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"Nine out of the 10 poorest states are Red states."

Posted by on Jan. 14, 2014 at 3:42 PM
  • 11 Replies

"Nine out of the 10 poorest states are Red states."

December 26th, 2013 in a Facebook post

Pro-Democrat group says 9 of the 10 poorest states are Republican

The partisan blogosphere is filled with arguments over whether liberal or conservative policies are better for states. No matter what is proposed -- cutting the sales tax, raising the minimum wage, etc. -- someone can always come up with a state to cite as an example of why it's a good (or bad) idea.

But we were struck by this claim posted by the pro-Democrat group Occupy Democrats on Facebook:

"If Republican economic policies are so great for America, how come 9 out of the 10 poorest states are Red states?"

We're not going to rule on the cause-and-effect question posed by the posting. Yet because Red states have a reputation for being more business-friendly, and because many argue that pro-business policies lead to better lives for everyone, we wondered whether the Occupy Democrats' claim was correct.

When we emailed Occupy Democrats, founder Omar Rivero sent us links to several sources including a sortable Wikipedia table based on the 2010 U.S. Census, along with more recent data from the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis. We also did our own search of the U.S. Census database.

We’ll start with the standard definition of a Red state: one that voted for the Republican candidate in the most recent presidential election.

It should be noted that there are different ways to measure poverty. Occupy Democrats says its claim is based on per-person income. We looked at that, along with median household income and median family income.

By all three measures, 9 out of the 10 poorest states voted Republican in the last presidential election. (In fact, they voted Red in the last four elections.)

According to the latest Census data, 9 of the 10 states with the lowest per-person income levels were Red: Mississippi, Arkansas, Idaho, West Virginia, Kentucky, Utah, Alabama, South Carolina and Oklahoma.  

The Census data also show that 9 of the 10 states with the lowest median household income were Red: Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina and Oklahoma.

And 9 of the 10 states with the lowest median family income were Red: Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana and South Carolina.

The only Blue state on each list: New Mexico.

By the way, 9 of the 10 states with the highest per-person income voted Blue in the 2012 presidential race: Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Virginia and Washington. The only Red state on the list: Alaska.

Our ruling

Occupy Democrats said "Nine out of the 10 poorest states are Red states."

Whether you look at per-person, household, or family income, nine out of the ten poorest states voted Republican in the last four presidential elections.

The judges rule the statement is True.

by on Jan. 14, 2014 at 3:42 PM
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Replies (1-10):
-Celestial-
by Pepperlynn on Jan. 14, 2014 at 6:32 PM
2 moms liked this
Keep em dumb. Keep em poor.
Pema_Jampa
by Celeste on Jan. 14, 2014 at 8:56 PM
Oh I see this one hit a nerve... Here's a bump for my bestie.
idunno1234
by Bronze Member on Jan. 14, 2014 at 10:13 PM
3 moms liked this

That's what I don't understand, al the things that Republicans say will improve our economy.....supply side economics, cutting taxes, deregulation, cutting government programs.....none of that has ever been proven to work in practice.

I understand the appeal, the ideal of less government and taxes but that's just it, its an ideal.  I think most people fundamentally want less government and certainly less taxes. The problem is it assumes people doing all the right things- businesses investing in their communities and being socially responsible, not shitting on the environment, not taking advantage of employees, being honest and ethical, creating jobs and hiring, spreading the prosperity so that people can actually support their families,, private donors taking care of those in need,  kids being well educated by parents and communities.....like this would really happen.

I mean, come on.

NWP
by Guerilla Girl on Jan. 14, 2014 at 10:40 PM

IDK...the only folks I personally know on generational PA are conservative tea party types from some of those poor states. 


National Woman's Party


Pema_Jampa
by Celeste on Jan. 14, 2014 at 10:42 PM

Same here. 

Quoting NWP:

IDK...the only folks I personally know on generational PA are conservative tea party types from some of those poor states. 



Sisteract
by Socialist Hippie on Jan. 14, 2014 at 10:43 PM

I live in the bluest of blue states-

I personally know no one on public assistance-

Go figure!

Quoting Pema_Jampa:

Same here. 

Quoting NWP:

IDK...the only folks I personally know on generational PA are conservative tea party types from some of those poor states. 




Pema_Jampa
by Celeste on Jan. 14, 2014 at 10:45 PM

I'm from the south. Yeeha!

Quoting Sisteract:

I live in the bluest of blue states-

I personally know no one on public assistance-

Go figure!

Quoting Pema_Jampa:

Same here. 

Quoting NWP:

IDK...the only folks I personally know on generational PA are conservative tea party types from some of those poor states. 





Farmlady09
by Silver Member on Jan. 14, 2014 at 10:55 PM
1 mom liked this

I suppose if you use progressive logic to explain it, your article (and the logic behind it) would stand. I prefer facts. This article, in Forbes, explains it much better than I could with my long-winded rambling.

Are the 10 Poorest U.S. States Really Republican?

"Most of the 10 poorest states are Republican" is a quote of CNN's Jack Cafferty. It appeared in his "Cafferty File" blog last September 22, and was accompanied by the opinion, this is "something the GOP can't be too comfortable with." Indeed, in an election year, you can bet that Democrats will try to make hay with those data.

My previous column made the case that Democratic Party policies have induced the impoverishment of America's poorest cities. Turnabout is fair play. If Republican policies have led to the economic stagnation of entire states, whereas Democrats are only responsible for ruining cities, then the Dems might have the stronger campaign talking point. Let's examine the 10 poorest states to see if Republicans are to blame for their relative economic standing.

The poorest states, based on per capita income, are, from first to last: Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, and North Carolina. Of these, exactly half-Arkansas, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, and West Virginia-have Democratic governors and three have Democratic majorities in the lower house of their legislature, so these state governments can hardly be classified as completely Republican. On the other hand, only North Carolina voted for Obama in 2008, so in that sense, these states may be leaning Republican.

A common analytical error is the "post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy-"after this, therefore because of this." For example, chronic federal deficits became chronic in the 1960s. What changed in America at that time? Alaska and Hawaii were added to the union in 1959 and 1960, respectively; therefore, the erroneous assertion to follow is that we need only expel those two states from the Union to solve our deficit spending problem. Absurd, right? Similarly, we can't facilely assume that the lower per capita incomes in the 10 poorest states were caused by Republican policies.

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, CNN's Cafferty and Democrats 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.

- Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson is an adjunct faculty member, economist, and fellow for economic and social policy with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. 

 

NWP
by Guerilla Girl on Jan. 14, 2014 at 11:33 PM

Me too

Quoting Pema_Jampa:

I'm from the south. Yeeha!

Quoting Sisteract:

I live in the bluest of blue states-

I personally know no one on public assistance-

Go figure!

Quoting Pema_Jampa:

Same here. 

Quoting NWP:

IDK...the only folks I personally know on generational PA are conservative tea party types from some of those poor states. 






National Woman's Party


JanuaryBaby06
by Gold Member on Jan. 15, 2014 at 12:23 AM

Good article! very interesting!

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