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Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
The most recent jobs report found that nine of the 10 states with unemployment rates above 14% are in liberal blue states. Ranked from highest to lowest, they are Nevada (25.3%), Hawaii (22.6%), Michigan (21.2%), California (16.3%), Rhode Island (16.3%), Massachusetts (16.3%), Delaware (15.8%), Illinois (15.2%), New Jersey (15.2%) and Washington state (15.1%). I call this the “blue-state jobs depression.” The states with the lowest unemployment rates are all conservative red states: Nebraska (5.2%), Utah (8.5 %), Wyoming 8.8%, Arizona (8.9%) and Idaho (8.9%).
It is hardly shocking news. Liberals are anti-business, and their policies are especially hostile to small businesses. As my old boss, former Rep. Dick Armey of Texas, used to say, liberals love jobs but hate employers. Democratic governors had the strictest economic lockdowns, and they let their businesses burn and get looted during the riots. They raise taxes and protect the unions over the general welfare of the citizens.
The meltdown of blue-state America isn’t new. It has been going on for at least three decades. Over the last five, 10, 20 or 30 years, red states with low taxes have created double the percentage of jobs than blue states with high taxes.
So, liberalism is bad for your wallets and the overall economy. Voters get this. Polling shows that even people who don’t like President Donald Trump agree that he would be better for jobs and the economy than Joe Biden.
But the standard reply from the media and the liberal academics is that blue-state policies keep us safer and healthier. Those greedy free marketeers put greed and corporate profits over saving lives.
It is a false narrative: Nearly everyone agrees that saving lives during a pandemic must be a top policy priority. The question is, how do you keep people safe? Well, we now know that lockdowns didn’t keep us safer. The states that never locked down, such as Wyoming, had the lowest death rates as a share of the population. The states with the strictest lockdown policies, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Michigan, had death rates three to eight times the national average. All of those states, except for Massachusetts, have Democratic governors.
To put it simply: People who live in blue states were more than twice as likely to die from the coronavirus as those who reside in red states. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York recently declared that he wants to keep New Yorkers safe by preventing Floridians from entering the Empire State. Is he joking? New York’s death rate from COVID-19 is 10 times higher than Florida’s. It would be like Mexico telling Americans at the border, “We aren’t going to let you in.”
New cases are rising in red states that have opened up for business faster than in blue states that have remained mostly closed. And we will have to see how this pans out. But the deaths, especially in nursing homes, remain much higher in the blue states. Moreover, studies are now finding that the adverse health effects from the lockdown (suicide, delayed treatments for cancer and heart problems, depression, spousal and child abuse, alcoholism, and drug overdoses, to name a few) could easily match the saved lives from lockdowns. These “lockdown deaths” are far more prevalent in blue states that shut down.
Also, if you want a safe and crime-free environment for your family, consider the Heritage Foundation analysis that reported that 18 of the 20 most dangerous cities are run by mayors who are Democrats.
So, congratulations to Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois. You rank last on jobs and health. And to think that the media herald them as the superstar leaders in America.
Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with FreedomWorks. He is the co-author of “Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive the American Economy.”
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