Laboratories of Democracy – Part I Americans Are Voting With Their Feet

Blue states are hemorrhaging people, jobs, taxes, seats in Congress and electoral votes.

Laboratories of Democracy – Part I

Americans Are Voting With Their Feet

By: George Noga – March 21, 2021

We have blogged often about the differences between red state and blue state America. The exodus from blue states, already a torrent, became a flood due to the pandemic. Blue-to-red migration affects our demographics, representation in Congress, tax base and electoral votes. Its effects on America truly are profound and far reaching. Our four-part series, Laboratories of Democracy, presents a comprehensive analysis.

Part I – Americans Vote With Their Feet (March 21)

Part II – Sixty Years of Liberal Governance (March 28)

Part III – My Travels in Blue State America (April 4)

Part IV – Bonfire of the Blue State Vanities (April 11)

Laboratories of democracy is deeply rooted in our federalist system wherein states enjoy enormous latitude. They even take opposite positions – such as on legalization of marijuana. If one state tries a new approach and it works, it can be emulated by others; the converse also is true. Laboratories of democracy originated with Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis who wrote: “A single state may serve as a laboratory and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”

Americans always have voted with their feet – fleeing high tax jurisdictions for lower cost venues. The following is from a 1755 letter published by the Boston Gazette. “The taxes in Boston continue very high. Many inhabitants are gone into the country; the (tax) burden now falls on a smaller number; the rich complain of their rates and are moving into country towns where they are greatly eased. I love my native town but my taxes are so large that I am resolved to move my family into the country.”

Will the last person leaving blue state America please shut off the lights?

High taxes remain a principal impetus behind out migration from blue states. However, this avalanche of depopulation increasingly is about other factors such as quality of life, economic opportunity, civility, culture, jobs, spending, safety, freedom, housing, right-to-work, schools, gun control, corruption, regulation, public health, cost-of-living, energy policies and, most recently, the response to the Covid pandemic.

We begin with the most recent official government data, in some cases extrapolated to the present. Sixteen states (nearly all blue) lost population since 2010. Texas gained 5 million and Florida 3+ million. California began to shrink for the first time. The 2020 census radically alters the balance of power in Congress and the Electoral College by shifting up to ten seats (and electoral votes) from blue to red, a swing of up to 20 seats (votes). The losers (80% blue) are NY (2), CA, RI, PA, WV, OH, MI, IL, MN. The gainers (80% red) are TX (3), FL (2), NC, CO, MT, AZ, OR. Also, population loss reduces federal dollars for many programs that are funded based on population.

Blue states are losing more than people, money and votes; they are hemorrhaging jobs, and tax base and leaving a trail of sinking bond ratings, economic stagnation, fiscal deficits and underfunded pensions. Disproportionately, it is the affluent who are fleeing blue states and taking their tax base with them. In the past five years NY and CA lost and TX and FL gained $50 billion in AGI (adjusted gross income). The eight states with the biggest AGI loss all are blue, while the eight largest gainers all are red. People fleeing blue states earn an average of $20,000 more per year than those arriving. Over 25% of retired blue state teachers have their pension checks sent to red states.

It isn’t just about economics; it’s about freedom and happiness. The top five states in the index of economic freedom are red (SD, ND, TN, ID, OK) while – you guessed it – the five worst states are blue (NY, CA, NJ, HI, VT). People in red states are happier; the Gini coefficient for happiness closely tracks the blue/red divide. The divergent responses of blue/red states to Covid put the blue state exodus on steroids. The ten states with the best jobs data since the pandemic are all red, the ten worst all blue.

We close with a stark comparison. New York spends $180 billion per year, or twice the budget of Florida, although FL has 10% more people. New York City alone spends as much as Florida. Just as the real minimum wage always is zero, so it is with tax rates. Sky-high tax rates generate zero tax revenue from NY taxpayers who flee to FL.

Redistribution is part of progressive DNA and they are redistributing their taxes, jobs, people and political power to red states and we don’t even have to say thank you.


Our series continues March 28th with: Sixty years of liberal governance.

The State of the World is Better Than You Think

Human nature causes us to measure progress against utopia rather than against the past.

The State of the World is Better Than You Think

By: George Noga – January 17, 2021

This is our first post of 2021 and we are starting out on a positive note. Most people believe the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Recent polls show only 6% of Americans think the world is getting better. Many tacitly assume that for humanity to be better off, everything must be getting better for everyone everywhere. Reality never works that way; some unfavorable trends coexist with many more positive ones. Moreover, many people tend to measure progress against utopia rather than the past.

Humans are hard wired to be pessimistic as we evolved from risk-averse ancestors. When our Paleolithic forebears heard a noise in the bushes, it could be caused by either the wind or a predator. Those who assumed it was the wind did not live to be our ancestors. We therefore are descended from people who tended to worry a lot.

We worry about, inter alia, the Covid pandemic, climate change, politics, civil unrest, the environment, crime and terrorism. Following are some key megatrends showing that Homo sapiens, far from perdition, really is getting better and better all the time. Note: much of the data used herein are from a Cato Institute book: Ten Global Trends.

Eradication of extreme poverty: In the past 200 years the world economy grew 100 fold, while population grew only 18 fold. If the same growth rate is maintained, the economy will grow 10 fold by 2100, while population will be about the same as today.

Natural resources are plentiful and becoming more so: Over the last 40 years, out of 50 commodities studied, 45 of them are less expensive (adjusted for inflation) meaning they are more plentiful relative to demand for them. The average price for all 50 commodities fell 35%, while during that same period wages grew 80%. We have never run out, or are in any danger of running out, of any nonrenewable resource!

Population soon will peak and then decline: Several demographic studies agree that human population will peak soon after mid century and then begin to decline such that in 2100 population will be close to its present level and continue to decrease thereafter. This should go a very long way toward a solution for climate change.

Abundance of food with less land: The world food supply is now 3,000 calories per day per person, an increase of 36% in 60 years despite a burgeoning population. This level exceeds the USDA’s recommended daily caloric intake. Except in war zones, famines are ancient history. More and more land (1 million square miles) has been reclaimed for nature due to use of GMOs and more efficient farming practices.

End of wars between countries: In the past 50 years, wars between nations have been rare and those that did occur resulted in much fewer casualties; this is true even though we went from 50 countries in 1946 to about 200 today. This trend is attributable to increases in democracy, greater wealth and intertwined trading patterns.

All around better world: In recent years democracies increased from 31% to 49%, while autocracies fell from 39% to 11%. In the past 100 years the chances of someone dying from a natural disaster have declined by 99%. Virtually every metric extant evidences that we live in a far safer world and it is getting better all the time.

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As this year progresses, MLLG will address many of the problems America and the world face. It is wise however to begin 2021 with some perspective, so that our problems do not cause us to lose sight of the big picture, i.e. the enormous progress humanity has made and continues to make – contrary to the beliefs of 94% of Americans. Whenever you hear a rustling in the bushes, it is not always a lion.


Our January 24th post deals with the integrity of elections in the USA.

More Liberty Less Government – mllg@cfl.rr.com – www.mllg.us