Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Red States vs. Blue States

Here's something.

The Mercatus Center has just released a study that examines states’ abilities to meet their financial obligations. It isn't a pretty picture, mostly due to rising health care costs and the burden of government worker pensions.

Here's the thing I found most interesting. Take a look at the top and bottom 10 and notice how Red States states compare to Blue States. (Wikipedia has some handy maps which show voting trends over the past couple of decades.)

Top 10:
1. Alaska
2. South Dakota
3. North Dakota
4. Nebraska
5. Wyoming
6. Florida
7. Ohio
8. Tennessee
9. Montana
10. Alabama

Bottom 10:
50. New Jersey
49. Connecticut
48. Illinois
47. Massachusetts
46. California
45. New York
44. Maryland
43. Hawaii
42. Pennsylvania
41. West Virginia
40. Kentucky

 Pretty definitive, no?

Eight of the top 10 fiscally solvent states are solidly Red; eight of the bottom 10 fiscally solvent states are solidly Blue.

Further, the same striking pattern emerges when we look at other measures of success. I took a look at William P. Ruger and Jason Sorens' latest edition of Freedom in the 50 States. In it, they rank the states by a host of measures of personal and economic freedom. If you take a few minutes to thumb through the various charts, you'll see that Red states consistently outperform Blue states, especially when it comes to fiscal issues.

There was a time when we didn't have the data to determine whether conservative or liberal policies lead to better outcomes over the long run. But that time has long past. We now have many decades of data to examine, and the results are clear: liberal policies don't hold up over time.

And this is true on the world stage as well. Compare East Germany to West Germany, Hong Kong to mainland China, or North Korea to South Korea. In each case we see free market policies along side state-controlled economies within the same culture and time. The free market approach wins every time, and the differences are dramatic.


Anonymous said...

Median Household Income by State (2011)

1 Maryland
2 Alaska
3 New Jersey
4 Connecticut
5 Massachusetts
6 New Hampshire
7 Virginia
8 Hawaii
9 Delaware
10 California
40 Idaho
41 Oklahoma
42 South Carolina
43 New Mexico
44 Louisiana
45 Tennessee
46 Alabama
47 Kentucky
48 Arkansas
49 West Virginia
50 Mississippi

citylover said...

Interesting that the top 10 for personal income also happen to be nearly identical to the worst 10 for states meeting their financial obligations.