The blue state de­pres­sion

Peo­ple are leav­ing the Hil­lary-sup­port­ing states in droves

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Stephen Moore

When I say the blue states are in a de­pres­sion, I don’t mean the col­lec­tive funk they are in be­cause they lost the elec­tion to Don­ald Trump. I’m talk­ing about an eco­nomic de­pres­sion in the blue states that went for Hil­lary. Here is an amaz­ing statis­tic. Of the 10 blue states that Hil­lary Clin­ton won by the largest per­cent­age mar­gins — Cal­i­for­nia, Mas­sachusetts, Ver­mont, Hawaii, Mary­land, New York, Illi­nois, Rhode Is­land, New Jersey, and Con­necti­cut — every sin­gle one of them lost do­mes­tic mi­gra­tion (ex­clud­ing im­mi­gra­tion) over the last 10 years (2004-14). Nearly 2.75 mil­lion more Amer­i­cans left Cal­i­for­nia and New York than en­tered these states.

They are the loser states. They are all pro­gres­sive. High taxes rates. High wel­fare ben­e­fits. Heavy reg­u­la­tion. En­vi­ron­men­tal ex­trem­ism. Su­per min­i­mum wages. Most out­law en­ergy drilling. The whole left­wing play­book is on dis­play in the Hil­lary states. And peo­ple are leav­ing in droves. Day after day, they are be­ing bled to death. So much for lib­er­al­ism cre­at­ing a worker’s par­adise.

Now let’s look at the 10 states that had the largest per­cent­age vote for Don­ald Trump. Ev­ery­one of them — Wy­oming, West Vir­ginia, Ok­la­homa, North Dakota, Ken­tucky, Ten­nessee, South Dakota, and Idaho — was a net pop­u­la­tion gainer.

This is part and par­cel of one of the great­est in­ter­nal mi­gra­tion waves in Amer­i­can his­tory as blue states es­pe­cially in the north­east are get­ting clob­bered by their low tax, smaller gov­ern­ment ri­vals in the south, south­east and moun­tain re­gions.

By the way, pretty much the same pat­tern holds true for jobs. The job gains in the red states car­ried by the widest mar­gins by Mr. Trump had about twice the job cre­ation rate as the bluest states car­ried by Hil­lary.

The just-re­leased 2016 edi­tion of ALEC’s Rich States, Poor States, which I co-au­thor with Rea­gan econ­o­mist Arthur Laf­fer and econ­o­mist Jonathan Wil­liams shows a per­sis­tent trend of Amer­i­cans mov­ing from blue to red states. The best ex­am­ple is that from 2004-2014, the two big­gest con­ser­va­tive states in terms of pop­u­la­tion size — Flor­ida and Texas — gained al­most one mil­lion new res­i­dents each. The two most pop­u­lous lib­eral states — Cal­i­for­nia and New York — saw an equal-sized ex­o­dus.

It’s easy to un­der­stand why peo­ple might want to leave gray and rust­ing New York. But Cal­i­for­nia? Cal­i­for­nia has ar­guably the most beau­ti­ful weather, mountains and beaches in the coun­try and yet peo­ple keep flee­ing the state that is sup­posed to be a pro­gres­sive utopia.

What doesn’t make Cal­i­for­nia and New York par­adise is the high cost of liv­ing thanks to ex­pen­sive en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions, forced union poli­cies, and in­come tax rates that are the high­est in the na­tion at 13 per­cent or more. Flor­ida and Texas are right to work states with no in­come tax. Is it re­ally a shocker that peo­ple would choose zero in­come tax over 13 per­cent? New York politi­cians know that their record high tax rates

are killing growth, which is why the state is spend­ing mil­lions of dol­lars on TV ads across the coun­try try­ing to con­vince peo­ple that New York has low taxes. Sure. And Chicago is crime-free.

Even when it comes to in­come in­equal­ity blue states fare worse than red states. Ac­cord­ing to a 2016 re­port by the Eco­nomic Pol­icy in­sti­tute, three of the states with the largest gaps be­tween rich and poor are...those pro­gres­sive icons New York, Con­necti­cut, and Mas­sachusetts. Sure, Bos­ton, Man­hat­tan and Sil­i­con Val­ley are boom­ing as the rich pros­per. But out­side these ar­eas are deep pock­ets of poverty and wage stag­na­tion.

The les­son to be learned from the states is that the “pro­gres­sive” tax and spend agenda has been put on trial. Not only do the poli­cies lead to much slower growth, they also ben­e­fit the rich and po­lit­i­cally well-con­nected at the ex­pense of ev­ery­one else.

Pres­i­dent-elect Trump is now promis­ing that on a na­tional scale, he will cut taxes, dereg­u­late and cut waste­ful gov­ern­ment spend­ing, In the pres­i­den­tial de­bates Hil­lary Clin­ton dis­par­aged this agenda as “trumped up, trickle-down eco­nom­ics,” and then she asked, when has that ever worked? Ac­tu­ally in pros­per­ing red states like Flor­ida, Ten­nessee, Texas and so many other states that voted Repub­li­can, that is ex­actly how they grow the econ­omy. Stephen Moore is an econ­o­mist with Free­dom Works and a se­nior eco­nomic ad­viser to the Trump cam­paign.

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