Freedom, State-by-State and City-by-City
When it comes to the federal policies we track on WashingtonWatch.com, we’re all in the same boat. If we want to live in the U.S. of A. – and we do – a lot of our circumstances are going to rise or fall based on what the federal government’s policies are. But this big country of ours has a federal system of government rather than a unitary one, so there are still significant differences from state to state, and from city to city. I’ve come across two studies in the recent past that explore this.
The first is a study coming out of the Fraser Institute. Fraser’s study, “Economic Freedom of North America: 2008 Annual Report,” measures the impact of economic freedom on the level of economic activity and the growth of economic activity in 50 U.S. states and 10 Canadian provinces by looking at size of government, taxation, and labor market freedom. Its findings? Texans and Delawarians live in the most economically free state. West Virginia – poor West Virginians – is the least economically free U.S. state.
Now what about social freedoms? The Chicago Tribune had a piece recently pointing out that Chicago was the city with the most restrictions on ways that people have fun. Y’know, overeating, drinking, smoking. Stuff like that. “Chicago, City of Broad Strictures” lays it all out. (It’s by Radley Balko, who is a friend and former colleague of mine at the Cato Institute.) There is also an accompanying chart, showing that Las Vegans win the jackpot for overall freedom.
So, you can vote here on WashingtonWatch.com for or against the bills in Congress. You can vote every couple of years trying to affect who is in Congress. But any time it’s important enough, you can vote with your feet – change states or cities, going for more freedom (or less!) – all while staying proud to be an American.