Social Question

FlutherNOW's avatar

Are Democratic states really "better off"?

Asked by FlutherNOW (118 points ) February 15th, 2010

Are Democratic states really “better off” than Republican ones? Do Republican states really have more debt (this is contarary to what I thought, Democrats support more spending\social programs, Republicans don’t). People from Democratic states tell me how much better it is than my Republican state, but I do not know who to believe. I can not find any unbiased information (and I doubt, but am hoping I will find it here).

Anyone care to chime in

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67 Answers

tentaclepuppy's avatar

I think your assertion that republicans don’t support spending is just totally wrong. Maybe twenty years ago that was a high priority of the party, but it hasn’t been for some time. If they really supported less spending, maybe they would choose not to start so many wars or ask for so much pork.

tentaclepuppy's avatar

Here is a nice summary of how much more willing the Republicans are to spend spend spend.

gailcalled's avatar

My state government (NYS) is a practically bankrupt and totally corrupt mess. Both sides of the congressional aisle are paralyzed, terrified and making the financial problems worse.

ETpro's avatar

I hear Republicans talk the talk about stopping spending, but I have yet to see them walk the walk. They honestly earned the nickname, “Don’t tax, just spend.”

The fact is that the richest states with the highest incomes and highest educational level are Democratic states and the poorest are all Republican dominated. Read into that what you will, but the story is right there to be read.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I would never trade certain things taken for granted in a democratic state like legalizing same sex marriage and that evolution isn’t on par with ID for being ‘better off’ economically.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@ETpro

One word: Texas.

FlutherNOW's avatar

@ETpro
Ya thats the point that the people who support the Democratic states harp on. That just dosen’t make sense to me. How can a state that supports all these social programs be “better off”? Does that means Capitalisim sucks and Socialism is the way to go? I thought welfare kills any incentive to work, and that the marketplace will usually find what is best for society as a whole

gailcalled's avatar

@FlutherNOW: The social (entitlement) programs are federal ones and not legislated by the state.

FlutherNOW's avatar

@gailcalled I wasen’t refering to any program specifically, I was refering to the “Democratic mentality.” I’m not bashing anyone or anything, Im just trying to figure all this out lol.

I would naturally think that a state run by Democrats would support these type of programs. Republicans tend to let people fend for themselves.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@gailcalled

What we need is a political party that allows people to “fend for themselves” unless there is some reason they CANNOT ( not some reason they WILL not ).

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@gailcalled And the governor is a fucking moron, too…

Broken_Arrow's avatar

Better off than who/what? I thought we were all together in this mess.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know if it really has something to do with being red or being blue, but I do find the blue states I have lived in to be better. I really think it is more north vs.south to be honest. I don’t agree with southern Democrats or Republicans on a plethora of things. Even though I identify with liberals, I could easily support some of the northern Republicans that have run, or at minimum not be depressed for days if they win. People tend to trust their representatives more in blue states (but this goes with knowing that blue counties in southern states tend to be a mess from what I have witnessed). The electoral map is very deceptive, it makes it seem as though an entire state is one color, but many times it is just a few percentage points that paints that state blue or red.

I have an old joke about blue states and red states, that blue people relly appreciate, but tends to really offend right wing religious red southerners. Not sure if I should post it, but I could PM to you if you want to read it. Kind of goes along with how Northerns Dems view the country.

FlutherNOW's avatar

Post it. I need a funny!

JLeslie's avatar

@FlutherNOW if I get in trouble I blame you.

This was an email that went around during the presidential run. These numbers are not checked or verified.

Dear Red States…
– We’ve decided we’re leaving. We intend to form our own
country, and we’re taking the other Blue States with us.
– In case you aren’t aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon,
Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the
Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and
especially to the people of the new country of New California.
– To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the
slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. You get
Ken Lay.
– We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood. We get
Intel, Apple and Microsoft. You get WorldCom. We get Harvard. You get
Ole’ Miss.We get 85 percent of America’s venture capital and
entrepreneurs. You get Alabama . We get two-thirds of the tax
revenue, you get to make the red states pay their fair share.
– Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than
the Christian Coalition’s, we get a bunch of happy families. You get
a bunch of single moms.
– Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice
and anti-war, and we’re going to want all our citizens back from Iraq
at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have
kids they’re apparently willing to send to their deaths for no
purpose, and they don’t care if you don’t show pictures of their
children’scaskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq , and
hope that the WMDs turn up, but we’re not willing to spend our
resources in Bush’s Quagmire.
– With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of
80 percent of the country’s fresh water, more than 90 percent of the
pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation’s fresh fruit, 95
percent of America’s quality wines (you can serve French wines at
state dinners), 90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech
industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods,
sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools, plus
Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.
– With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to
cope with 88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected
health care costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100
percent of the tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of
all Southern Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists,
Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of
Georgia.
– We get Hollywood and Yosemite , thank you.
– Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states
believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe
life is sacred unless we’re discussing the death penalty or gun laws,
44 percent say that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent that Saddam
was involved in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazy bastards believe you
are people with higher morals then we lefties.
– By the way, we’re taking the good pot, too. You can have
that dirt weed they grow in Mexico .

Peace out, Blue States

FlutherNOW's avatar

” 99 percent of
all Southern Baptists” – lolerskates

“By the way, we’re taking the good pot, too. You can have
that dirt weed they grow in Mexico .” – ROFLCOPTER

Hmm, it seems like blue states have a lot more than the red ones. Verified or not, it seems generally true ;)

JLeslie's avatar

@FlutherNOW It’s a joke. I didn’t write it.

phoebusg's avatar

There are no democracies to be found on earth today. It’s a stretch of the term and the concept. There are plenty of republics. So how can we really compare? Maybe through historical soul-searching alone.

JLeslie's avatar

@phoebusg I think the question is about the US 50 states, Republican vs. Democrat, not countries and whether they are Republics or true Democracies.

JLeslie's avatar

@FlutherNOW I wish I had taken off the line about Pot and Mexico at the end, I don’t like it at all. I should have read it through, I just copy-pasted. What is lolerskates and ROFLCOPTER?

Qingu's avatar

@CaptainHarley, I think it’s a hilarious that you want a political party that basically believes in anarchy.

Though it certainly explains why people like you keep on electing politicians who see no value or need in government, and thus practice governing as such.

janbb's avatar

I think we’re all SOL right now.

gemiwing's avatar

I suppose that would depend on what your definition of ‘better’ is.

I’ve lived in blue states, red states, red cities in a blue state and blue cities in a red state. They’re all pretty much the same. There is no magical pasture.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Qingu

What’s with the sour grapes, Qingu? Looking for more “something for nothing” are we? Tisk!

@JLeslie

Flamebait much?

FlutherNOW's avatar

@JLeslie

Lighten up, it was all funny as hell. Stop being politically correct. This is the internet, offend all!! Whats wrong with pot?

btw
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=roflcopter
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=lolerskates

Remember, the ROFLCOPTER goes SOI SOI SOI

When I say better, I mean in terms of the “General State of Living.” I.E. The way the “System” works. Basically I hear that “Since my state is a POS Republican state, they are broke as fuck. They can’t afford shit. The police suck because they are broke. The drivers suck because the state is too broke to educate them. Our education sucks because we are broke….” Continue….??

jerv's avatar

One difference between the parties is that, while there is some truth to the allegations that Democrats like to “tax and spend”, it isn’t like the Republicans are exactly averse to spending either. They generally are just less concerned with whether or not they are actually able to pay for things, and prefer to spend money on things other than social programs or repaying debt.

jonsblond's avatar

@JLeslie I find it interesting that is the only line you have a problem with.

Qingu's avatar

@CaptainHarley, I’m trying to parse your comment but I can’t figure out how it’s actually a meaningful response to anything I’ve said, here or elsewhere. Can you please elaborate?

ChaosCross's avatar

North Carolina,
Democratic,
Needs some serious work,

ETpro's avatar

@CaptainHarley Texas is a great case in point. There is a scale of which states contribute more in federal taxes than they receive and which states need the most help. Texas is near the top of the Federal Dole list. Texas has a median income that puts it #27th in income per family. With a poverty rate of 16.2%, Texas has the 5th highest poverty rate in the United States. 33% of the state’s people have no health insurance. Yes, I would say Texas is a glowing example of what NOT TO DO.

@FlutherNOW The top 10 states in family income are Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Virginia, California, Washington. Alaska is the only Red state in the list, and it is only up there because the state shares its oil revenues with every citizen. Believe what you wish to believe, but facts are tough to argue with.

jerv's avatar

@ChaosCross No offense, but it could be argued that The South needs some serious work regardless of the party affilliation of office holders there. I mean, comparing all 50 states on things like education, percentage of people under the poverty line, obesity, and many other measures of well-being, that entire region is a little suspect.

Nullo's avatar

Bad example, but it’s all I can provide with the data that I’ve got.
I look at Missouri -a Republican state with Democratic bastions in St. Louis and Kansas City, and that’s doing alright in terms of state budget. I look at California, which is going bankrupt again, and at Illinois, which isn’t doing much better. I draw my conclusions.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo I’d say South Dakota has done well in this recession and is mostly a red state. But that isn’t because of some fundamental difference in how state government structured itself, it is because the industry that happened to be there was largely untouched by this recession. Still, by measures such as median family income, health, percentage of people below the poverty line, percentage of people with high school, college and graduate degrees, teen pregnancy and so on, the blue states tend to be on better footing than the red. That’s not likely an accident of chance.

Nullo's avatar

@ETpro
Median family income isn’t a terribly good indicator, either; my dollar goes farther here than in California.
Dropout rates in California are, last I heard, much higher than in Missouri.

Have we figures for all 50 states?

CaptainHarley's avatar

IF democratic states are doing better ( IF, that is; I don’t concede the point ), it’s largely because the democrats are currently in power and are funneling pork barrel money into their own states. : )

CaptainHarley's avatar

BTW… money is NOT the measure of all things! Perhaps if some of you are very fortunate, you will discover this as you mature. : )

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond @FlutherNOW The last line bothers me because I never smoked pot, never did drugs, don’t drink, and would never come anywhere close to telling a joke about it. Not that I care if other people smoke pot, I don’t, but it is so not something I would say even in a joke. And, I have no idea where te good pot somes from, so I would never pick on Mexico.

The rest of the joke gets on how annoyed blue states are annoyed with the religious right and lack of emphasis on education, and I am annoyed with that, although I think obviously the joke is overgeneralizing. Sure it talks about fresh water, etc., but really I have always been for us working together as a country, I tend to lean more towards fed than states rights, but I get wishy washy on this too, unsure if where I really stand.

@FlutherNOW just picking up on what @jerv said, what I notice, and going back to the joke, having lived in NY, MI, NC, FL, TN, and MD is that the south does tend to ignore public education, I have people all around me who are all for getting rid of it, rid of it, or at minimum don’t care because their kids go to private. This is a total outrage to me, and you see this atitude play out in their school systems, although there are pockets within these states that have good schools. Some of it has to do with racism, white people go to private school in the south.

I have never met people who hate taxes more than where I live now, which is the most “southern” place I have ever lived, and the schools are terrible (except over in the area where the Jews live, and their property taxes are easily double what I pay, you get what you pay for. Their is a lot of bribery and corruption of late in Memphis politics (they are democrats by the way) there is little trust of the government, I can understand why when you live here, but the whole country is not like Memphis, TN. Anyway, my county is blue in a red state.

I think it is difficult to generalize an entire state. Like FL, a swing state, generally run like a southern state, but down in Southeast FL where the counties are blue, full of Jews and Northerners, Just sayin’, the education is better than the rest of the state. I don’t know where FL ranks now, but it used to be pretty bad 20 years ago, but the population has changed profoundly, so old stats probaby don’t mean anything. And, I have talked a lot about Northern and Southern states, and local communities, but know less about the west and west coast, but from what I understand Seattle has very good schools, I believe they are liberal there?

@Nullo IL is very red except for Chicago (@jonsblond taught me that) so I am back to having to divide the country up into specific communities, rather than whole states when comparing Dem to Rep. What do you think? I mean we really live in our communities. I have friend who teaches high school. Used to teach in MS outside of Memphis, now teaches in the suburbs of St Louis, and she said the difference in the school system and the children is vast. St. Louis is so much better.

@CaptainHarley I think BS. Most likely Schools, obesity rates, and other things that were mentioned were better in Dem states under Reagan and both Bush’s even when the Republicans had congress.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m sorry for some of my typos, my internet went down, and I could not go back and correct.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie
That would explain why we hear about Chicago’s massive financial problems (obligatory leave without pay for civil servants and such.)
For most intents and purposes, Chicago is all that actually exists in Illinois :P

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo But, doesn’t Chicago have Republican representatives for the rest of the state? I have no idea about IL politics, it just seems logical to me that the rest of the state probably elects Republicans? I really think how states and communities are run have way more to do with bible belt/religious issues more than anything. Which goes back to the “joke” being happy to let the Baptists stay in the red states.

Money spent wisely is a great thing, money spent unwisely and when you don’t have it(not you, the state in this case) it is not. The states that tax more seem to have better services, schools, roads, sidewalks, parks, etc. Some of them go too far, are fiscally unwise and that gets them into trouble, I would agree.

My inlaws are from Mexico, and they cannot understand why any American complains so much about taxes, when at least here you can see your tax money at work, or at least from their perspective it is working, everything is relative. But then, they live in southeast FL.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo Along the same lines, NYC is considered the Northeastern-most point in the US; many people forget Boston exists, let alone NH, VT and the rest of New England. Well, except when the “Liberal elite” like Kerry and Kennedy start making waves…

@JLeslie That is part of why some people are against anything that they do in Europe, like socialized healthcare, any sort of aid to the poor, etcetera; taxes. I just wonder how those people would feel if they had to buy their own roads, police, and military instead of having the government provide those things. But yes, it is relative, and I can see my tax money doing more here than in, say, Mexico.
As for the education in the South, remember that such figures are a statewide average.

@CaptainHarley @Nullo True, cost-of-living varies enough that wealth is relative and money isn’t everything, though it is nice to have enough to at least keep a modest dwelling with utilities and food on the table. Wages here in WA are far better than they were in NH despite both places having comparable costs, and I know that there are areas where I could live well on less than what it takes to barely squeak by here, but I think it safe to say that no matter where you go, there are many people struggling even if their rent is less than half of what I pay.
NH and WA get by without income taxes and still manage to get stuff done though. Sure, NH property taxes are high and the 9.5% sales tax here in the Seattle area is a bit of a jump from the 0.0% I am used to, but still, a little financial responsibility on the part of the government manages to pay for what needs to be bought anyways.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie
Honestly, it’s impossible to know for sure. Illinois is like the Bermuda Triangle. I blame the decline of St. Louis on the general strangeness that emanates from that weird, weird land.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo Decline of St Louis? I was saying something positive about the city and surrounding areas.

@jerv Exactly, state-wide figures, I think it is too much of a generalization. I think all of these things are so specific to individual communities. And, like I’ve said, Red in the south is very different than Red in the north, same with Blue. So you can find examples of well run states that are blue, and ones that are red I would guess. I don’t want everything socialized either, but I want healthcare single payer, and I want public education continued, maintained, and improved.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie
Alas, she’s rotting out from the middle. Poverty and violence await the careless traveler; St. Louis held the title of Murder Capital of the United States a couple years back. To make things worse, her backbone’s gone: the shoe industry has left, freight traffic is routed through Chicago, TWA is dead and the airport traffic is dwindling (they’re actually converting a terminal into a restaurant, since nobody’s using it, and there’s only a handful of international – or even national – flights), there’s no river traffic to speak of (just grain barges that pass by); all that’s left is Boeing, retail, some services, and offices.
It was home to Pruitt-Igoe.
With respect to your question, I was just being silly.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo Oh, I see. What a shame. The time I have spent in St. Louis has always been very positive.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie
Oh, it’s not without its pretty parts; Forest Park is as nice as ever, and the area along Kingshighway is pretty decent. But it is like a tree that’s missing its middle.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie excellent compromise. I live in Pennsylvania so I get a share of the blue state productivity. Thanks.

Ron_C's avatar

@Qingu ”@CaptainHarley, I think it’s a hilarious that you want a political party that basically believes in anarchy.
Though it certainly explains why people like you keep on electing politicians who see no value or need in government, and thus practice governing as such.’

I would rather have a party that is dis-organized than a party that marches in lock step with leaders that lean very strongly towards fascist government. Their motto is “protect big international corporations and the profits will trickle down to the masses”.

What a shame they are all so brainwashed and ignorant.

jerv's avatar

@Ron_C I’m still waiting for the more intelligent ones to realize that their leaders are nearly as far removed from the party’s core beliefs as the opposing party.

Ron_C's avatar

@jerv good luck with that. I suspect that the real sponsors are the corporations that don’t want their apple carts upset.

All this talk about freedom and no substance of what really upset them. Why can’t they admit that they don’t like blacks being in charge and don’t particularly like the idea of poor having a chance for health care similar to theirs. No matter how crappy the care is, they don’t want to take a chance of upsetting their masters. That is why serfs fought for their overseers.

jerv's avatar

@Ron_C And that is the real reason for the Second Amendment. Let’s hope it never comes to that though….

Ron_C's avatar

I notice that @JLeslie took a good deal of flack for the “good pot” line in the posted comparison of red and blue states. I think it was excellent and it is good that it was left in. I like this quote from a blog also ” Red States Feed at Federal Trough, Blue States Supply the Feed”

It truly applies to the blue states and to the mostly red state Tea Party. I wish someone from that party would make it clear how they intend to pay for the wars, social security, and the medicare if we don;t tax the rich and corporations. Can’t they see that their whole agenda is anti-democratic and mostly unconstitutional, and of course, racist?

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C Thanks for coming to my defense. :) I think the original Tea Party people probably would not be in favor of the wars, social security, or medicare. So they are less taxation and less spending. The Republicans who have attached themselves to the movement (so what I mean by that sentence is not all Republicans have attachd themselves) are lower taxes and hide your head in the sand. Several years ago those particular Republicans said nothing about the deficit, because people had jobs, and were charging on credit, and did not give a damn about the big picture, and their guy was president. I don’t trust people who only speak up when the other guy is in. Lacks integrity. We see it on both sides of course.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie You are welcome and when you are right, you’re right. What you have describe about the current crop of Republicans is correct. Party discipline is tremendous. They actually get members to vote against the best interests of their constituents for the good of party. Hitler would be proud.

Nullo's avatar

@Ron_C It is not right, and only sometimes beneficial, for a person to admit to an untruth.

MeinTeil's avatar

You haven’t lived in California have you.

ETpro's avatar

@MeinTeil I did in that idyllic time Meg Whitman recalled 30 years ago when Jerry Brown was governor. It was a terrific place to live then. Everything she reminisced about it in the ad was true back then . It went downhill fast after the anti-tax crusaders(1978) got prop 13 pushed through.

After gutting California’s good governance, they set their sites on the entire country, and now after Reagan’s 60% tax cut for the rich, the whole country is in the same trouble California slid into.

I don’t want hogh taxes any more than you or anyone else does. But I do recognize that a certain level of investment in the future is needed to keep our country strong and growing, and to avoid running huge deficits to do it.

janbb's avatar

@ETpro Lurve you for that!

Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro I just had a discussion with my boss and who is our company’s president and a Tea Party member. We were discussing the election and that one of the main things the Republicans want to do is repeal the health care legislation. Of course I think the law is too complicated and should have been working toward a single payer system. I explained to my boss that a single payer system would also benefit him by relieving the burden of the company paying health insurance. His only response is that he didn’t want the government involved in health care and he liked the idea of tying employees to the company by paying for their health care. How can you argue against such a low information agenda?

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C tying employees. That is the first time I have ever heard of an employer actually saying that out loud. I say it all of the time, not sure if I said it on this Q, how much I hate health insurance through employers; limits choice for the end consumer, and enslaves us to our employer.

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C The level of wilful ignorance is astounding. The authoritarian leaders have done a marvelous job of programming their right-wing authoritarian followers.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro I have never heard a Democrat hate the idea of insurance through the employer, except those who want real single payer, but no one ever mentions the part about tying employees to their jobs, none of the Dem politicians, they just talk about people out of work or with no insurance, it is never put in a way that it makes us dependent, practically, on the employer. Health insurance is usually presented as a gift from the employer, and how horrible it is when employers don’t offer any. The only other thing like this is people who are in US from foreign countries who have their working visa’s attached to their job. Quit their job, deported.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie I agree with you for the main but just want to say that their are employers like my husband who would really like to see single payer come in as the best system. Also, health care for employees is a tremendous cost and burden to employers and not something they are necessarily happy to provide.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb I am sure there are many employers like your husband, I didn’t mean to lump all business owners together. Also, I think a few years ago the auto industry was asking for government run healthcare so they could compete better. Honestly, I have a feeling it is the politicians in Washington talking about employers offering healthcare, more than the employers, now that you make me think about it.

ETpro's avatar

Employer mandated healthcare coverage puts US businesses at a very distinct disadvantage in competing for international trade with countries where businesses have no such cost to bear. Single payer is the way to go. The administrative costs are a fraction of those in private, for-profit insurers.

GracieT's avatar

I live in a red state. Don’t abandon us just because the majority of my state is red! Not all of us feel that way!

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