Get out free

With the benefit of hindsight, I can look back on Ernest Hemingway's famous dismissal of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1926 line "the very rich are different from you and me" with his own "yes, they have more money" and argue that Hemingway, not Fitzgerald, got it wrong. He should have said, "Yes, they have more wheels."

If you want evidence of the mobility of the affluent, you need look no further than the histories of class-based urban regentrification or suburban-migration patterns or the various analyses of upper-income-quintile tax avoidance behaviors.

There seems to be quite a noticeable correlation between Wealth and Mobility: folks with more W also display more M.

Montpelier's Golden Dome folks, who have been making remarkable progress in moving the state's economic base away from the old earned-income triad of agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism, towards a new unearned-income monad of passive cash flow in forms ranging from the pension check to the trustfunder stipend, should take careful note: their favored new constituencies of pensioner-retirees, rich kids, and tax-loss "businesspersons" are a lot more potentially mobile, should they become displeased, than the traditional Vermonter population of relatively-low-liquid-wealth farmer, machine-shop operator, or bed-and-breakfast owner ever was.

It's not my intent here to support or denigrate the New-Vermont economic model designed by the Golden Dome folks, even though they themselves aren't at all open about the overarching social-engineering objectives of their taxation, land-use, business-climate, and regulation policies, but it is my intent to caution them; unlike farms, machine-shops, and Victorian houses which can't move, their favored new wealth base is much higher in both W and M. They can vote with their feet if it becomes disenchanted with its chosen leaders.

Such studies as Rich States/Poor States, published last year by the American Legislative Exchange Council, are filled with statistics on the observed mobility of high W&M folks ( my phrase, not theirs) when faced with new or cumulative governmental behaviors - taxation or regulation, typically - they find distasteful.

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