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Elections, Politics, Videos

States with Republican governors are doing better economically

Posted: October 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm   /   by

There are few truly bright spots on the American economic scene. With its 3% unemployment, North Dakota—enjoying a boomtown-style explosion in economic activity surrounding its massive energy production—is one such spot. But throughout the rest of the nation, we are languishing in the stagnation of Obama’s recovery that isn’t a recovery.

Within that context, however, there are states that are doing better and worse. And strikingly, as Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell laid out in his speech at the Republicans’ convention, the states that are doing better definitely have something in common:

Every American deserves the opportunity of a limited, responsible government that performs its core functions well, and then gets the heck out of their way!

That’s when good things happen.

Look at the results of Republican policies in the states.

In states with Republican governors, the average unemployment rate is a full point lower than in states with Democratic governors.

Republican governors lead seven of the ten states with the lowest unemployment rates, and 12 of the 15 states ranked best for business.

While the Obama administration borrows over $3 billion a day just to keep the lights on, Republican governors have closed $65 billion in budget shortfalls, without raising taxes.

In Virginia, over the last two years, with Republicans and Democrats working together, our unemployment rate is down over 20 percent to 5.9 percent.

We’ve added 151,000 net new jobs.  We’ve had nearly $1.4 billion in budget surpluses and we’ve done it by keeping regulation and litigation to a minimum, and we haven’t raised taxes!

While the president talks, Republican governors lead.  Talk is cheap.  Results matter.  Conservative fiscal policies are working, and so are more Americans in states with Republican governors.

Think that’s just a self-serving Republican governor tooting his own horn, and trying to boost his party’s prestige? Think again. There are other data points supporting this contention.

One of them is the striking fact that people are bailing out of states run by Democrats in favor of states run by Republicans:

Over the past ten years, millions of Americans have fled Democratic-leaning Blue states for Republican-leaning Red states, according to a new report from the Manhattan Institute.

The Great California Exodus: A Closer Look, focuses mainly on where and why California residents are fleeing the state, but using data from Census and the Internal Revenue Service, the study clearly documents that Americans are fleeing Democratic governance everywhere.

According to the data, California (+11 Democrat) lost 1.9 million citizens over the past ten years, while New York (+19 Democrat) lost 1.6 million, Illinois (+13 Democrat) 880,000, Michigan (+11 Democrat) lost 708,000, and New Jersey (+16 Democrat) 492,000. Meanwhile, Florida (+20 conservative) gained 1.3 million, Texas (+37 conservative) gained 781,000, North Carolina (+21 conservative) gained 714,ooo, Arizona (+29 conservative) gained 423,000, and Georgia (+25 conservative) gained 393,074.

They’re not leaving for the weather, either:

The data also reveal the motives that drive individuals and businesses to leave California. One of these, of course, is work. States with low unemployment rates, such as Texas, are drawing people from California, whose rate is above the national average. Taxation also appears to be a factor, especially as it contributes to the business climate and, in turn, jobs. Most of the destination states favored by Californians have lower taxes. States that have gained the most at California’s expense are rated as having better business climates. The data suggest that many cost drivers—taxes, regulations, the high price of housing and commercial real estate, costly electricity, union power, and high labor costs—are prompting businesses to locate outside California, thus helping to drive the exodus.

This, of course, should be obvious: Nothing happens in a vacuum. Policies have consequences, and people don’t sit idly by while policies negatively impact their lives. As we have stated in great detail in the past, people vote with their feet.

Though the reasons behind it are more complex, there in another data point that is worth noting: Red states’ income has been growing faster than blue states’

•Declines. Four of the 10 slowest growing are swing states: New Hampshire, Michigan, Florida and Nevada. The Silver State’s income plunge is in a class of its own, down 10.8% because of its real estate collapse.

•Gains. Eight of the top 10 states in income growth lean Republican.

•Working. Compensation has fallen 2.1% in swing states and 1.8% in blue states since December 2007. It’s up 1.7% in red states. Keeping income afloat everywhere: a 25% increase in government payments nationwide.

The transfer payments do add to red state growth, but those are also being sent to blue states, thus eliminating that as solely a red-state advantage.

Barack Obama is hoping that people will give him credit for whatever small recovery we, as a nation, have experienced. But the data indicate that Republican leadership at the state level is far more responsible for whatever positive economic results we are enjoying than anything our current president has done.

Feel free to enjoy Governor McDonnell’s speech in full:


Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook

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States with Republican governors are doing better economically