Each year 24/7 Wall St. publishes the results of its survey of all 50 states and then ranks them from top to bottom — from “best run” to “worst run.” CNBC does the same, only with a more concentrated focus on the business environment in each state, and then ranks the states on their overall “measure of competitiveness.” The Mercatus Center at George Mason University looks at all 50 states from the perspective of individual freedom and then ranks the states based on its Index of Personal and Economic Freedom.

The parallels and correlations between economic and business performance and personal freedom are clear and persuasive: When state governments stay within their limits of protecting lives and enforcing contracts, the states thrive. And vice versa.

A Heritage Foundation study has concluded that a full employment recovery from the Great Recession isn't likely until after the next presidential election in 2016, and even that may be too optimistic.

In the wake of the November 6 elections, voters have approved a number of contentious state initiatives, including a $6-billion-a-year bundle of tax increases sponsored by California Governor Jerry Brown. Proposition 30, a focal point of Brown’s administration, would increase the sales tax by 0.25 cent for the next four years, while raising income taxes on those earning more than $250,000 for the next seven years.

On January 1, 2013, many new taxes are set to begin. Unless Congress and the White House can agree by year's end on an extension of tax cuts that have been in place for most of the past decade, workers will see an increase in the taxes taken out of their paychecks next year and a loss in the amount they claim for deductions when it comes time to pay their 2013 taxes.

According to an October 16 memorandum prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) for the Senate Budget Committee, the federal government spent $746 billion on means-tested welfare programs in 2011. As the U.S. Census Bureau notes, there were 16.8 million households living below the poverty level in America in 2011. In other words, if the federal government were to give this money directly to the impoverished households, all 16.8 million households would have received over $44,000. This is double the 2011 federal poverty rate of $22,350 for a family of four, and nearly double the 2012 poverty rate of $23,050 for a family of four.