The Blue States Are Now the Beggar States

The Blue States Are Now the Beggar States by Stephen Moore for Town Hall

Last week, I visited South Florida for four days, and what a shock: Everything was open. The beaches, the hotels, the restaurants (with some sensible safety and social distancing restrictions). The classrooms are full.

The other strange thing about being in Florida was that people were happy. They were playing tennis and golf. They were going to work and getting on with their lives. Florida is a Republican, can-do kind of place.

Then, there is New York. Manhattan is a morose and deserted place to be. It’s as if it’s boarded up. People are living their lives afraid. They are depressed, which makes the whole place depressing. In Southern California, I experienced the same dreariness. And it wasn’t the weather, which was warm and sunny. Restaurants were closed or highly restricted. Stores were sparsely attended, and people were generally grimacing and standoffish. They yelp in horror if you take off your mask, even for a moment.

Yet through it all, there is almost no evidence that lockdowns, business closures, stay-at-home orders and other strategies have reduced the infection rates or death rates from the virus. To take just one prominent example, open Florida has had a lower death rate (adjusted for the age distribution of the population) than closed-down California and New York. Even President Joe Biden’s crackerjack health officials can’t explain that one.

Fifty states experimented with responses to the virus, and the verdict is in: The big blue states got crushed. The highest unemployment states are Hawaii, Nevada, California, Colorado, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Connecticut. On average, the blue states have 2 percentage points lower unemployment, which means millions of more jobless citizens. Their revenues have collapsed with businesses closed down.

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