Getting Politics out of Money

WHAT THE McDONNELL CASE TELLS US ABOUT GOVERNMENT ‘DEVELOPING’ THE ECONOMY Last week former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was convicted of 11 counts of corruption related to his acceptance of personal gifts in exchange for using gubernatorial power to promote a company named Star Scientific. The story of McDonnell’s downfall will no doubt be used […]

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 […]

“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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Bureaucratic Middle Men in State Government

  FOR GOVERNMENT, IT TAKES A LOT OF MONEY TO SPEND MONEY South Carolina’s state budget now tops $24 billion – a staggering sum (and just to put that in perspective, remember: a billion is a thousand millions – and state government takes 24 of those out of the private economy for just one year). […]

What’s South Carolina’s Biggest Employer?

 IT’S NOT WHAT POLITICIANS TELL YOU What industry would you guess is the biggest employer in South Carolina? Listening to State House politicians, you might think the answer is one company, Boeing. Or you might think tourism is the number one employer in the state. In reality, government is the single largest employer in South […]

Liberty, Equality … and Corporate Welfare

HOW ECONOMIC INCENTIVES COMPROMISE AMERICA’S MOST IMPORTANT VALUE Equality and liberty are not always compatible and in some cases directly opposed, but there is one notion of equality that is a necessary component of liberty, and that is “equality of opportunity.” Although this term is used differently on opposite sides of the political spectrum, advocates […]