Where Did the Good Times Go?
That question usually implies that the good times have disappeared, but if by “good times” one means “strong economic growth,” Greg Kaza would argue that the good times have gone to the Red states:
Political pundits identify 18 bona-fide Blue states, which backed Democrats Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, and 29 clear-cut Red states, which supported Republican President George W. Bush both times out. Blue states are said to be “liberal,” and Red states “conservative.” But there might be another reason to term certain states “blue”: weak employment growth in a period of expansion.
Total Blue-state employment growth has been only 3.3 percent during the current expansion, which began in November 2001, compared with the U.S. rate of 5.5 percent. Meanwhile, total Red-state employment growth has been 7.5 percent, more than double that of the Blue states.
It seems to me that Blue state provincialists have two directions in which to head, if they wish to improve their economic lot in comparison with those on the other side of the primary-color aisle: begin to let go of some of the cherished, but faulty, economic ideas and policy approaches that overwhelm their natural advantages, or attempt to force competing states to play by the same burdensome rules. Somehow, I don’t suspect we’ll be left in suspense as to their choice.