America's First Freedom - April 2014 - 76

P A R T I N G

S H O T
by

David A. Keene

Under Assault, Firearm Company
Makes A Move To Greener Pastures

P

resident Obama seems to really like France's President Fran├žois Hollande.
He should because the two men are kindred spirits. Even before the French
president's recent arrival on our shores it was clear that French socialists and
American "progressives" share a unique ability to ignore history as well as the laws of
human nature and economics when pursuing their ideological objectives.
Hollande's socialists recently raised taxes on the successful to confiscatory levels
in the belief that by doing so they could punish the rich, bring wealth to the state's
coffers and without much real impact on the behavior either of their own citizens
or foreign investors. Any half-educated historian could have told them that action
begets reaction. As a result, a recent report shows that foreign investment in France
has fallen by a whopping 77 percent as investors look for safer and more friendly
places to invest their money, and thousands of French businessmen and women are
fleeing the country.
Those French that President Fran├žois Hollande would turn into serfs aren't
bound to the land as were the men and women abused by French tyrants of an
earlier era. They can and are moving elsewhere, and those who provide the capital
needed for investment and economic growth can and are moving their money
elsewhere as well.
Today's technology has freed the working entrepreneurial classes to move
their businesses and direct their investments to nations that won't confiscate their
earnings, demonize their activity or hamstring their ability to establish and run
businesses that contribute to a nation's wealth. France is now discovering that,
as are the governors of Maryland and many other states in this country.
What is truly amazing is that so many nations and states seem blind to the
consequences of their own policies and just don't understand it when citizens
and job creators demonized by their policies or taxed at exorbitant rates flee to
friendlier climes. Some years ago Beretta, one of the world's most successful firearm
manufacturers, built its first u.s. manufacturing plant in Maryland. The company
found good workers in southern Maryland and became the largest private employer
in the area in which their new plant was located. The future there seemed bright
until the one-party government of Gov. Martin O'Malley went after firearms,
attacked those who manufacture them, raised taxes and made it difficult for the
company to either profitably market or manufacture firearms in the state.
Beretta executives decided that they didn't have to take the sort of treatment
they were receiving at the hands of the O'Malley administration and began
looking for a new home in the u.s. They found one in Tennessee that combines a
firearm-friendly citizenry and government with some of the lowest taxes of any state
to which they could move. Marylanders, like the rulers of France, seem shocked
that anyone would abandon them so cavalierly.
A part of the genius of the federal system designed by this nation's founders
is that the states can experiment with policies of all sorts and that, as Supreme
Court Justice Louis Brandeis observed in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, a "state
may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic
experiments without risk to the rest of the country."
The states' freedom to serve as independent sovereign entities has diminished
in recent years, but in the matter of how and to what degree they tax and regulate

David Keene is the opinion
editor of The Washington
Times and former president
of the National Rifle
Association, where he
continues to serve on the
board of directors.
those who live and do business within
their borders they retain enough
freedom to compete for taxpayers,
entrepreneurs and investment. That's
why people in California, Maryland
and New York, for example, see Texas
Gov. Rick Perry in television ads urging
them to pack up and move to Texas for
a better life, greater freedom and lower
taxes. And, it's why so many are doing
just that.
Travis H. Brown, author of "How
Money Walks", studied irs data from
1995-2010 (the last year for which such
data was available) to determine just
what impact higher state tax rates and
especially state income tax rates have
on people deciding where to move or
locate their businesses. Brown, in his
book, readily acknowledges that people
also move from state to state for other
reasons, but notes that for whatever
reason in the years he studied,
people earning some $2 trillion in
adjusted gross income moved from the
10 highest-taxed states like California,
New York, New Jersey and Maryland
to the 10 states that impose the lowest
tax burden on their citizens-states like
Florida, Tennessee and, yes, Texas.
The evidence is pretty clear, but
governors like Illinois' Pat Quinn or
Maryland's Martin O'Malley are no
more perceptive than the current
rulers of France. Governments that
demonize gun owners, the religious or
the successful drive such people to look
for friendlier homes. Some, like New
York's liberal Gov. Andrew Cuomo,
may consciously want gun owners and
others he doesn't like to leave New
York, but most don't seem to see any
connection between the mistreatment
of their citizenry and the fact that so
many are moving out on them.

America's 1st Freedom (ISSN 1530-8448) Volume 15, No. 4, is published monthly by the National Rifle Association of America, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of America's First Freedom - April 2014

America's First Freedom - April 2014 - 1
America's First Freedom - April 2014 - 2
America's First Freedom - April 2014 - 3
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