If you’re concerned about quality of life, education, living longer, and lower crime, move to a Blue state. If you want to carry a gun in public, earn crap wages, and don’t care about access to healthcare or your kid’s education, move to a Red state.
The only downside of the move-to-a-Blue-state strategy is that you’re going to be paying for the Red states, anyway. But, still, the quality of life difference is worth it.
Blue state taxes heavily subsidize Red states, a fact that’s been well known for decades. As an “AP Fact Check” laid out:
“Mississippi received $2.13 for every tax dollar the state sent to Washington in 2015, according to the Rockefeller study. West Virginia received $2.07, Kentucky got $1.90 and South Carolina got $1.71.
“Meanwhile, New Jersey received 74 cents in federal spending for tax every dollar the state sent to Washington. New York received 81 cents, Connecticut received 82 cents and Massachusetts received 83 cents.”
People in Blue states also live longer, in part because Blue states have expanded Medicaid to cover all their citizens while most Red states still refuse to do so.
“To date, 39 states (including DC) have adopted the Medicaid expansion,” notes KFF, “and 12 states have not adopted the expansion.”
All 12 of them are Red states.
If you’re concerned about being murdered, it’s also a good idea to avoid Red states. As the centrist Third Way think tank noted last month:
- “In 2020, per capita murder rates were 40% higher in states won by Donald Trump than those won by Joe Biden.
- “8 of the 10 states with the highest murder rates in 2020 voted for the Republican presidential nominee in every election this century.”
It’s true of Red cities as well. Again, from Third Way:
“In fact, the homicide rate in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco was half that of House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Bakersfield, a city with a Republican mayor that overwhelmingly voted for Trump.”
Red states also have a serious disinformation problem, as Covid statistics show, with anti-science rants and rhetoric coming from both their own local rightwing radio and TV talk shows, newspapers, and politicians.
Stephen H. Woolf, MD, MPH, wrote in The Journal of the American Medical Association that the partisan divide is the biggest factor:
“Some elected officials made a political issue out of challenging scientific evidence, embracing dubious theories, and labeling public health safeguards as infringements on personal freedom.”
He notes that last year “excess death rates in” Red states like “Florida and Georgia” ran over 200 deaths per 100,000 people, while well-educated, successful Blue state Massachusetts ran at a mere 50 per 100,000:
“[Red] States that resisted public health protections experienced higher numbers of excess deaths during the Delta variant surge in the fall of 2021.
“Between August and December 2021, Florida experienced more than triple the number of excess deaths (29,252) as New York (8,786), despite both states having similar population counts (21.7 million and 19.3 million, respectively).”
You’d think the good citizens of Florida would be up in arms, particularly since disability rates from Covid infections almost certainly track those same ratios and are massively higher than the number of deaths.
And those who are well informed but still living in Florida are outraged; there’s such an active Democratic Party in the state that Republicans are having to pass laws to suppress the Democratic vote to hang onto power.
But with over 1500 rightwing radio stations heavily favoring Red states (and a few hundred rightwing “Christian” and Spanish-language stations), Republicans in Red states are often left to pickle in their own stew of impotent outrage at their own poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and lack of healthcare and education.
That’s because Red states have adopted Reaganism as their motto: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help.”
This has always been the sales pitch the millionaires in the Republican Party make to working class voters in Red states. “We’re cowboys, like you. Rugged individualist. We don’t want anybody to tell us how to do things and we don’t need anybody to do anything for us.”
Except that Red state residents are happy to live on Social Security and Medicare, along with any other federal benefit they can lay their hands on: Red states are draining federal coffers at the expense Blue states. It turns out that the whole “rugged individualism” thing was just a con to get rid of unions and keep down Red state taxes on rich people who live there.
Often, it was also a racist dog whistle for, “We don’t want our taxes to pay for minorities on welfare.” Like when Reagan explained how he understood people would be upset when they saw a “young buck” in front of them at the supermarket line paying for steak and champagne with food stamps.
Reagan was this Red state con’s main salesman. A multimillionaire backed by billionaires, he could glibly talk about self-reliance and independence from government; he hadn’t had to worry about a medical bill or a rent check since he started hustling for the GOP and General Electric in the 1950s.
He was a hell of a salesman, but his followers — even though they hang on as Red state true believers — are taking it on the chin.
While they celebrate their book bans, bathroom phobias, and laws to prevent minorities from voting, their children end up uneducated, poorly nourished, and more likely to die from suicide and gun discharges.
Don Jr., Marjorie Taylor Greene and the whole Trumpy bunch love to “Own the Libs“ by attacking racial and gender minorities and throwing around cult-based homophobic smears.
That’s because Republicans really have nothing left to offer people in Red states that might improve their lives.
They’ve gotten their billions from the NRA for selling millions of guns, run their profitable polluting industries for years (as renewable power is now cheaper and replacing it), and stolen over $50 trillion from the bottom 90% of American voters, particularly in Red states.
Even the “reasonable“ Republicans are in on the grift on behalf of the billionaire class that owns their Party. Mitt Romney, himself perhaps a billionaire, just proposed that young people’s retirement benefits should be cut now, in advance, to keep taxes down on morbidly rich people.
Or consider Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott, the second richest man in Congress, who as chairman of the RSCC raises and handles tens of millions to elect Republican senators.
From this august position in Republican leadership he just put forward an 11-point plan to end Social Security, Medicare, and federal unemployment insurance within five years while raising income taxes on the bottom half of Americans, including those who only earn the $7.25 Red state minimum wage.
Add to that their efforts to prevent anybody who might object to their continuing pillage of America from voting. This headline, for example, tells the whole story: Citing Likely Racist Motives, Federal Judge Blocks Florida GOP's Voter Suppression Law.
Seriously, that’s all they’ve got left. Higher taxes and voter suppression for Red state working-class people, and tax cuts for their morbidly rich. And nobody even believes anymore that giving billionaires a free ride for another four decades will finally stimulate the economy or incentivize the GOP’s beloved so-called “wealthy job creators.”
Their con is breaking down. As a result, all they can successfully sell anymore is hate and fear.
Greene’s latest applause line, for example, was that Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and his husband might be sexual predators because they are gay. It doesn’t get lower than that.
But Republicans have decided to kick up their “culture war” by going back to the 1950s and attacking gays and lesbians again (along with their “usual suspects,” trans people and those in racial and religious minority groups), no matter how many lives it destroys.
“Owning the libs,” lax gun and pollution laws, and pretending you’re a “rugged individual” by not having access to health insurance, it turns out, has a pretty high price.
People living in Red states experience more deaths, suicides, disease, obesity, addiction, and, frankly, ignorance (or, more charitably, “lack of educational opportunity”).
It’s tragic so many Red state politicians and their donors continue to profit by inflicting these bizarre roles and policies on their citizens, and then bleeding those of us in Blue states to cover the charges.
Independent Media Institute
Credit Line: This article was produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute.