[FoRK] Bar Stool Economics

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Tue Sep 28 19:14:50 PDT 2010

On Sep 28, 2010, at 18:49 , Aaron Burt wrote:

> On Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 08:37:19AM -0500, Jeff Bone wrote:
>> Take a gander at this:
> Yes, you were shilling that one before.  Something about folks fleeing blue
> states for red states in droves.

First, the ATN post I was riffing off of is only a week old, and I only encountered it today.  New data.  Pretty sure I haven't previously mentioned it specifically.  OTOH, I have pointed out the trend before.  It made the cover of the Economist ages ago.  Ponder at your leisure.  Or not, as you please.

Second, I'm pretty sure I have never couched this in terms as meaningless as "red" and "blue."  That's your first mistake, thinking this has something to do with silly colors.  (If I have previously in a moment of weakness done so, then my bad and my apologies.  But the point is about policy, not party.  That ATN made the point about party is tres unfortunate, but that wasn't my point.)

>>  http://athousandnations.com/2010/09/20/when-u-s-tax-returns-vote-with-their-feet
>>  http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2010/09/state-migration.html
> Hmm, nobody's talking about net migration or accounting for state
> population.  Wonder why?

Oh, yes, I do wonder why.  (Snort.)

>>  http://www.mytaxburden.org/migration/
> Yay, actual (& allegedly accurate) data!  What does it tell us?
> Well, when you subtract (exemptions) outflow from inflow and divide by
> population ("%flow"), the thesis looks slightly less cut-and-dried.

And there's the second mistake.  I would suggest you reconsider the dubious arithmetic you use to derive your synthetic "%flow" number.  In particular, perhaps you would like to think about whether the value yielded is something that can be meaningfully compared across states.  Is it a scalar?  Or, indeed, is meaningful at all?

And third, you might want to consider actually fiddling with the controls on the form in question.  For one thing, it DOES provide net numbers, to any given state for all states for any interval within the timeframe.  Also, in particular, contemplate timeframes; is 1993-2008 too broad to say anything about policy?

If you want a meaningful comparison, you might want to look at state-to-state comparisons in absolute numbers, net.  For example, between the period 1993-2008, California had a NET LOSS of absolute population as measured by returns to every state except Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and D.C.  In contrast, Texas has a NET GAIN from every state during the same period except Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and D.C. (and given the timeframe, those we lost to D.C. were a double-edged sword;  glad to have 'em out of here, too bad they were in D.C., and too bad some of 'em are back now. ;-)  

Bottom line, while Texas grew by a net gain of 362,494 returns during the period, California shrank by 723,098.  For example.

Those are scalars.  You can compare them meaningfully.  But even if you want to adjust by population for some strange reason, it's still meaningful.

If you really want to meaningfully compare the aggregations, you'll need to do some actual statistics.  You need to look at the shape of the distributions state-to-state, year-to-year vs. whatever timeframe you think is of interest.  I'm pretty sure that's out of scope, here.

> Less Planet Murdoch and more think-think,

I wasn't aware that ATN or any of the referenced sources were Murdoch property.  (For that matter, my own profound disgust w/ Murdoch, Inc. is well-documented on-list.)

Less knee-jerk and more think-think.  And maybe a little more looky-looky at the webby-sitey before you run off and start figgerin'.


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