Voters around the country are concluding it’s better to be red than dead—applying a whole meaning to an old phrase. If you do not currently live in a red state, there’s a good chance you will be in the near future. Either you will flee to a red state or a red state will come to you—because voters fed up with blue-state fiscal irresponsibility will elect candidates who promise to pass red-state policies.
And though we are a year away from the 2012 election, generic Republican vs. Democratic polls have given Republicans the edge for more than a year. If that pattern holds—and if blue-state leaders refuse to learn from their policy mistakes, just like their true-blue leader in the White House—it likely means there will be even more red states in 2013.
One reason for that shift is that red states are taking fiscal responsibility while many blue states aren’t—and it shows. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a bipartisan association of conservative state legislators, recently released its fourth edition of “Rich States, Poor States,” by the well-known Reagan economist Arthur B. Laffer, the Wall Street Journal’s Steve Moore, and Jonathan Williams of ALEC.
The study looks at factors that affect state prosperity and economic outlook, such as tax burdens and population change. What’s clear is that red or red-leaning states dominate the top positions while blue states have the dubious distinction of dragging in last. In the economic outlook section, for example, the top 20 states are bright red or lean red, while eight out of the bottom 10 are very blue: New York, Vermont, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Illinois, Oregon and Rhode Island.
Call it tough love, but blue states will sink or swim on their own.
Many fed-up citizens in those blue states are leaving. But others have decided that if anyone is going to leave, it’s those big-spending politicians who brought on the fiscal disaster. It’s a lesson blue-state politicians better learn: It’s better to be red than dead.