Diagnosis for Democracy
Insights into the State of Our Union
A Blog by Rob Tenery, MD


Where are the 'Blue States' Taking this Country?

By Rob Tenery, MD on July 30, 2018

Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California are all called ‘blue states’ because the Democratic Party controls them.  The 'red states' are dominated by the Republicans.

"These (blue) states are drowning in ‘irretrievable’ debt… Connecticut may be the richest state in the country, on a per capita basis, but it's racked up a sizable debt worth more than $53 billion – and it could be taxpayers who are forced to bail out the Constitution State”, according to the former governor of Indiana.

”Someone’s going to the barbershop,’ Mitch Daniels, a Republican, said during an interview with FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on Thursday. “The first will be the taxpayers, already beleaguered in some of these states.”

Connecticut isn’t the only state struggling with a debt crisis: California, Illinois, New Jersey and New York are unable to make pension payments to retired government workers. In Illinois, for instance, vendors wait months to be paid by a government that’s $30 billion in debt, and one whose bonds are just one notch above junk bond status, according to Daniels. New York’s more than $356 billion in debt; New Jersey more than $104 billion; and California more than $428 billion.” *

Tim Worstall reported in Forbes, one of the great conundrums of the American political scene is why the poorer states, known as red states, tend to vote Republican or conservative, while the richer states, the blue ones, tend to vote Democrat. It seems that there's a simple solution to this: the red states aren't actually poorer in terms of the way people live.

Worstall went on to explain that in measuring consumption patterns, it's the blue states that are poor, the red states that are rich. Blue states, like California, New York and Illinois, whose economies turn on finance, trade and knowledge, are generally richer than red states. But red states, like Texas, Georgia and Utah, have done a better job over all of offering a higher standard of living relative to housing costs. Red state economies based on energy extraction, agriculture and suburban sprawl may have lower wages, higher poverty rates and generally lower levels of education on average than those of blue states — but their residents also benefit from much lower costs of living. For a middle-class person, the American dream of a big house with a backyard and a couple of cars is much more achievable in low-tax Arizona than in deep-blue Massachusetts. As Jed Kolko, chief economist of Trulia, recently noted, housing costs almost twice as much in deep-blue markets ($227 per square foot) than in red markets ($119).

Although income inequality is important, what really matters to people about how life is lived is consumption--- levels of consumption and also consumption inequality. That is important in a political sense currently because consumption inequality just hasn't widened out as much as income and wealth inequality have. Levels of consumption is really what income or wealth is--- the ability to purchase consumption. If you're in a place where prices are lower, leading to greater consumption of food, or square feet of housing, or leisure, the red states aren't poorer than the blue states, but richer. That's why they vote more conservative.

Blue states have enjoyed higher economic growth rates on average than red states since the Great Recession. But since the mid-2000s, the business cycle of blue states have increasingly diverged from that of their red counterparts. The average disparity in GDP growth between red states and blue states has hovered around 3.5% since the recession ended.

These blue states are examples of out of control entitlement programs and loose enforcement of the immigration laws by their Democratic majority governance. An increasing number of red states are being pounded by the ‘growing outcry’ of progressive liberals to put them in office so they can repeal the new tax law, open up Medicaid or Medicare for everyone and do away with ICE.

The question they have failed to adequately answer is who is going to pay for these changes. New Democratic socialist superstar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s answer is the government and the top 1% of the income earners. Even Bernie Sanders does not go that far.

It is hard to believe the Socialist wing of the Democratic Party will continue to move to the left even further. Socialism hasn’t worked in nearly 100 other countries. Denmark’s Democratic Socialism, often held up as an example, has a wide range of welfare benefits. As a result, they also have the highest taxes in the world. Social egalitarianism (equality) is considered the most important value in Denmark, but not in the United States. While small businesses thrive in Denmark, what is encouraged is dependence while the enteaupreneurial spirit is not rewarded as in capitalistic systems.

Along with a biased mass media, those who live off the Federal entitlement programs, the explosion of millennial voters, liberal professors, illegal immigrants who have anchor babies that are both included in the U.S. Census on representation in the U.S. House of Representatives which counts in the Electoral College, are putting this country on a one-way path to socialism.

Is there a way to stop this spiral into socialism? At the least into Democratic Socialism? Probably not! Most, if not all, democracies fail. The average time is 200 years. So this country, at 240 years, is overdue.

Maybe Trump, and probably Trump alone, with his upset win, and apparent ability to withstand the onslaught of almost constant criticism that is coming at him, not only from the Democrats, but many in his own Party, can change the course this country is headed.

It’s not just by the Executive Orders that he issues to countermand many of the policies of Obama, but several administrations as far back as Reagan. Trumph’s legacy may well be to insure a conservative Supreme Court for at least a generation and to fill the vacancies in the District Courts with judges who will adhere to the principles outlined by the founders of our Constitution, instead of judges who legislate from the bench.

* Megan Henney, July 26, 2018 U.S. Economy Fox Business News





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