Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Political Philosophy


Ohio ranks 42nd in George Mason University's Mercatus Center's ranking of the 50 states according to personal and economic freedoms.

Ohio performs poorly in nearly every conceptual area. Spending and taxation are higher than average, with administration, education, and social-service spending especially high as a percentage of personal income. On the plus side, government debt is below average. Ohio, like three other states, does not allow private workers' compensation insurers. However, unlike North Dakota and Wyoming, it does allow employer self-insurance for workers'-compensation. The state's occupational-licensing regime and level of health-insurance coverage mandates are decent. Ohio has improved its eminent-domain regime, but further reform is warranted. Its liability system is only average. On the other hand, Ohio's asset forfeiture laws are quite good, with the state more than a standard deviation better than average. It could improve even further, though, by shifting the burden of proof to the government. Gun-control laws are relatively poor, though not extreme as in the case of states like Illinois or California. In fact, Ohio allows open carry without permit. The state authorizes sobriety checkpoints but does not mandate motorcycle helmets. Marijuana laws are liberal overall, but cultivation and sale sentencing could be reformed. Most gambling is illegal. Homeschooling regulations are unreasonable, including teacher licensure and mandatory state approval of homeschool curricula. However, private-school regulations are lighter. Draconian smoking bans are in place and cigarette taxes are above average. Beer and wine taxes are reasonably good but the spirits tax is fairly high.

Three recommendations are listed:

      1. Aggressively reduce taxes, especially given that tax revenue as a percentage of personal income is almost a whole standard deviation higher than the average. We find that Ohio spends much more than the national average on financial administration (mostly at the state level) and on judicial, legal, and "other governmental" administration (mostly at the local level); thus, we particularly recommend cuts to these areas.
      2. Continue reforming eminent-domain laws.
      3. Look at Indiana as a model Rust Belt state and reform Ohio's regulatory system in line with that model. For instance, consider rolling back occupational licensing and allowing competition in the utilities.

It comes as little consolation that the few states which are less free than Ohio include:

The bluer the state, the less freedoms its citizens enjoy. Hardly surprising. But it bears mention that the George Mason analysis favors liberal fancies such as gay marriage and the de-criminalization of drugs - so the test rewards liberal social policies, and the most liberal states are still the least free.

On the other hand, the most free states include:

The links may be blue, but the states are overwhelmingly red (and Wisconsin only recently joined the top 25 - thanks to Gov. Walker and the GOP).

If you're surprised by any of this, you just haven't been paying attention. If rhetoric equaled results, progressive states would be heavens on Earth - but, in reality, those fly-over states so often ridiculed from the ivory towers of the eastern seaboard are the true lands of milk and honey.

Discussions - 9 Comments

It's important to remember that this index isn't a conservative one, at least not 100%. For instance, Arizona gets slammed for its immigration policies, reflecting the looney libertarian notion that open borders are good for business and therefore good for America.

True conservatives understand that social freedom and social responsibility go hand-in-hand, and that law and enforcement are absolutely necessary. True, it's a balancing act, but only liberals and libertarians have the luxury of philosophical "purity." The rest of us have to live in a messy world where human nature screws things up.

Really reminded me of this:

"Most of these bodies call themselves "free-market thinktanks", but their trick – as (Astro)Turf Wars points out – is to conflate crony capitalism with free enterprise, and free enterprise with personal liberty. Between them they have constructed the philosophy that informs the Tea Party movement: its members mobilise for freedom, unaware that the freedom they demand is freedom for corporations to trample them into the dirt. The thinktanks that the Kochs have funded devise the game and the rules by which it is played; Americans for Prosperity coaches and motivates the team."

From same article:

"The New Yorker magazine, in the course of a remarkable exposure of the Koch brothers' funding networks, interviewed some of their former consultants.
'The Koch brothers gave the money that founded [the Tea Party],' one of them explained. 'It's like they put the seeds in the ground. Then the rainstorm comes, and the frogs come out of the mud – and they're our candidates!' Another observed that the Kochs are smart. 'This rightwing, redneck stuff works for them. They see this as a way to get things done without getting dirty themselves.'

AFP is one of several groups established by the Koch brothers. They set up the Cato Institute, the first free-market thinktank in the United States. They also founded the Mercatus Centre at George Mason University, which now fills the role once played by the economics department at Chicago University as the originator of extreme neoliberal ideas. Fourteen of the 23 regulations that George W Bush put on his hitlist were, according to the Wall Street Journal, first suggested by academics working at the Mercatus Centre.

The Kochs have lavished money on more than 30 other advocacy groups, including the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the George C Marshall Institute, the Reason Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. These bodies have been instrumental in turning politicians away from environmental laws, social spending, taxing the rich and distributing wealth. They have shaped the widespread demand for small government. The Kochs ensure that their money works for them. 'If we're going to give a lot of money,' David Koch explained to a libertarian journalist, 'we'll make darn sure they spend it in a way that goes along with our intent. And if they make a wrong turn and start doing things we don't agree with, we withdraw funding.'

Also, from Justin's quote from the "report," this one was a forehead-slapper:

"Gun-control laws [in Ohio] are relatively poor, though not extreme as in the case of states like Illinois or California. In fact, Ohio allows open carry without permit."

What more do they want? Mandatory gun ownership and public carry laws?

How is it "relatively poor" - from their perspective - that the state allows open carry without permit?

Does this mean "Ohio" is the answer to the Ultimate Question of life, the universe, and everything?

I think it may mean that "Ohio" is, itself, the question. It works. "What is Ohio?" "42."

Well shocker - the Stupid State ranked 48th. I would have never guessed that. I mean after all CA is a liberal, blue state which is the perfect solution to all the economic woes in the world...

Yep and I am Princess Diana. Just another tibit. I was driving in to the Bay Area this a.m. and just realized that I will have buy new shock absorbers on my truck, because the highways in the bay area have more pot holes than the beach at Normandy on D-Day.

Yes folks, we pay the highest taxes in the nations, have the crappiest schools and roads along with the highest rate of welfare recipients and oh by the way - the police chief of the stupid city (SF) that just retired last year, Heather Fong, is getting $265,000 per year for her pension. So we have the highest paid retired government workers too - with a $500 billion deficient in CALPERS/Teacher Unions Pension. And on top of that a 1,000 people a day are leaving the Stupid State and most likely moving to Texas - they are getting a 1,000 people a day - Go Rick Perry. The only good news for the rest of the country is that it looks like CA will be losing representation in the House.

Liberalism is a ......

Well here is another California liberal idea down the crapper......

California Electric Vehicle Rebate Program Runs Out of Cash...

Here is the article.

Maybe AlGored the Father of Environmentalism Mental Illness can help out by taking some of his family money that is invested in Occidental OIL company and giving it to the GREEN proram.

You just can't make this stuff up....

Let me get this straight, Scanlon, you are accusing conservatives of practicing "crony capitalism?" This from a guy who champions Obama and his uber-corporatism (e.g., sweetheart deals with GE, Goldman-Sacs, and GM)?

While east-coast establishment GOPers represented big banks and other corporate interests, the resurgent conservative movement is all about small and medium-sized business, traditional values, and sensible foreign policies.

Scanlon, you've learned too well from the Left. The old ploy of accusing your enemies of what you yourself are guilty of grows increasingly transparent.

"This from a guy who champions Obama and his uber-corporatism (e.g., sweetheart deals with GE, Goldman-Sacs, and GM)?"

You don't pay careful (or any) attention, Redwald. Find one, single example of me "champion[ing] Obama and his uber-corporatism (e.g., sweetheart deals with GE, Goldman-Sacs, and GM)." Just one.

I don't champion those that I don't like or agree with.

Well, I suppose I could sift through an enormous amount of pure crap (your snarky posts) to catch you on this, but my time is more valuable than that. Did you vote for Obama, and will you vote for him again? If so, you are condoning the worst forms of corporatism this country has seen, maybe since FDR. Given that, you should keep your mouth shut about corporations being in bed with the Federal Government.

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