Red State vs. Blue State
In almost every category, Americans are better off living in a Blue state. On Friday, Politico Magazine released a list of state rankings, using respected sources like the Census Bureau, the FBI, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What they found was stunning. On average, Americans living in Red states had lower wealth per capita, were more likely to be living in poverty, had shorter life expectancy, higher rates of infant mortality, and lower overall wellbeing.
Republicans love to say that lower taxes, less regulation, and pro-business policies benefit Americans, but this report proves that people are suffering in states that adopt those principles. Americans who live in Blue states tend to have lower rates of obesity, higher scores in reading and math, and higher per capita income. Progressive policies like stronger social safety nets, higher corporate taxes, and larger investments in education and infrastructure actually benefit people living in those states.
This report provides an incredible snapshot of how Republican policies effect Americans. Yet, in the face of these overwhelming statistics, Republicans want to enact these extreme policies nationwide. They want to slash our national safety net, eliminate corporate taxes, create a national right-to-work-for-LESS law, and privatize education and our commons. These policies don't work for the people in Red states, and they won't improve life for Americans if they were instituted on a national scale. This is why elections matter, and this is why we must enact progressive policies that actually benefit all Americans, regardless of the state in which they reside.
I hate when Thom and Politico do things like this because they are misleading. Of course things will be better in states that spend more than others. look at the debt per capita. the blue states debt is though the roof. What happens when you run out of lenders and money. Greece thats what happens. No wonder all the blue states want to nationalize everything they are in big trouble. What is scary is that people by into the crap.
Poor states vote republican because if they don't, they are afraid Companies will leave and unemployment will get worse. Also because of racism. The red states are ok with entitlements they are just not OK with "those" people getting them.
They aren't poor because they vote Republican. They are poor because it is their class, unfortunately and as most of this site has pointed out, there is a inequality problem in America.
Kend -- Every state in the union is required to have a balance budget except Vermont. What are you talking about? If you are talking about bonds floated to support investment in the future of the states, you are right. The main reason the debt per capita is so high in blue states are the repugs refusing to raise taxes to invest in the future. In CA we got rid of that repug control and now are debt per capita has been lessened.
I got a kick out of Thom's report in today's show about the NSA propaganda cartoons targeting children. And here I thought it was only adult programming that was doing that...like one of my favorite TV shows..Person Of Interest. So now they are grooming the modern day Hitler youth to spy on us all for the ruling elite. They'll be so brainwashed that they will even turn their parents in for saying anything bad against the state. Which, of course, will only be a confirmation of what the state already knows mommy and daddy tweeted.
America's CryptoKids..Future Codemakers & Codebreakers cartoon featuring the cool dude green turtle and a host of other cute little sleaze-toon characters.
Remember kiddies...it's illegal to break cryptologic codes protecting the privacy of people's files unless, of course, you are doing it for the NSA!
Kend, what would be really scary would be if anybody would by into your crap. I swear you're really getting even more careless and sloppy. You so obviously just made up a bunch of shit.
Greece's problem is the European Union which is the worst of both worlds. It's like the Articles of Confederation in the Early American History. Neither do member states have the independence to solve their problems themselves nor does the Union have a centralized mechanism for solving regional problems within it. It's no wonder a majority of the people on the continent are anti EU.
Where is the link to the report? I don't see it.
11 of the first 12 states are blue states are the highest debt per capita. Alaska a red state is #1 at $31,000 per person. Then in thousands the next 11 are blue states I quit at a dozen I think I made my point.
NJ - 29, HI - 29, CT - 27, IL - 21, OH - 21, RI -18, CA - 16, DE - 16, MA - 15, NY - 15. remember you also owe about $53,000 each for the fed debt.
So I guess if I listen to this report if my neighbor is in debt up to his eye balls, but he has a big $1,000,000 home, $250,000 RV, a $80,000 Caddy and a $80,000 Corvette, $50,000 speed boat, etc etc. but doesn't have a penny to his name he is doing better than the other neighbor with a $200,000 home a ford fusion and a mini van that is paid. I don't think so. sooner or later you have to pay for everything.
I guess it doesn't matter your grand children will pick up the tap.
sorry but how am I wrong here.
Kend - I have tried not to get down on anyone, even when they do not know what they are talking about. On Friday, I disagreed with many of the people who are afraid of the NSA and made statements that sounded completely biased, fearful and not based on facts concerning our 4th Amend. But, you make it difficult not to be sharped tongued, because you keep putting your foot in your mouth or in an even lower extremity of your body. I have lived my whole life in California, a blue state with a Dem. Gov. and a over whelming Dem. legislators in our Capital, with the exception of my military service. Yes, we have had some bad years, primarily because of our Republican Presidents screwing up our economy nationwide and a few Republican governors who put us in the red while claiming it was necessary to cut our educational programs and other parts of our great State in an attempt to privatize as much of our state as they could. NOW, we have Gov. Brown a moderate DEMOCRAT and we are gaining jobs faster than the national average, in the black not the red on the books, have reinvested in our schools and have put large sums of capital in a "savings account for any future catastrophe that might hit the state like a devastating earthquake (we have perfect weather here as you know, 69 degrees with a slight ocean breeze today in S. CAL., but mother nature gave us earthquakes to even things out!) So before you start to rattle off some more of your right wing propaganda, try checking the facts first, before you say the blue states are in trouble. As each year passes we have a lower and lower debt, thanks to the work of our Democrat Gov. and Legislators and the policies they have created. What is scary, is they let guys like you near a computer to spread your right wing propaganda and those that actually believe it. Also, you sure talk a lot about the states when you are a Canadian, who visits that hell hole of a red state, Az.! You know, the state that runs more like a military dictatorship with a racist governor who can not help opening her mouth and showing how backwards that place is. Gosh, I guess that would be the type of place you would take your vacations in And, by the way, the dirty shale oil you are so proud about exporting to America, it is not for our consumption. The refinery owned by the Koch brothers, will use a few Americans to run the refinery, but the gasoline is for ASIAN CONsumption not for American households. So your keystone pipeline will line the pockets of the K. Bros., while we run the risk of a spill of some the most environmentally unfriendly oil that has ever been produced. Keep your oil we don't need another oil spill like the B.P. spill in the Gulf. K.W. (If California was a country, we would have the 11th. Largest economy in the World, in case you wanted to start knocking our economy. Where does the whole country of Canada come in on that list?)
ken ware: Wow! Right on! Your last comment was fantastic! I hope you don't, however, beat me up too badly from my last comment about 9/11 yesterday...well, from Friday. But, hey, you're most welcome to comment.
Kend, Are you really a progressive just making fun of right wing dweebs with these posts?...because that's how I've been viewing them........ don't mean to blow your cover or anything.
Ken w you are a little tough on AZ. I have never been I a cleaner place in my life. Very friendly people, excellent road systems, low taxes and very low cost of living. my home the is in Scottsdale / Maricopa county and I feel very safe and secure With sheriff Joe running the place. Some of the greatest golf in the world. I love it.
Canada debt per cap. Is about $16,000 per person. I live in Alberta where we have ZERO debt. So I owe $16,000 CAN total compared to your combined debt of about $75,000 USD, Canada was just named the second best place to invest in the world, second only to Hong Kong.
Its ok our "shale oil" is going over seas. We are expecting both a west and a east coast pipeline to be approved shortly. both are in the final stages of there studies and there is very little opposition.
You win. We have given up on Keystone long ago. Be prepared for your energy costs to go up though. Exspecially in the mid west.
The latest figures I could find on Google was for the Fiscal year 2011. Reuters states that California debt per Capita is $3,060 in 2011. In part due to the housing catastrophe created under Bush and that we have the largest population of all the states. Also, that figure includes money borrowed to pay unemployment benefits up to that point. Also that figure includes pension plans that were underfunded by both Republican and Democrat run governors, a problem facing Red States as well. When you start to compare numbers you fail to recognize housing has begun to turn around here and jobless figures have dropped in our state and with more homes being bought, the tax base increases. And with a 1/8th cent per dollar sales tax we are back to balanced books. I am not sure where you came up with your numbers, but I cannot find those numbers anywhere. Please let me know where they came from, so we can compare figures, if you really want to show what is happening here in the Blue States. And when you mention the states with the lowest debt per capita you are not mentioning population that affected the housing collapse due to Wall St. and in Alaska they rely on oil revenue to balance their budgets and not goods production and housing. With a world- wide recession during that time period, it is easy to distort the whole picture when you pick and choose what information to use to back up your numbers and what economic factors skew those numbers. K.W.
You and I both know that America has the largest reserve of oil in the World! Fact. I am sure the reason we keep importing oil is more of a political decision to keep the dividens for the wealthy coming in eacg quarter. If you country is willing to spill that terrible shale oil in your environment, I have no reason to complain. That is a Canadian decision and not an American. Could it be that your country is most favored for investment because your political structure is willing to destroy your environment for cash. Bad Choice for the long run and the children in your country. As far as Az. goes, my younger brother has lived there for the past 10 years I have visited his home once. He wishes he would have stayed here and visits our coast every chance he gets. He moved because of a job opportunity he was given; now he wishes he had made a better choice. Come on guy, of course it looks cleaner and with less traffic, etc. IT IS A FRIGGIN DESERT! I cannot accept your opinion of the people of Az.; just take a look who they have voted for governor and the laws they have passed. Tell me, is it still legal to strap on a gun and go out in public, it was last time I was there! Maybe you drive or fly down to your retirement community and all the nice people who live there because of the winter weather and cost of living is low. Of course it is low, IT IS A FRIGGING DESERT AND FEW PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE THERE! I am not trying to be negative, but you seem to live between two extremes, a frozen landscape with minimal population and desert environment with minimal population. Ever wonder how that might affect your point of view? Just asking buddy....K.W. I hope you take this comment light heartedly, it is not meant to be mean spirited. Talk to you later, got to go out....
Blame FOX and shows like Meet the Right Wing Extremists for the self injurious voting habits of Red Staters...not to say these citizens are totally innocent either......they just need a shot at hearing the plain old truth, and it ain't happening.
The new directive from Uncle Billionaire is for his Teabag House members to message that they in fact are the willing bipartisan public servants...... Obama and the Dems. are the obstructionists for being unwilling to compromise. This is their main message to Red Staters for the midterms. I'm already hearing this over and over, not only from my Teabag Rep.Tommy REED, but many others as well. I'm guessing someone took these guys out, got em drunk, and drilled this into their little heads. Of course they had to keep the message simple.....
Palin - I respect your point of view on 911. There are many people who do agree with you, I am just not one of them. Hey, if we all thought the same, it would be a boring world to live in. We can agree to disagree without being mean spirited. I now try not to be the guy who is always ragging on someone for their point of view, within reason. People change as they grow. I think I have begun to mellow out since my baby-grandson Aiden has arrived. Have good night, gotta go....K.W.
I got it from "stastia" I googled per capita debt by state. I don't know how to cut and paste it on my ipad. I am not very good at this stuff. My point is the blue states have more debt and they do. right? Of course things are getting better they had nowhere to go but up.
To be fair I am only there in the winter. I dont have to live there all year. That would be a nightmare. You make a good point about me living in low populated places. I hate traffic. Canada has only 33 million people, That's less then the population of California.
I take it you have never being up here. If you where here you would know how pristine our environment is. We have the strictest environmental laws in the world. Every oilfield site has to be returned to its original state. Some of the best trout fishing in the world is right in the middle of the city I live in. Come on up and get out of the smog. Breath the fresh pine air. But come in the summer buddy. I don't think you would make it here in the winter. But if you did I like less than a hour and a half from six world class ski resorts.
Glad to have you back.
Alice, did you hear Thom go on and on about how all the homeless are "paranoid schizophrenics"? How assinine! Doesn't he know that defining an entire group of people by the anecdotal evidence of the few that he "passes by on the way to work" is how bigoted stereotypes are born?
I mean, I love the guy but DAMN! He thinks he's God's gift to talk radio and everything else!
He is God's gift to talk radio - I don't know about everything else - but he's gotta be called out on this! I'll go to war even with him on it!
I know the homeless MUCH better than he may EVER! Defining them by a conspicuous few who make a constant spectacle of themselves is just a textbook example of that kind of stereotyping. Quite a lot, if not most, homeless people are very discreet about their housing status and you would be shocked to find out they were homeless. They don't give any appearance - don't look or act homeless in any way. That's a necessary strategy for their survival. To survive in the wilderness it doesn't matter if your shoes match, only if they're warm and dry. To survive in the city you have to look and act right or have the door slammed in your face and you won't be able to go inside anywhere when the Polar Vortex comes.
The homeless, thus, are a diversely various group. The majority are not mentally ill, the mentally ill amongst the homeless are comparably anomolous to the broader society and experience the same social outcast status among their fellow homeless people that they do from the society at large.
Our workers' organization (that I wrote about on the forum) started as a project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. We organized straight out of the shelters and dealt with the population that was "one paycheck away", that was now homeless, now not and now homeless again, i.e., aptly called "precarious" workers who moved in and out of homelessness with some regularity or were just not too far from being on the streets.
Amongst the poor, working poor, as it were, the poor minorities, poor whites, the ghettoes, housing projects, "trailer trash" homelessness is a routine occurrance, just a fact of life. Given their poverty - and precarity - it's simply logical that anyone from those stratas and segments of society are very likely to be homeless at one time or another - and, indeed, they often are. Almost everybody from that part of society has someone close to them who is or had been homeless if, in fact, they hadn't been homeless themselves. Amongst the lower classes it's simply routine and commonplace. I've even known completely sober, most uninsane, poor laborers make a rational choice to be homeless - to sleep in the park for a while, for example - because housing costs were so forbidding and they either wanted to save some money for some purpose - like for a car so they could leave town - or just because they wanted more money left from their paychecks than if they paid almost all of it in housing costs.
The most together, most sober, most uninsane people I'd ever known were a homeless family, a homeless couple with their homeless children, of which the parents sat with me on the Board of Directors of our workers' center.
In the '90s, a study by the University of Illinois found that 8% of the population of Illinois had been homeless at one time or another. Because people are commonly don't like to say they had been homeless the researchers thought the actual number could be significantly higher. Thus, they surmised,10% or more of the population of Illinois could've been homeless at one time or another.
Another study found that what distinguished the homeless from the rest of the population was that the homeless didn't have any family, or any family of any means, to back them up if things went wrong in their lives.
Now, for people who come from a middle to upper class background - who'd always had a full refrigerator and a nice place to live; whose lives went seamlessly from idyllic childhood, to highschool, prom, to college, to gainful career; who think that not only their basic needs have to be met but that everything in their lives has to be esthetically pleasing as well - for them, far from being routine and commonplace, homelessness is just unthinkable and unimaginable and just beyond anything. As far as they are concerned homeless people simply have to be insane or some kind of unfathomable aliens.
I guess there really are "two Americas".
Wow I have to agree with cop out here if that's what thom said He is way off.
WOW Mark, you might actually be on to something where ole Thom is concerned. I wasn't listening to him today, but I'll take your word for it. And I agree, that sucks. Thom's doing the public a huge disservice by stereotyping homeless people this way. While I think it's a safe bet that many (maybe even a majority) of schizophrenics are homeless, that does NOT translate to a majority of homeless people being schizophrenics. It's hard for me to believe Thom actually intends to instill such a stereotype of homelessness in his listeners' minds; but whether he does or not, he needs to be called out on this.
Schizophrenia aside, it seems to me that homelessness could be the cause of mental illness rather than the end result. Anyone who can live in such hideous circumstances for any length of time and keep their sanity would have to be made of sturdy stuff, mentally as well as physically.
Anyway Mark, I think you should try to get on Thom's radio show and address this issue with him. You have been an advocate for the homeless; you've had more than superficial contact with these folks and have seen that side of reality first-hand. You obviously know what you're talking about. I really think Thom could use a good stiff shot of your perspective on this. Thom's not cocky or arrogant; on many occasions I've heard him cop to inaccuracies and/or back down in debates or discussions where it seemed appropriate. He doesn't have to be right all the time. You seem more than qualified to set him straight. I'm certain that if you're respectful and civil towards Thom (as I'm sure you will be) and present your case persuasively enough, he will listen with an open mind. - Aliceinwonderland
ken ware: You're freaking me out, ken! But in a very good way. ;-} I'm happy for you that your grandson is bringing you great joy!
Responding to the post about Greece and debt ...
Respectfully, I seems you are saying either we should return to the days of pre-Reagan tax cuts to fund those things that made this country great - lisic relatively free upper education, buildina infrastructure the world has never before seen, and the technologthat hat revolution end our lives -or - throw our hands up into the air and join the working poor. There is plenty to feed , house, educate, anof provide healthcare. Uncontrolled debt is merely a symptom of giving up our political control - hence what we see ilost antes owned by corporate power.
The study cited by Thom is interesting but not surprising. It would be interesting to delve deeper to probe "why" - and why the states seem to follow similarities - including geographical and demographic similariyies. At the same time, funny how progressives ore arson through the issues". Why do people vote against their own best interest? cultural values? Religion? Limited educational opportunities? Type of work? (Of course they look at progressives as "Harvard Elites" .are wonder why having greater opportunity, health benefits, higher pay, and longer life expectancy is considered somethifor for the elites. Damn, I'd sure like some of that elite stuff!!
Quote richinfolsom:Why do people vote against their own best interest? cultural values? Religion? Limited educational opportunities? Type of work?Indeed! And why do people get taken in by "insider traders" or manipulators who hype bogus stock in order to pump up the values, then sell out before the stock takes a tumble? Big poker game isn't it?
Thom I watch your show everyday on FSTV. I have been warning friends and work associates for over 40 years about the take over of our Republic by plutocrats, but no one wanted to hear about what was happening and the history of the conflict of capital and labor since before the founding of our country. I read your latest book Crash of 2016. The book is a great source of information that encapsulates what I have and continue to try and educate my generation
I agree with your assessment of Blue States vs Red States, but I noticed that my state, NC, was Blue. Was this a mistake, given the extreme "fright" turn of NC. I was active during the campaign of 2012 and was at polling stations asking people why they would vote for candidates that were going to change our progressive state into one of the crazy Red States. Not one of those who supported McClure or Romney could give me one reason why they were voting for them.
I am 70 years old and extremely angry and frustrated with my generations attitudes and dillusions about the loss of our Republic. They seem to be brainwashed by the propaganda of right wing media and they parrot their dogma. I believe generations should be judged by how they improve the general conditions for the next generations. Sadly, I believe my generation, who enjoyed the benefits and opportunities provided by our fathers' generation, have failed this test. Future generations will pay the price for our apathy and ignorance.
I am confused by your response, especially the part about progressive being the educated elite. The history of progressive movements, throughout history, has come from the people not the elites. Look at the Gilded Age and how over time, with the help of a free press and the leadership of reformers, the people were able to overcome the Plutocracy that had destroyed our Republic. Why do people vote against their own interest, is a question as old as known history. During most of recorded history, people did not enjoy the right to vote or any other rights. However, the masses had to be controlled by those in power and they did this through laws, taxes and fear. As civilization evolved they used class warfare to control the masses and maintain their power. Today, we see this strategy in the attacks on education, the poor and people’s prejudices to keep the masses from looking at the real problem –the oligarchs and corporations.
I think it is curious that all the States that formed the Confederacy are “red”. Just as the vast majority of the soldiers in the army of the South were not slave owners, they were convinced that their cause was the same as the aristocracy’s. They were given enemies to distract them from the facts that most of them ranked just above that of a slave. Ignorance and constant propaganda, promoted by modern technology, makes this tactic even more effective today.
Thanks Alice and Kend for your supportive comments (and sorry Kend, I'm a bare knuckles debater and you really piss me off all the time with, what seems to me to be, willfull bullshitting but you're, nevertheless, not without decency). I can't call Thom now because I'm working a liittle job now in the 2-5pm CST time slot that his show is on but he reads the blog and I try to reach him that way.
If Thom was bringing up examples of schizophrenic homelessness as an issue of our society's neglect of the mentally disabled or of a denial of their basic human rights he would have something legitimate but to say that homelessness in America is predominately or largely due to schizophrenia is to say something that is simply not the fact. Nobody who works with or studies the homeless would agree with such a statement, in fact, they would think it a quite outlandish. It is, actually, a statement I heard repeated by some rather obtuse, Archie Bunker type bigots ever since H.W. Bush made it and gave them liscence to dismiss the problem of homelessness that way.
The mentally ill are actually less likely to be homeless than the rest of the population as they are of the last group that gets any benefit from our ravaged and pillaged social safety net. It ostensibly doesn't offend the ostensible work ethic of ostensible conservatives in their ostentatious moralizing. That is, they (conservatives) are (ostensibly) okay with paying benefits to the disabled (In Illinois, for example, an unemployed or low wage earning, unmarried male qualifies for Medicaid only if they are disabled). It's even become a regular practice for social workers and social service providers, in their frustration at finding their clients jobs or get them public assistance, to see if they can somehow construe a disability benefit for a nervous disorder or something.
What is true, though, is that psychiatric hospitals on the state funded level, are very unwilling to hospitalize people unless they are demonstratively immediately dangerous to themselves or others. Even then they try to see if they can somehow avoid committing them. Hospitals are required (ostensibly) by law to take someone into their psych. unit not only if they are dangerous to themselves or others but also if they are unable to provide for their basic needs but if they don't come in with a razor blade stuck in their wrist a state hospital isn't likely to take them, even then they might skirt it.
Some social service agencies have "mobile assessment units", teams of social workers who drive around looking for mentally ill homeless people to see if they can bring them into some care and get them on disability insurance but they can't do anything if people don't wanna come in which is where the paranoid schizophrenia comes into it. I'm glad anybody can refuse psychiatric care. Before, when they couldn't, political dissidents or people found inconvenient or who had a lot of money that could be gotten from them were involuntarily committed for some dubious reasons but now, though someone can be comitted for being dangerous or unable to take care of themselves, social workers often can't even get a cop to bother picking them up..
There is a lot of intellectual elitism on the Left and it is a problem of no small magnitude. It causes us to lose the blue collar worker to the Republican Party as the Right Wing PR machine knows just how to reach and how to talk to that essential demographic. I would say that the Left is in many ways its own worst enemy.
The debt you're talking about, I think, is state employee pension debt. That, however, and many other problems of the states, I think, can be placed at the feet of people like Grover Norquist, G.W. Bush's main tax advisor, who admittedly wanted to bankrupt the states.
Mark, this afternoon I'd just turned the radio on when I heard someone named Mark call in to Thom's show, wanting to talk about the homeless, or some aspect of their situation. For a minute or two I got pretty excited, thinking it was you; but then as the conversation continued, my excitement faded. The caller made no mention of schizophrenics or stereotyping, so it obviously wasn't you. Your post further confirms this.
It's too bad your work schedule interferes with your ability to call Thom while he's on the air. Maybe I should try doing it. If I succeed, I will certainly update you with his response.
I've always been disgusted and sickened by the stigma placed on homelessness. It's hard enough dealing with those circumstances without everyone assuming you're mentally ill. - AIW
Mark S -- I hope Thom reads your stuff
KW and esp Kend -- You are viewing the debt in a one-dimensional frame. No serious economist views it as you do. The debt that matters is the ratio of debt (the one you guys talk about) to the GDP. Even the extreme right wing economists Reinhart and Rogoff in their bogus report paid for Pete Peterson talks about no country can survive if that ratio exceeds 90% (they did not mention anything about how many trillions the debt would be before failure of the country). As a side note, a graduate from UMass got the R-R spreadsheets and exposed the fact they left off countries that recovered from debt far worse than 90%.
Using my grandson and the dumping of debt on him can illustrate the complexities of understanding why the ratio is the important statistic, Assuming the current per capita debt is $6000 let us see what happens between increasing the debt some more vs applying austerity, It has been shown that currently govt expenditures have a 60% return. For the state to go further into debt would involve such things as paying for his education. The first case to consider is doing nothing. In the case we can assume some nominal salary for my grandson. The number does not matter except for comparison and illustration. Let's assume he would make $70,000 annual salary if we do nothing. If the state were to go into further debt to $10,000 per capita, then with a return of 60% my grandson (he is now 3 yo and the joy of my life) would make $76,400 annual salary. If we apply austerity and reduce the debt to $2000 per capita his annual salary would become $63,600. This means that he has $12,800 more to pay off the $8000 more in debt. It seems to me having a $10,000 debt is better than having a $2000 debt.
I forgot to mention my saying "Increase the deficit, reduce the debt"
Looking at the list of the 10 poorest states, all except Montana are east of (or border on) the Mississippi River. That means they are older states. Those nine also happen to be concentrated in the South. This is significant: They were all slaveholding states. They focused on producing commodities, whereas the northern states produced more value-added goods, more manufactured goods, more capital-intensive goods. Combined with national policies that conferred economic advantages on the relatively industrialized, higher capitalized North—policies that created some of the friction that led to the Civil War—the South’s economic development lagged.
As is common in societies based on producing raw commodities, the Old South had an elite that owned the land and employed a poorly educated workforce to plant, tend, and harvest the crops. Historically, then, education was of less importance, and therefore emphasized less, in the South than in the North—a trend that contributed ongoing economic advantages to the North.
After the Civil War, Republican carpetbaggers from the North kicked around the defeated South, further widening the economic gap between the two regions. One political consequence was that the Deep South was monolithically Democratic for the next century. Only in the last generation, when the secular counterculture took over the Democratic Party, did many Southerners finally bury the distant past and register as Republicans.
In short, those nine erstwhile slaveholding states have been lagging behind the northern states economically for two centuries. Just because one generation of leaning Republican has not eliminated a disparity that was entrenched for centuries, it is not an indictment of Republicans.
As for Montana, whose people elect Democrats and Republicans to statewide office with almost equal frequency, its economic status has a geographical cause. Montana is remote and its climate is harsh; consequently, it has never attracted enough people to achieve an economic “critical mass” to advance much beyond the commodity-related businesses of farming, ranching, and mining. That is why it has lagged economically—not because of anything Republicans have done.
Another common mistake in economic analysis, seen often, for example, in the (irrational) rationale that liberals use when resisting cuts in marginal tax rates, is to adopt a static rather than dynamic view—to see life and economic conditions in terms of snapshots rather than as a motion picture. In the politically motivated attempt to blame Republicans for the lower incomes in the 10 poorest states, Thom Hartmann have taken one snapshot—of the census’ income statistics—and combined it with another snapshot—of current political leanings—to create the impression that Republican policies make America poorer.
The more important factor is not the economic ranking of states at a point in time, but the overall trends. An important article by John Merline compared the economic performance of blue states and red states during the presidency of Barack Obama. The trend of economic indicators clearly favors Republican states. Democratic states have experienced lower growth in both jobs and income in the last few years. Home prices have fallen further in blue states, and their unemployment rates are higher. In other words, a dynamic economic analysis of the states casts a far more favorable light on Republican states than static analysis. Since real life is dynamic, not static, Republicans can make the stronger case about which party is best suited to lead the way to greater prosperity.
The most fundamental difference between the data that conservatives prefer—that the 10 poorest cities are longtime Democratic strongholds—and the data that liberals will be more inclined to cite—that the 10 poorest states are predominantly Republican, is that conservatives can point to actual policies that Democrats implemented that contributed to the impoverishment of the cities, while the liberals cannot point to specific GOP policies that have caused the poorer states to lag behind.
The Democratic case is illusory and circumstantial; the Republican case is solid and substantial. However, in a country where so many people are economically and historically illiterate, combined with the human proclivity whereby “a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest” (Paul Simon, “The Boxer”), the Democrats may be able to score some points with a hollow argument. The Republicans, though, have the facts on their side.
There may be three republican TV responses to the State of the Union Address tomorrow. How could we get a response from the Democratic progressive caucus covered by the media? Someone needs to point out that republican budget cuts are called austerity outside the US and it is generally recognized as a harmful strategy. Politico does us a favor by pointing out austerity has already weakened most red states in the US.