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 […]

Nothing New about the New Markets Job Act

ANOTHER IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME AND GONE “Public-private partnerships” with innocuous-sounding names have become extremely popular in South Carolina over the last decade. The latest endeavor in the trend doesn’t look any more promising than the others. The South Carolina New Markets Jobs Act, or NMJA (S.892), would have expanded the role of government-backed […]

The Unseen Costs of the Export-Import Bank

THE EX-IM BANK GIVES FOREIGN COMPANIES AN ADVANTAGE, COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER . . . TIME TO LET IT EXPIRE In the economic sphere an act, a habit, an institution, a law produces not only one effect, but a series of effects. Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its […]

Should Economic Incentives Be Evaluated?

THE SHORT ANSWER: YES, BUT . . . This week on the Senate floor, a member recited 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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). […]