politics, a volume that has appeared every second year for the past four decades. Michael discusses the changes in our politics that have taken place during these four eventful decades, beginning, today, with the shift in population.  For 40 years now, Americans have been moving South and West.

One of the reasons for that big shift has been comparative tax policies of the states.  For example, compare New York, which has lots of state and city income tax, with Texas, which has no state income tax.  In 1970, New York had 18 million people.  Today, 40 years later, 19 million people — not very much growth. Texas in 1970 had 11 million people.  Now it has 24 million. Most people didn’t anticipate this shift in 1970.  They thought, “Well, you can throw any amount of taxes on there.  It won’t make much difference because people have to be in New York, and they won’t like Texas because it’s hot there in the summer.”  Not only did they fail to understand economic incentives, they failed to understand air conditioners.

Click here.

Peter Robinson — Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.

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