Matthew Ladner

Delivering a Revolution

Posted on October 24, 2006 | Author: Matthew Ladner
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Low tax states are better at reducing poverty

I have an admittedly odd appreciation for leftist protest songs. For my money (sorry boomers) there is none finer than Tracy Chapman's Talkin' Bout a Revolution. Spare and urgent, Chapman's song delivers a warning:

While they're standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Don't you know they're talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

Poor people are gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people are gonna rise up
And take what's theirs

Although stirring, the underlying assumptions of this song are dead wrong. A recent World Bank report, for example, finds that we are living in a golden age of global poverty reduction. Free market policies are lifting billions out of poverty, in stark contrast to the catastrophic consequences of socialism.

The Goldwater Institute will soon release a study comparing the success of states in reducing poverty during the 1990's. We find that during the 1990's, many high tax states had increases in poverty rates while low tax states had decreases. This undoubtedly contributed to Arizona's declining poverty during that time period. If these trends continue, Mississippi will have less poverty than California by 2010.

Some continue to prescribe economically illiterate reforms and to resist productive policies to combat poverty. Meanwhile, the free market movement isn't just talking about a revolution we're delivering one. 

Matthew Ladner is vice president for research at the Goldwater Institute.

Key Links:

-Heritage Foundation: The Continuing Good News About Welfare Reform
-New York Times: Good News About Poverty
-Goldwater Institute: Would You Like Fries with That?

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