Culture in the sovereign states
Earlier this week there was a torrent of discussion about Mitt's remarks in Israel about the differences in "culture" between two neighboring countries making the difference in economic performance. If you would like to read a thoughtful take on the issue, I'd recommend James Fallows' piece in The Atlantic.
There was also a lot of discussion about the US and Mexico example, but I didn't see anyone except Blue
Gal Texan at Crooks and Liars take the example of what the right wingers insist upon seeing as the "sovereign" states of America. (Many of these people including governors of big states are Tenthers, which means they see this quite literally.)
So how does Mitt explain this?
Of the top 10 states (and including DC) in per capita GDP, only two -- Alaska and Wyoming -- are Republican. And Alaska is heavily subsidized by the federal government.
Of the bottom 10 states in per capita GDP, only two -- Michigan and New Mexico -- are Blue.
So, 8 of the 10 most prosperous states are Blue, and 8 of the 10 poorest states are Red. A rather "stark difference in economic vitality," is it not?
And there's more.
Red states have higher rates of divorce, teen pregnancy, higher crime rates, and lower education levels than Blue states.
So what gives?
...why haven't Republicans had more success rejuvenating the economies of deep red states?Why are so many deeply conservative states among the worst performers on a range of statistics, from output and income, to educational attainment, to life expectancy and literacy?
These are all good questions. If it's all about "culture" I think we have to ask why conservative cultures are so economically backwards, don't you?
Mitt's point is much better made with the US example than with Israel and Palestine. After all, the blue states send a helluva lot more money and federal help to the red states than they get back and are constantly trying to even out the distribution of wealth and services a little bit to help their poorest citizens. (It's not like private enterprise is getting the job done...)Many of these red states would rather their people die than accept it
. I suppose one has to ask whether this is ideology or culture, but I think it's pretty clear that when it comes to American conservatives that's a distinction without a difference.