Heartland Events

An Evening with Stephen Moore and Travis H. Brown: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States

The Heartland Institute
1 S. Wacker Drive #2740
Chicago, Illinois 60606
July 17, 2014, 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Join The Heartland Institute for a special event with Heritage Foundation chief economist Stephen Moore and How Money Walks author Travis H. Brown. They will be discuss their new book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States in our library Thursday, July 17th at 5:30 p.m.

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States explains why eliminating or lowering tax burdens at the state level leads to economic growth and wealth creation. A passionate argument for tax reform, the book shows that even states with small populations can benefit enormously with the right policies. The authors’ detailed exposition evaluates the impact state and local government policies have on a state’s relative performance and economic growth overall, backed up with economic data and analysis.

Facts don’t lie. But they do point clearly to the failure of so-called progressive tax schemes designed more to curry favor with selected constituencies than to create an economic system that leads to individual wealth as the reward for hard work and entrepreneurial risk taking. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States is a detailed and critical look at income taxation across the nation, and drills down into an analysis of the economic growth or malaise that results from tax policy.

Arguing eloquently that a state cannot tax itself into prosperity, just as the impoverished cannot spend themselves into wealth, the authors point out what many inherently know but often fear to say out loud.

The book provides detailed quantitative analysis, and discusses the policy variables that can have enormous effects on the financial well-being of states and individual residents, such as:

- Personal and corporate income tax rates
- Total tax burden as a percentage of personal income
- Estate and inheritance taxes
- Right-to-work laws

What They're Saying About the Book:

"Wow! This compelling, comprehensive book will be the bible for state and local leaders who truly want rapid economic growth. It will profoundly, positively change politics and economics in America."

Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media 

“For the economist, the relocation decision offers a fascinating insight into the differences between attractive and repellent environments. If every state were exactly the same—same economy, same laws, same weather—the relocation decision wouldn’t tell us anything of interest. People would still move, but there wouldn’t be any discernible trends. We’d see the same number of people moving from Cuba to Florida as vice versa. But what if people systematically prefer one kind of jurisdiction over another when they move? . . . as a partial explanation for relocation decisions it’s a fascinating insight, one that informs an important new book by Arthur Laffer, Stephen Moore, Rex Sinquefield, and Travis Brown, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States. The title, borrowed from Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, promises a revolutionary reinterpretation of what makes American states wealthy and, remarkably, the authors deliver on their promise. What they find, in brief, is that low-tax states deliver more wealth without sacrificing the social services that tax revenues are supposed to fund. They also find that people move in massive numbers from high- to low-tax states.”

F.H. BuckleyThe American Spectator, May 14, 2014

"Left wing, right wing, liberal, conservative, Democrat or Republican, Arthur Laffer's book, The Wealth of States has the facts and the framework for policymakers and citizens alike. Tapping decades of research and experience in state economics, Laffer, Moore, Sinquefield and Brown communicate clearly the guiding principles to elevate their states-and thus the nation as a whole-to levels of prosperity never before seen.  State and local legislators should base their economic policies on this book-it's a game changer." 

Dick Cheney, 46th Vice President of the United States

“The widening gap in policies and prosperity among the states has been a source of increasing controversy. The migration of people and businesses from high-tax states such as California and Illinois to fast-rising rivals Texas, Nevada, and Florida is creating a divide that, to some observers, mirrors the battle between emerging markets and aging economies in decline. . . . An important new book identifies a major factor that, the authors claim, separates the winners from the laggards: state income taxes . . . . Given the authors' pedigree, the conclusions are predictable: Imposing income taxes inevitably leads to economic decline and enriches the competing states that don't have them. What gives their arguments credence is the staggering wealth of data summoned to support their claims.”

Shawn Tully, senior editor-at-large, Fortune, April 18, 2014.

About the Authors:

Stephen Moore, who formerly wrote on the economy and public policy for The Wall Street Journal, is chief economist at The Heritage Foundation. Moore, who also was a member of The Journal’s editorial board, returned to Heritage in January 2014 —about 25 years after his tenure as the leading conservative think tank’s Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Budgetary Affairs from 1984 to 1987.

As chief economist at Heritage, Moore focuses on advancing public policies that increase the rate of economic growth to help the United States retain its position as the global economic superpower. He also works on budget, fiscal and monetary policy and showcases states that get fiscal houses in order.

Follow Stephen on Twitter.



Travis H. Brown is the CEO and co-founder of Pelopidas, LLC, a St. Louis-based public affairs and advocacy firm. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes.com, a nationally sought-after speaker, and the author of How Money Walks, a book that explores how wealth and people move between the states. Brown regularly discusses the book’s findings on national media outlets, including CNBC and Fox Business.

Brown has an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Missouri and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. He has two decades of state and local lobbying experience and has worked in one-third of the 50 states. After a diverse career in corporate sales, marketing, and government affairs, Brown co-founded Pelopidas LLC in 2007.

Brown is a leading advocate for state tax reform within and beyond the Midwest. He regularly consults with governors, legislators, and think-tank scholars about issues related to income tax reform.

Brown lives in St. Louis with his wife, Pelopidas co-founder Rachel Keller Brown. He is an avid sportsman, pilot, wine collector, chess enthusiast, and world traveler.

Follow Travis on Twitter here and here.