America is said to be the laboratory of democracy. If so, there may be a top secret ideological formula for lower unemployment: conservatism.
States where self-identified conservatives dominate the political landscape are more likely to have the lowest unemployment rates. People can argue about it, but they should take it up with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the people who respond to Gallup surveys.
Comparing Bureau of Labor Statistics’ state unemployment numbers released on March 18th, 2013 with Gallup polling published in February 2013, the superior performance of conservative states is glaring. Gallup frames its scores as ‘conservative advantage,’ and these variables average out to a score of 17.7. That means the middle-of-the-road ideology score is about 17.7.
In order to hedge against all gainsaying of how conservative or liberal people are (after all, the Democrats won another national election), only those states that are considered below the average 17.7 ‘conservative advantage’ score shall be considered ‘more liberal.’ It still isn’t close.
The current national unemployment rate is 7.7%, according to the BLS. While the unemployment rate of all the states individually average out to 7.08%, suggesting state scores are being rounded down, we will just break the states down into those with below 7.7% unemployment, and those above 7.7% (using dataset averages doesn’t show much of a difference).
Of the 31 states with below 7.7% unemployment, only 11 are less-than-average on the conservative score, meaning ‘more liberal’ than average. That means 20 of these 31 states are more conservative than average. Moreover, their mean ‘conservative advantage’ score is 19.3 (above the 17.7 of all states).
Meanwhile, the 18 states with above 7.7% unemployment scores have 10 ‘more liberal’ states (mean scores do not reflect number of states). The average ‘conservative advantage score’ for these states is 14.48. That means nearly a 5-point gap in Ideology with those states leading the way in lower unemployment.
Interestingly, there is a high correspondence between Ideology and Party Dominance. The 25 states dominated by the Republican Party have an average Ideology (‘conservative advantage’) score of 24.6 and an average unemployment rate of 6.67. The 15 states dominated by Democrats have an average Ideology score of 6.45 and an unemployment rate of 7.55. The 10 Split states have a very-near average 17.31 score and unemployment rate of a middling 7.12.
There are various plausible explanations for why self-identified conservative Republican states are tending towards lower unemployment at this point in time. Most persuasively, conservative-leaning states are more likely to be friendly towards business and more likely to resist federal encroachments like expanding Obamacare. The massive healthcare expansion is estimated to cost the economy 800,000 jobs over the next decade, according to the non-partisan CBO.
In addition, Investor’s Business Daily reported two days ago that Americans are fleeing blue states and moving to red states. This may bode well for the federal system’s ability to correct for political malfeasance; provided that states resist the central government and newcomers aren’t allowed to impose economically dysfunctional views on them.
For even more context, people can look at another laboratory overseas: that of Europe (which Obama once boated had a “leading role in the world.”) The world leader in progressive tax-and-spend policies is experiencing record unemployment rates in its Eurozone: 12%. Give the Democrats a few more terms of political domination and we might be able to catch them.
Regulation, taxation, and insane government spending is not a formula for economic success. While that may not be new information for some, others need a little more convincing.