Don’t miss episode 71 of the Let People Prosper show with Dr. Norman Horn, president of the Libertarian Christian Institute and co-author of “Faith Seeking Freedom.”
We consider controversial questions to help Christians understand how to glorify God in the marketplace.
Dr. Horn and I discuss the following and more:
President Biden signed a sweeping executive order to “harness” and “keep” artificial intelligence, two words you never want to hear from the government. This new regulation will inhibit Americans’ flourishing because restricting free markets never works.
The EO is reported to ensure safety, equity, and responsible development. While these goals may appear laudable, delving deeper reveals that this motion will hinder economic progress and stifle the innovation it aims to promote. That’s why policies must always be judged by their results rather than their intentions.
Details of the order’s objectives include safety tests, industry standards, and government oversight to address potential risks associated with AI. Forcing AI companies to conduct safety tests before going public, known as “red teaming,” will significantly slow the development and deployment of AI technologies.
It’s well-established that innovation thrives in an environment of minimal regulatory interference called “permissionless innovation.” So introducing these bureaucratic hurdles will hinder fast-growing AI and all the industries that have begun to rely on it. Medicine and biotech, in particular, have realized remarkable potential with AI that has life-saving ramifications. But Biden’s overreaching EO wants to harness that.
As is the case with many regulations, the EO comes at not just a cost to the individuals it affects but to the government’s pocketbook as well.
As part of its endeavor to “preserve individuals’ privacy,” the administration will fund the Research Coordination Network. At a time when wages aren’t keeping pace with inflation and the average American family is losing real money due to a suffering economy, the government adding an expense like this is an insult to injury. Congress needs to reduce spending, and the Fed needs to slash its bloated balance sheet now more than ever.
One of the most troubling aspects of the EO is its emphasis on regulating AI in the workforce out of concern for the technology displacing workers. Although there has been some uproar out of concern over AI destroying jobs, research shows that only 34% of Americans fear job displacement due to AI.
And for good reason.
Not only now but historically, concerns about new technologies displacing workers have been overblown. A Harvard paper published in 2013 predicted that by 2023, almost half of all American jobs would be replaced by AI. Clearly, the calculation has not come to pass.
That’s because technology is a tool, not a threat. Frequently, implementing AI and technology like it allows humans to do more complex or human-facing jobs that AI can’t do or that people don’t want AI to do.
AI is a transformative technology that has the potential to revolutionize various industries, from healthcare to finance and beyond. In a free market, competition drives innovation and efficiency, benefiting consumers and businesses. Restricting AI through excessive regulations and government oversight threatens this dynamic.
While the intention behind Biden’s EO on AI may be to ensure responsible development and safe use, the economic consequences could be dire. To maintain America’s leadership in AI and foster economic growth, lawmakers and leaders must avoid overregulation and unnecessary restrictions on this transformative technology.
Instead, we should encourage innovation, protect intellectual property, and ensure that AI remains a powerful tool for driving economic prosperity and improving the lives of all Americans.
In the fast-paced world of technology, the last thing we need is government interference that hampers progress.
Originally published at Econlib.
Today, I cover:
New Hampshire has displaced Florida as the most economically free state, according to the Fraser Institute’s new Economic Freedom of North America report. The findings demonstrate that, while size and location account for some of a state’s success, free-market friendliness is everything.
This annual report, now in its nineteenth edition (one of us is its lead author), offers a comprehensive analysis of economic freedom using 2021 data (the most recent available). The report defines economic freedom as “the ability of individuals to act in the economic sphere free of undue restrictions.”
The top five states in the report are what one might expect. Unsurprisingly, these top five states tend to spend less, do not have a personal income tax, and have reasonable labor market regulations.
New Hampshire improved its economic freedom score from 7.92 to 7.96 to retake the top spot after losing it in the prior year. Florida fell from the top as it dropped from 7.97 to 7.80. Tennessee declined from 7.85 to 7.73 for third place. Texas inched down from 7.67 to 7.64, and South Dakota fell from 7.73 to 7.59.
Conversely, the least economically free states were New York (4.09), California (4.27), Vermont (4.27), Oregon (4.56), and Hawaii (4.58), all of which lost ground since the last report. Each state has some of the highest rates of taxation and government spending, as well as stringent labor market regulations.
In the freest quartile of states, the population grew on average by one percent in 2022, compared to a 0.1 percent decline in the least free quartile. Americans are voting with their feet in favor of economic freedom, fueling the flood of California and New York refugees pouring into Texas and Florida.
Furthermore, hundreds of research papers have used the index, almost universally finding that more economic freedom correlates with positive outcomes such as higher incomes, faster income growth, lower unemployment, and more entrepreneurial activity.
Bluntly, states with less government spending, lower taxes, and less burdensome labor market regulations have more opportunities for people to flourish.
While the report has many compelling findings, two states stand out: New Hampshire and South Dakota.
New Hampshire has embarked on a journey of economic liberation in recent years. In 2021, the state had significantly reduced taxes and had begun its ongoing quest to abolish interest and dividends taxes, a huge step toward reducing the tax burden. While the state’s taxes are already relatively low, they continue to decline.
New Hampshire does not have a state minimum wage, reducing labor market regulations allowing wages to be market-determined instead of government-mandated. This helps attract young people and others with less experience, training, or education. As a result, household incomes in the Granite State are among the highest in America. Consistently, states with low minimum wages draw more people than average, while states with high minimum wages — California, New York, Illinois — are experiencing out-migration.
Not only businesses, but also parents and students in New Hampshire have seen their freedom expand through school choice, which will help improve economic outcomes. In its commitment to providing school choice for all, the state has implemented education freedom accounts. These accounts empower parents to make educational choices that best suit their children’s needs while promoting a competitive schooling landscape that benefits teachers and students.
South Dakota, too, has made remarkable strides in economic freedom, which became particularly evident during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the state was an exemplar of resilience and recovery, boasting the lowest unemployment rate in the country after the pandemic hit. Its output recovered pre-pandemic levels before any other state, with its real GDP growing by nearly five percent.
Fortunately, the state never issued stay-at-home orders or mask mandates. Instead, state leadership allowed individuals to make decisions concerning personal health and safety, a common theme that has assisted the state’s flourishing.
One key factor contributing to South Dakota’s economic success is its unique tax policies. The state is a rare tax haven with no corporate or personal income taxes and no durational limits on trusts. By allowing families to hold wealth indefinitely within trusts, and letting earners keep more of their hard-won incomes, South Dakota has remained a top spot for entrepreneurs.
This tax-friendly environment in South Dakota reaffirms a fundamental economic principle: spending and taxes influence individual choices. As evidenced by the state’s success, people gravitate toward regions with lower tax burdens and more favorable financial policies.
The success stories of New Hampshire and South Dakota underscore the power of economic freedom in fostering human flourishing. In a society where consumers are free to choose, businesses must continually improve the quality and affordability of their products and services. This dynamic situation fuels increased productivity and benefits everyone in the economy.
Economic freedom isn’t just about lower taxes. It encompasses a broader spectrum of policies that allow individuals to make decisions about their lives, finances, and education. It’s about governments empowering people with opportunities rather than restricting or directing activity.
By following New Hampshire and South Dakota’s lead, other states can unleash the power of economic freedom to boost investment, create jobs, improve human flourishing, and make their regions more competitive and attractive places to live.
In a world where economic challenges are ever-present, these states serve as beacons of hope, proving that less government spending, lower taxes, and reduced labor market regulations can pave the way to a brighter economic future, full of greater opportunity for all.
Originally published at Daily Caller.
There’s much to every person’s journey. Mine has many cycles that made me the man I am today. The video above and the document below tells my story of a key cycle that highlights a peak, trough, and subsequent peak on the anniversary of this life-changing event. I've included pictures throughout that will hopefully give you a good perspective.
Moral of the story: Even “rockstars” can make a difference! #LetPeopleProsper
Vance Ginn, Ph.D.