From Robert Whitcomb’s Digital Diary, in GoLocal24.com
The sort of ratings done by the likes of U.S. News & World Report are flawed because they’re always comparing, in varying degrees, apples and oranges, but they can suggest some interesting things.
Consider, for instance, U.S. News’s latest rankings of the states, which evaluate the states’ economies, including business climate, health care, education, transportation infrastructures, environmental protection and so on.
The “best’’ were, in order: Washington, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Utah, Vermont, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Colorado. The “worst’’ were: Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Arkansas, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Pennsylvania (the middle of Pennsylvania topographically and socio-economically resembles West Virginia).
Note that despite the endless GOP promotion of the low-tax (except for regressive sales taxes), low-regulation mostly Southern states as wonderful places to move to, the 10 “best’’ were mostly dominated by Democrats. Exceptions are Mormon-dominated Utah and traditionally very Republican Nebraska. Then there are the moderate Republican governors of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maryland, with legislatures controlled by the Democrats. The 10 “best’’ states’ leaders tend to believe in strong social safety nets, well-funded education, hardy environmental protections and so on. Among the Republican-dominated 10 “worst’’ states, there are Pennsylvania and Louisiana, with GOP-run legislatures and Democratic governors, and New Mexico, with a Democratic governor and legislature. The “worst’’ states tend to favor big-business interests above all.
The 10 “best’’ generally have high per-capita incomes, the “worst’’ low ones.
Long Democratic-dominated (it would be better off with a vibrant two-party environment) and too-small Rhode Island, which lacks the great economic engines of such high-tech centers as Massachusetts and Washington State, was ranked 26th – second worst in New England. Maine, which was presided over by a right-wing Republican governor from 2011 to this year, was 32nd. Connecticut was ranked as 21st best; it’s sort of two states – rich along the coast and in Litchfield County, much poorer in other areas.
The Trump-loving Deep South remains the poorest part of America. Do many voters there vote against their own economic self-interest because of politicians’ use of such conservative social issues as gun rights and abortion?