Politics

Americans Are Migrating To More-Free Conservative States

By John Merline – Investor’s Business Daily

Americans are migrating from less-free liberal states to more-free conservative states, where they are doing better economically, according to a new study published Thursday by the George Mason University’s Mercatus Center.

The “Freedom in the 50 States” study measured economic and personal freedom using a wide range of criteria, including tax rates, government spending and debt, regulatory burdens, and state laws covering land use, union organizing, gun control, education choice and more.

It found that the freest states tended to be conservative “red” states, while the least free were liberal “blue” states.

The freest state overall, the researchers concluded, was North Dakota, followed by South Dakota, Tennessee, New Hampshire and Oklahoma. The least free state by far was New York, followed by California, New Jersey, Hawaii and Rhode Island.

The study also compared its measures of economic and personal freedom to population shifts and income growth, and found that freer states tend to do better on both scores than those less free.

For example, it found a strong correlation between a state’s freedom ranking and migration, which means that Americans are gravitating toward states that have less-intrusive governments.

“People are voting for places with greater freedom,” said William Ruger, a political scientist at Texas State University and one of the co-authors of the study. That was true, he said, even after controlling for things like weather and amenities that might attract people to states independent of these freedom measures.

The study also found that states with more freedom tended to see stronger income growth. This was particularly true in states with more regulatory freedom.

“Adam Smith was right,” Ruger said. “If you have economic freedom you will have economic growth.”

IBD has previously reported that red states saw stronger job growth, lower unemployment and bigger gains in per capita income than blue states, during the economic recovery.

The data also show that blue states have generally become less free over the past decade, while red states have tended to gain additional levels of freedom. The states with the biggest declines in freedom were Wyoming, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Kansas. Those with the biggest gains were Oklahoma, North Dakota, Idaho, Utah and New Mexico.

And contrary to conventional wisdom, the researchers found that conservative states are just as likely as liberal ones to score well on measures of personal freedom, which looked at laws covering marijuana use, gambling, marriage rights, alcohol and tobacco use, gun control, victim-less crimes and the like.

“Personal freedom does not relate straightforwardly to the left-right spectrum at all,” the study noted.

The study’s findings also call into question claims made repeatedly by President Obama during last year’s campaign that tax cuts and deregulation won’t produce growth and prosperity.

“They tell us,” he said in one speech, that “if we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes — especially for the wealthy — our economy will grow stronger.”

“Here’s the problem,” he said. “It doesn’t work. It has never worked.”

But if anything, the data show precisely the opposite.

 

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Samaritan01
8 years ago

The main problem with migration from less free states to states with more freedom is that people tend to bring their faulty voting habits with them. They don’t seem to understand that it was their poor decisions that ruined their previous state and ultimately forced them to move in the first place. If these political migrants want to change their lives they might need to change themselves first!

Joe Burke
8 years ago

My opinion is this, I will no longer tolerate the liberal agenda. I went to Tampa last year as a Delegate to the RNC for Ron Paul. I was there as the Republican wiped their ass with potentially 20 million Ron Paul voters. Yeah good move, they lost the election. There is little difference between the old school Republicans and the Democrats. They ALL want to be in the social elite looking down on the “unwashed masses” knowing that only they know what is good for us. McCain is a prime example. The pot is boiling in this country not just simmering. People are arming themselves and buying guns for their friends and neighbors who can’t afford them. If the uppity leaders in this country don’t wake up they may find themselves being drug out into the streets. There is a civil war brewing in this country and I fear that the outcome will end up being much worse that the way it is now. What would happen to this nation if it were to break-up into three or more smaller warring countries? Or even worse: Imagine if this country were to blow up into civil war and another Hitler were to come along and was able to convince the people that he was the one to solve the nations problems. WE MUST GET OFF OUR COLLECTIVE ASSES AND BECOME INVOLVED. Waiting for someone else to fix things won’t happen. YOU AND I need to fix it. If we don’t do something someone else will and his name is Communism or Satan. The liberals like it that you are now apathetic and stay at home doing nothing and thinking that it is all over. They planned it that way when the Fabian Society moved here from England 90 years ago. It is only too late if YOU do nothing. Support a true Conservative Candidate. Be on their campaign staff. Go door to door,make phone calls. Donating money isn’t enough as Mayor Bloomburg and George Soros can buy ALL the votes if it comes down to money. Get out there and work for our country. Run for office yourself…or hide behind your door clutching your gun until the day comes when they come kicking down your door and blow your head off with their legally sanctioned court orders just like they did in Russia 80 years ago or for that matter Ruby Ridge and Waco.

Judy Mann
8 years ago
Reply to  Joe Burke

I’d vote for you, Joe.

Lee
8 years ago

Paul, you are so right about the “morphing”. We are in TN and have California neighbors and they have gotten all involved in our little city politics and now our taxes have doubled within a year and services cut. more city employees hired. It’s a mess!

PaulE
8 years ago
Reply to  Lee

That’s how it always starts. Rather than enjoy the personal freedom and better standard of living of their new home state, some folks, not all, from blue states feel an over-whelming need to re-create the same bad policies and government bloat of the state they left behind. For whatever reason, they seem to think things will somehow turn out better this time around, even as they go about repeating the same mistakes that led to the mess they left behind. Like I said, I don’t know what you can do to avoid the mess. You obviously see first hand what I’m talking about.

Joe Burke
8 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

I can relate…Colorado has become Commierado or Calarado if you prefer. We bought a small place waaay up in northern Florida and will be leaving my home state of Colorado ASAP. It is in the “old South” and we will mind our own business and keep it that way.

tom
8 years ago

I think this is true, Republican States are doing a lot better than a democrate run state. Look at those states where democrates run everything, they’re are all in trouble economically. Democrates, as you can see what we have in the white house, love to spend on anything and everything, especially when it’s OUR money they’re spending. I live in IL., in the Chicago suburbs, here in cook county and this state, things couldn’t be much worse. The same politians keep getting in every time, and nothing ever changes, taxes keep going up along with everything else except the pay checks, and they just keep digging and looking for every way to get more from you. This is a sorry county and state.

PaulE
8 years ago

The only problem I can anticipate with people moving from high tax, high regulation states such as New York, California, New Jersey and others to more limited government, lower tax, less onerous regulation states like Texas, Arizona, etc. , is that a lot of these people will bring their voting preferences with them. Look at what happened to states like Colorado and a few other states that are morphing into the very image of the blue states those residents fled from. I’m not sure how one would secure one’s state from going the way of Colorado, but life-long residents of the existing low tax, reasonable regulation states need to be very aware of the risk a mass migration of blue staters into their states could potentially pose. A beautiful, vibrant, well-run state economic environment can be totally trashed in less than a generation, if those coming into the state insist on repeating the same bad voting choices that led to their own state’s economic ruin. Just a thought.

Eric
8 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Paul, we are planning to move within 3 years or so to a “red state”, fleeing socially-decaying New York, where less than one-quarter of the population are true conservatives and probably most of the “47%” live. I doubt the latter will give up their cookies in exchange for becoming personally responsible for themselves so it is unlikely they will be migrating. The rest of us however are tired of the “what’s in it for me mentality” and the true conservatives who do migrate will only make “red states” even stronger from an economic and social perspective.

PaulE
8 years ago
Reply to  Eric

I hope you are correct and the 47 percent stay behind in the decaying disasters they have created for themselves. My only concern is that once these blue states begin imploding upon themselves, for lack of enough tax revenue to keep the “gravy train” running, that we’ll start to see some significant numbers of the 47 percent crowd migrating to “follow the money”. All in the hope they can re-create their mess elsewhere.

That is essentially what happened to states like Colorado and Oregon. Years ago, they were solid red states, but as more and more of the 47 percent crowd moved in, they began voting for the same failed public policies and any politicians that would deliver them. I just don’t want to see any more well-run states being run into the ground by people that expect cradle to grave welfare, because they feel they are “entitled”.

Joe Burke
8 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Hopefully the 47% will be too stupid and lazy to do anything but starve while their masters live it up while telling them how good they have it. The alternative is that “Red States” wake up and do not allow the gimmie gimmie crowd to settle down in their states. This has to stop or there will be major civil uprisings as the liberal leaders try to force the workers and doers of this country to pay for the whiners and the beggers. I have had enough!

PaulE
8 years ago
Reply to  Eric

Eric,

You’re obviously planning to move for all the right reasons. My only concern is that at some point, the 47 percent crowd is going to figure out that the people who pay for their lifestyle are all moving away. No taxpayers, no “free lunch”. That will lead at least some of them to “follow the money” to the red states in the hope of transforming them over time, like they did with Colorado and Oregon, into either purple or blue states. Yes, they’ll have to get by with much less in the way of government handouts in such a move, but with the goal, if they are successful in turning a state, of eventually getting back their full free ride at taxpayer expense.

I’m not sure how the red states could safeguard against that potential issue, but it is something they would have to be very vigilant to avoid.

Iris D. Lynch
8 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Absolutely correct. We have the same problem here in Arizona. These are people who want to control other people’s behavior instead of minding their own business! My book The Miracle of self Power explains all of it and the bullying that individuals, groups and governments do to keep “on top’ of others. Take a look for it on You Tube.

kevin squires
8 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

As one who lives in new york state,the first response im gonna give u is simple,most of new york is as rural as any place in this nation…Most of new york is filled with normal people,but we have 1 major problem,its called new york cityalbany,poughkeepsie,utica,bingampton,auburn,syracuse rochester corning buffalo horseheads….ithaca watkins glenn…and the list is more….when u have 13 major cities u already know how urban folks r gonna vote….as the maps of the whole nation show,almost all urban areas nationwide are full of socialist.when a new yorker as myself decides to sell off his paid off home,and is willing to take the time to research what state they r willing to migrate to get back personal freedoms,i highly doubt u gotta worry bout their voting habits!!talk about a childish philosophy??were in gods name would u get ur information to make such an assumption??believe it or not we have country,and hunting and fishing,i probly own more firearms then you,and belong to all major consertive gun organisations…my only real question to u is what state r u in,so i can factor that stupidity quotiant on what state im migrating to….

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