Friday, February 14, 2003

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Dynamism vs. stasis in 800 words: The delightful Susan Lee, in today's Wall Street Journal, celebrates libertarians' common-sense approach(!) in confronting political and cultural issues, and their insistence on being relentlessly optimistic, fun-loving folk. It's an essay that's sure to cause dyspepsia among plenty of cultural conservatives who read the Journal (and, no doubt, among other members of the paper's editorial board.)

Here's one of my favorite passages:

Unfortunately, these (cultural) debates are often animated by the fact that conservatives see libertarianism only as the face of what it defends: transgendered persons adopting children, video games of violent sadism and, yes, cloning. Simply put, the shocking and repellent decline of civilization. But for libertarians, these are merely some of the many aspects of a civilization that is advancing through vast and minute experiments. The exercise of freedom trumps the discomforts of novelty.

Virginia Postrel must be proud.

Hats off to Paul Gigot, the Journal's editorial page editor, for giving Susan the space to make an argument I doubt Bob Bartley (journalistic giant that he was in that position) would have encouraged.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Art Laffer, call your office: Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller tells Carson City lawmakers he was never consulted about the impact a proposed 50-percent increase in corporate filing fees would have on tax collections. Guinn's budget proposal assumes the 50-percent fee hike would boost revenues by, well, 50 percent. The Nevada Resident Agent Association points out that after the 2001 Legislature increased fees by 30 percent, the growth of new business filings dropped from an annual rate of 12 percent to an increase of less than 1 percent in 2002. The recession played a role, undoubtedly. But mobile companies seek the lowest tax environment, and will locate their operations accordingly.

Similarly, Guinn's budget assumes that a tripling of the state's quarterly per-employee Business Activity Fee from $25 to $75 will cause those revenues to increase by (imagine that!) 300 percent -- from a projected $175 million in the next budget cycle to more than $510 million. Does the term "dynamic scoring" ring a bell?