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.)
2. South Dakota
3. North Dakota
50. New Jersey
45. New York
41. West Virginia
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.