In this current recession, the fiscal pain is spread across the entire country, but some states are doing better than others. Forbes magazine has done a state-by-state analysis and found that states that vote liberal Democrat the most (i.e. “Blue” states)are suffering the worst, while Red states are doing the best.
The top 5 worst states—Illinois, New York, Connecticut, California, and New Jersey—and eight of the top 10 (add in Massachusetts, Ohio, and Wisconsin) are all very blue states. The top 5 best states are Utah, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia. While New Hampshire and Virginia are said to lean Democratic, New Hampshire is a very fiscally conservative state, which still doesn’t have an income tax and which doesn’t have a “professional” legislature perpetually in session.
(Solidly one-party means that the party has an advantage of 10 percent or greater in party affiliation over the other; leaning means a 5- to 10-percent advantage.)
Forbes’ metrics for each state included unfunded pension liabilities, changes in tax revenue, credit ratings, debt as a percentage of Gross State Product, debt per capita, growth expectations for employment and the state economy, net migrations and a “moocher ratio” that compares government employees, pension burdens and Medicaid enrollees to private-sector employment.
None of the 10 worst states are solidly Republican and only one, Mississippi, leans slightly Republican, i.e. less than 5-percentage-point advantage in party enrollment.
And why are we doing so much worse?
It comes down to stronger unions and a larger appetite for public programs, according to Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political studies and public affairs at the University of Illinois’ Center for State Policy and Leadership.
Strong unions, by their endorsement power, create an incentive in Democrat politicians to throw pork in the direction of union members, like big construction projects and more social services. And Democrats generally like Nanny Government that creates a program for every human need, not to mention the rampant nepotism, patronage, and corruption that overwhelming one-party by either party typically brings.
We shouldn’t discount the effect that differtent industries have on the rankings. Many of these bastions of unionism are also big manufacturing centers, which are doing the worst in this recession. Agricultural Nebraska is going to do much better than automaking Michigan, for instance.[Link via Bluegrass Pundit]