31 December 2009

And This Week's Statement of the Obvious Award Goes To ...

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). As reported in The Wall Street Journal, a study reported in Science magazine makes the observation that taxes make people unhappy. Not seeing any benefit from those high taxes makes people even more unhappy.

Wow. Thanks for clearing that up. We never would have guessed. We are glad you are here to tell us these things.

WSJ: Are Taxes the Root of Unhappiness?
States with the highest taxes also rank as the unhappiest.
In states with high property, income, and sales taxes like New York, people have less money to spend on other things that make them happy. They have less money to spend on vacations, hobbies, home improvements, eating out and child care. Another problem may be that people receive a low return on their tax dollars.

The study's authors note that people are least happy in states that impose high taxes but don't provide matching public benefits (e.g. good highways to relieve congestion and reduce commute times). It's in states where taxes disproportionately subsidize public employee pensions and entitlement programs, but don't much improve the general public's quality of life, that people are most unhappy.

This intuitively makes sense. If you're paying more than a third of your income in taxes, as many New Yorkers do, then you expect to realize the benefits from your hard-earned tax dollars. You expect quality schools, good roads, low crime rates, and quick commutes. You expect your local and state governments to be responsive to your needs, not to the cash flows of entrenched public employee unions and other special interests.

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