Should Economic Incentives Be Evaluated?

YES, BUT . . . This week on the Senate floor, a member recited to two familiar – but no less remarkable – facts: In 2000, South Carolina ranked 38th in the nation in per capita income. In 2012, we’d fallen to 48th. All, unfortunately, true. But the conclusions drawn from this and similar statistics […]


South Carolina’s Uncompetitive Income Tax

 HERE’S WHY WE’RE LOSING: OUR TAXES ARE HIGHER We’ve leveled a lot of criticisms at the South Carolina Department of Commerce over the last several years, and will no doubt level more in the future. Presently, however, an excellent report the agency put together in 2010 deserves for more attention than it ever got when […]


S.C. Politicians’ Talking Points: Myths vs. Facts

NOTHING WRONG WITH MYTHS … JUST DON’T REPEAT THEM AS FACT Since the conclusion of the 2013 legislative session, lawmakers have been blasting out emails that boast of the year’s accomplishments. Even allowing for politicians’ customary boasts, some of these claims are either misleading or flatly untrue. Here are a few: Taxes and Size of […]

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Best & Worst of the General Assembly is Here

WONDER WHAT YOUR LAWMAKERS WERE UP TO IN 2013? IT’S ALL HERE. Our annual guide to the year’s legislative session, The Best & Worst of the General Assembly, has been published. To download your electronic copy, click here.  As in years past, we covered a large number of bills. Although it’s not feasible to analyze […]

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More “Incentive” for Welfare or Work in S.C.?

Politicians love to tout job creation through business “incentives” — but is there an incentive to take these jobs? Given the dismal unemployment rates both on the national and state levels (8.1 percent in South Carolina), one would think that anyone currently without a job would do anything to obtain a job. Well, according to the recent […]

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“Creating Jobs” Isn’t the Point

 THE CREATION OF VALUE IS Although the role of government would appear to be a controversial topic in the political sphere, there’s one role commentators on both the left and the right seem to agree on: Government should provide jobs. It’s hard to avoid political rhetoric underpinned by the assumption that government should create jobs, […]

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Income Mobility in South Carolina

HOW S.C. KEEPS ITS CITIZENS IN POVERTY The New York Times recently reported on a new study finding that income mobility in South Carolina is severely limited. Income mobility, as its name implies, refers to an individual’s ability to rise from lower income levels to higher ones (economists typically divide these levels into fifths). Coincidentally, […]


Beware the Multiplier Effect

  THEORIES ARE DEBATABLE. REALITY? NOT SO MUCH. When a public official wants to sell a big spending increase, he’ll almost inevitably justify it by claiming that it won’t just create the benefit for which it’s intended; it will also have a “ripple effect” that will accelerate economic growth even more. This is the case […]

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The Bull Street Deal: Extreme Caution Advised

WHY TAXPAYERS DESERVE DETAILS – NOT VAGUE TALKING POINTS AND HIGHER TAXES On June 25th, the mayor of Columbia, Steve Benjamin, unveiled what’s being commonly called the “Bull Street Development Deal.” The deal would involve the city committing to an estimated $70 million for infrastructure, two parking garages, and a minor league baseball stadium. The estimated economic […]

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Should S.C. Privatize Its Ports?

  WHY DOES THE STATE OPERATE ITS OWN PORTS? GOOD QUESTION. One of the major issues debated this legislative session has been the state’s infrastructure and the need for improvement. The debate however, has focused almost exclusively on South Carolina’s roads and has therefore neglected another area of South Carolina infrastructure long overdue for reform […]