Solved: Why Poor States Are Red and Rich States Are Blue

  
Via:  citizen-kane-473667  •  one week ago  •  8 comments

Solved: Why Poor States Are Red and Rich States Are Blue
One of the great conundrums of the American political scene is why the poorer states, colloquially known as "red" states, tend to vote Republican or conservative, while the richer states, the "blue" ones (and let it be said that this is very confusing for this European, for over here the colours tend to work the other way around, red is Labour, or left wing) tend to vote Democrat. We would think that it should be the other way around, the poor people voting for more from that Great Big Pinata...

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



If we measure by consumption patterns then it's the blue states that are poor, the red states that are rich :

Blue states, like California, New York and Illinois, whose economies turn on finance, trade and knowledge, are generally richer than red states. But red states, like Texas, Georgia and Utah, have done a better job over all of offering a higher standard of living relative to housing costs. That basic economic fact not only helps explain why the nation’s electoral map got so much redder in the November midterm elections, but also why America’s prosperity is in jeopardy.

Red state economies based on energy extraction, agriculture and suburban sprawl may have lower wages, higher poverty rates and lower levels of education on average than those of blue states — but their residents also benefit from much lower costs of living. For a middle-class person , the American dream of a big house with a backyard and a couple of cars is much more achievable in low-tax Arizona than in deep-blue Massachusetts. As Jed Kolko, chief economist of Trulia, recently noted, housing costs almost twice as much in deep-blue markets ($227 per square foot) than in red markets ($119).

That particular piece then goes on to chunter away about how appalling it is that people aren't willing to vote for more blue state type of policies and how this will be the end of America. However, the really interesting part of it is that part quoted above. For it speaks to something that economists just keep trying to point out to people. Yes, sure, income inequality might be important in a way, wealth inequality should have a place in our thoughts. But what really matters to people about how life is lived is consumption. Levels of consumption and also consumption inequality. That last is important in a political sense currently because consumption inequality just hasn't widened out as much as income and wealth inequality have. And levels of consumption: well, that's really what income or wealth is, the ability to purchase consumption. And if you're in a place where prices are lower, leading to greater consumption (whether of food, or square feet of housing, or leisure, or whatever), well, then you're richer, aren't you?

And thus is our conundrum solved. The red states aren't in fact poorer than the blue states. They're richer: that's why they vote more conservative and more right wing.

The article goes on into more in-depth analysis. Very interesting read actually... - CK

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Citizen Kane-473667
1  seeder  Citizen Kane-473667    one week ago
Yes, sure, income inequality might be important in a way, wealth inequality should have a place in our thoughts. But what really matters to people about how life is lived is consumption. Levels of consumption and also consumption inequality. That last is important in a political sense currently because consumption inequality just hasn't widened out as much as income and wealth inequality have. And levels of consumption: well, that's really what income or wealth is, the ability to purchase consumption. And if you're in a place where prices are lower, leading to greater consumption (whether of food, or square feet of housing, or leisure, or whatever), well, then you're richer, aren't you?

I'd say so. Where I live now it would take an income 3X's as large to live like this in California cities...and probably even more actually.

 
 
 
Heartland American
1.1  Heartland American  replied to  Citizen Kane-473667 @1    one week ago

Even within California the differences are obvious.  Our living costs in Redding are much less than LA or SF and our adjusting standard of living is higher and our adjusted poverty rate lower than theirs.  

 
 
 
Citizen Kane-473667
2  seeder  Citizen Kane-473667    one week ago

Of course it would be nice if I got the wages of a L.A. white collar worker in my position while I telecommute from my house out here in Lower Cost Of Living Land, lol!

 
 
 
Heartland American
2.1  Heartland American  replied to  Citizen Kane-473667 @2    one week ago

And when the lower cost of living and lower housing costs are factored in our poverty rate is lower than theirs as well.  

 
 
 
Citizen Kane-473667
3  seeder  Citizen Kane-473667    one week ago

Kind of shoots that whole nan a nana boo boo of the Blue States to the Red States right in the foot doesn't it???

 
 
 
Heartland American
4  Heartland American    one week ago

That basic and first observation still stands though. That puzzle of why people in places with lower incomes tend to vote right wing is solved. Because those lower income places have even lower prices, making consumption standards higher. There is therefore no conundrum. The richer people, by the only standard that actually matters, that consumption, are voting right wing, the poorer are voting left.

What we now need to go on and explain is why those nominally left policies, those blue ones, are so to the disadvantage of the poor they’re supposedly helping….https://thenewstalkers.com/comment/update/id=1154786

 
 
 
Tacos!
5  Tacos!    one week ago

You can't just look at one or two statistics and think you know all there is to know about people or the places they live. People with a political agenda are the ones who look at average incomes or federal appropriations and think they can talk about who is rich or poor. They do this because the numbers support their argument, but the numbers don't tell the whole story. Their evidence is incomplete.

It's important to remember the differences in cost of living when we start talking about raising the national minimum wage. $15/hour might be reasonable in New York or San Francisco, but in Omaha or Little Rock, it's not necessary and you'll put everybody out of business.

 
 
 
devangelical
6  devangelical    one week ago

blah, blah, blah. this article reminds me of that old 60's mantra, better dead than red.

 
 
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