Since the rising prosperity brought about by economic freedom, with increased growth, increased living standards, and more jobs around the world, didn’t exactly fit the left-wing narrative, some leftist commentators have changed track. Instead of talking about the economy, they talk about ‘happiness’. "Yes" they say "we might be more wealthy, but we’re unhappy".
Well, we can now happily tell the left to worry no more – because if you want to make people happier, then cut taxes! The fact that high taxes make people unhappy isn’t exactly rocket science. I mean, if the government takes money away from someone who earned it, and gives it to someone who didn’t (taking 20% in bloated perks for itself in the process), the person who earned the money is bound to be annoyed. This is tax refugees are fleeing high-taxing states in droves.
But earlier this week, a new study as proven conclusivly what we have been saying all along – controlling for all other factors, living in a high taxing state makes you statistically significantly more unhappy than living in a low tax state.
Using data from the 2005-2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and a 2003 economics paper examining quality-of-life indicators, economists regressed the subjective measure of well-being (how people rate their satisfaction) against the objective measure (states’ quality-of-life rankings based on compensating differentials).
The findings as to why some people are happy, and some are unhappy?
High taxes seem to be a big reason—ostensibly an even bigger reason than weather given that California is one of the unhappiest states and inclement Louisiana is the happiest. Further, considering how much New York’s crime rate has dropped and schools have improved in the last decade, taxes seem to overwhelm even these two critical factors in the happiness equation. According to the Tax Foundation 2008 analysis, three of the top five unhappiest states—New York, Connecticut and New Jersey—have the highest state-local tax burdens. On the other hand, four of the top five happiest states—Louisiana, Florida, Tennessee and Arizona—are among the states with the lowest state-local tax burdens
As the article concludes, taxes may not be the root of all unhappiness, but they do result in some very sad citizens. So the way to happiness is precisely what we’ve been saying all along – CUT TAXES!