April 10, 2014
America’s “progressives” are convinced that the
future belongs to them.
The left’s propagandists
do make a strong case that the U.S.
is getting bluer. Barack Obama was elected and reelected. Healthcare is rapidly
advancing toward nationalization. There’s lots of whining about “income inequality.”
Welfare rolls are bulging, bigtime. The Nanny State is taking ground,
micromanaging everything from genetically modified food to “historic”
properties to automobiles. Early
polls have Hillary Clinton significantly ahead of the GOP field.
triumphalism is not baseless. But it is premature.
the best place to start. There are exceptions, but in general, the redder a
state is, the more it grows. Strong economies have Texas,
North Dakota, Georgia,
Utah, the Carolinas, and Arizona
clobbering ex-dynamos such as California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.
to researcher Wendell Cox, between 2010 and 2013, “51 percent of the
population increase in the 52 major metropolitan areas (over 1 million population)
was in the South. The West accounted for 30 percent of the increase.”
Data on youth
suggest that the trend will continue. The metro regions of Boston,
San Francisco, Rochester,
and Pittsburgh have
subpar 14-and-under populations. In contrast, Dallas,
Salt Lake City, Memphis,
Oklahoma City, Charlotte,
and San Antonio
are lousy with kids. That’s not surprising, given fertility rates. Utah, of course, leads the way, with Idaho,
Wyoming, South Dakota,
Alaska, and Texas clustering near the top. Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania,
are abandoning the baby-making business.
Joshua Wright found that energy and manufacturing drive boomtowns like Midland (Texas), Odessa (Texas), Bismarck (North Dakota),
and Pascagoula (Mississippi). Fracking terrifies Eco-Loon America,
but it’s embraced by the states that recognize the technique’s value. The 21st
century’s hydrocarbon renaissance generates extraction, engineering, and
geology careers, as well as ample opportunities in factories that need affordable
natural gas and electricity. Fracking has played a major role in creating 626,000
manufacturing jobs in the last four years. (Pat Buchanan, call your office.) The
industry’s lobbying association puts its annual average compensation at an
impressive $77,505 -- far greater than average earnings for all types of full-time
in The Wall Street Journal last year,
scholar Joel Kotkin noted: “Raleigh, Austin, Denver and Salt Lake City have all
become high-tech hubs. Charlotte
is now the country’s second-largest financial center. Houston
… boasts the world’s largest medical center and, along with Dallas, has become a major corporate and
global transportation hub.”
power enhances political power. Red states’ wealth means additional
contributions to conservative and libertarian think tanks, activist
organizations, and office-seeking candidates. At the presidential level, population
shifts alter the only metric that matters. After the 2010 census, 10 states surrendered
a total of 12 Electoral College votes. (New York
and Ohio each
lost two.) Eight states divvied up the votes. (Florida
grabbed two, Texas
four.) Obama claimed victory in every shrinker but Missouri
and Katrina-ravaged Louisiana.
Mitt Romney -- yes, Mitt
Romney -- won five of the gainers. (Florida
two of the three vote-adding states the GOPer lost, are “purple” and likely to
remain true tossups.)
model is prized by unionized government employees, welfare dependents, and trust-fund
beneficiaries. But it’s a raw deal for workin’ folks looking to settle down
someplace where the cost of living is reasonable. Housing, transportation, utilities,
insurance, groceries, and taxes can be jaw-droppingly cheaper in Jerkwater, U.S.A. Elites
in the Northeast and along the Pacific coast scoff at the lower wages beyond
their borders, but if expenses are dramatically lower, doesn’t that more than compensate?
for many red staters is the avoidance of killer costs for government employees’
retirements. Illinois, New
Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland have some of
the worst unfunded liabilities. Nebraska, Utah, South Dakota, and Tennessee are among the
best-positioned to weather big pension and healthcare bills. As stuck-on-profligacy
states hike their already-high taxes to cover bureaucrats’ golden
years, more residents will flee, and fewer businesses will set up shop.
Decline will accelerate.
wave of limited-government sentiment will not sweep America in another week or month or
election cycle. Liberals
comprise less than a quarter of the citizenry, but their control of the
media, entertainment, academia, and “public” sector enables their cohort to
punch well above its weight.
clouds aren’t all dark for the cause of liberty. Broad, deep, and possibly
irreversible economic and demographic developments are at work. While the
process is slow, it might shock and disappoint the
moonbats who never saw it coming.
D. Dowd Muska (www.dowdmuska.com) writes about government, economics, and technology. Follow him on Twitter @dowdmuska.
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