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An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States: How Taxes, Energy, and Worker Freedom Change Everything Hardcover – April 14, 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is a book full of evidence, compelling in the way it reveals differences among states and clear consequences. Read, learn, and weep in some constituencies or give three cheers in others."
George Shultz, distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, former United States Secretary of Labor, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of State, Director of the Office of Management and Budget and professor of economics at MIT and the University of Chicago

"Left wing, right wing, liberal, conservative, Democrat or Republican, Arthur Laffer's book, The Wealth of States has the facts and the framework for policymakers and citizens alike. Tapping decades of research and experience in state economics, Laffer, Moore, Sinquefield and Brown communicate clearly the guiding principles to elevate their states-and thus the nation as a whole-to levels of prosperity never before seen.  State and local legislators should base their economic policies on this book-it's a game changer."
Dick Cheney, 46th Vice President of the United States, former Secretary of Defense, member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Wyoming and Chairman and CEO of Halliburton Company

"Wow! This compelling, comprehensive book will be the bible for state and local leaders who truly want rapid economic growth. It will profoundly, positively change politics and economics in America."
Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media

"Arthur Laffer is justly known as the father of Supply Side Economics whose pro-growth tax cuts combined with Reagan's policies of limited government, free enterprise and strong defense ushered in a twenty five year economic renaissance.  He is not as well known for his work on the States, but this book will change that.  With Stephen Moore, Rex Sinquefield and Travis Brown, Laffer uses the marvelous laboratory of the fifty States-set in the environment of free trade, population mobility and a common underlying federal structure-to demonstrate conclusively that economic policy matters. Where taxes are low, private property rights are strong and free enterprise prevails, prosperity grows.  High taxes, big government and special interest domination may work politically to win elections, but they fail to bring home the bacon. Prosperity is not an accident or a fate, it is a choice-a freedom choice."
Phil Gramm, former U.S. Representative and Senator representing Texas and professor of economics at Texas A&M University

"Arthur Laffer's latest book on the states makes it clear that running a state is a lot like running a business. The goals are the same:  making our businesses and states more prosperous, competitive, and attractive to investors and citizens.  With important lessons identified, The Wealth of States will make its mark."
Jack Welch, Chairman and CEO of General Electric, 1981-2001

“The widening gap in policies and prosperity among the states has been a source of increasing controversy. The migration of people and businesses from high-tax states such as California and Illinois to fast-rising rivals Texas, Nevada, and Florida is creating a divide that, to some observers, mirrors the battle between emerging markets and aging economies in decline. . . . An important new book identifies a major factor that, the authors claim, separates the winners from the laggards: state income taxes . . . . Given the authors' pedigree, the conclusions are predictable: Imposing income taxes inevitably leads to economic decline and enriches the competing states that don't have them. What gives their arguments credence is the staggering wealth of data summoned to support their claims.”
Shawn Tully, senior editor-at-large, Fortune, April 18, 2014.

“For the economist, the relocation decision offers a fascinating insight into the differences between attractive and repellent environments. If every state were exactly the same—same economy, same laws, same weather—the relocation decision wouldn’t tell us anything of interest. People would still move, but there wouldn’t be any discernible trends. We’d see the same number of people moving from Cuba to Florida as vice versa. But what if people systematically prefer one kind of jurisdiction over another when they move? . . . as a partial explanation for relocation decisions it’s a fascinating insight, one that informs an important new book by Arthur Laffer, Stephen Moore, Rex Sinquefield, and Travis Brown, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States. The title, borrowed from Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, promises a revolutionary reinterpretation of what makes American states wealthy and, remarkably, the authors deliver on their promise. What they find, in brief, is that low-tax states deliver more wealth without sacrificing the social services that tax revenues are supposed to fund. They also find that people move in massive numbers from high- to low-tax states.”
F.H. Buckley, The American Spectator, May 14, 2014

From the Inside Flap

Poor people can't spend themselves into wealth. Similarly, as huge segments of the population have long suspected, a higher tax burden doesn't lead to prosperity at the state level. Seems simple enough to many, but this little piece of wisdom has been the subject of loud debate. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States is putting that debate to rest with a cogently presented, meticulous analysis of the facts.

By looking at quantitative data from all 50 U.S. states, the authors have put together a solid case for lower state income taxes and decreased tax burdens. Wealth doesn't stay put. Businesses and individuals in upper economic strata go where their interests are protected. The result? As this book demonstrates, almost every measure of economic prosperity at the state level—population, employment, and beyond—is linked to taxation. Low-tax states in every region of the country are outperforming their neighbors.

In all kinds of economic weather, states need to become competitive or risk urban dilapidation, population shrinkage, decreases in quality of living, and worse. In An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States, lucid quantitative analysis supports the argument that wealth-friendly policies at state and local levels are the key to maintaining prosperity for everyone. These policies extend far beyond the personal income tax rate to include corporate income taxes, estate taxes, the overall tax burden, right-to-work laws, and much more. Add it all up, and states won't be able to ignore this airtight case for tax reform.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 14, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118921224
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118921227
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States is definitely a book aimed at policy wonks. But it isn't as dry as the title and description suggest -- nod to Adam Smith and all. The authors are good writers who know how to get an idea across. They make a solid argument for tax reform at a state and local level.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After having read Return to Prosperity, I know Dr. Laffer to be an excellent writer as well as an innovative thinker. With reasoned, cogent intellect he presents a thorough analysis here, which is sort of a case study for low taxes. It's very factual yet as I said, he makes it interesting or highly readable. It goes along well with this http://www.amazon.com/Shadowbosses-Government-Control-America-Taxpayers/dp/1455522732 selection.

The bad news is there's a lot of pages devoted to charts, nearly half the book. Sometimes I thought a broader presentation of the history of the no-income tax vs. highest income tax states would be in order. He did contrast Texas and California but stuck to an analysis of the numbers too much, for example why do people migrate to low tax states? To follow the jobs might be one answer.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is well worth reading, but on a Kindle, the charts are too small and inconvenient to use reliably. Sometimes things get a little jumbled and a summary at the end of each chapter was good, but should be expanded. I'd like to see a book designed to refute the arguments against this book on a case by case basis. I still want to see a basic economics text based on conservative economic principles. Adam Smith is difficult for me to follow, though I tried mightily.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A staggering compendium of facts to support the case for low taxes, and to refute critics of the Laffer approach.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Heard about this book on TV. It is technical, but anyone who is interested in the TRUTH about our tax situation in the US, and the way certain states are losing, and others gaining productive citizens, this is a must-read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a well documented, factual and straight forward description of how state policy decisions impact their economic future. It cuts through political rhetoric and focuses on outcomes. It is the best available argument for tax codes that are responsive to economic realities.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was great and brought a lot of data and information on state economic policy. Laffer, Moore, Sinquefield, and Brown are very detailed in this book. Specifically, the book focuses on state tax rates and how states that have lower taxes and even states with no income taxes see more revenue growth for state governments and economic growth. Often, states that have installed income taxes and have higher rates see lower growth and lower revenue because businesses and individuals like to move to states with lower taxes. When more people and businesses come into these states, the economy grows from more economic activity and tax revenue grows because the tax base gets wider. It's the Laffer curve hard at work. This book does not just focus on tax policy, they also look at energy and right-to-work laws in all states to see how that affects state policy. With this they find that states which have less regulation on workers and energy often do better economically than states that have strict regulations.

I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in tax and other economic policies.
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Format: Hardcover
Art Laffer has written the most comprehensive book on state economics I have ever read. He compares the economies of states who have raised taxes with those who haven't and reveals with clear evidence that states with lower tax rates have experienced higher growth rates than those who have taxed away the earnings of their residents. Unfortunately, I live in the worst of those states -- California.
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