The Fruits of Liberal Governance

I’ve lived in New York and Massachusetts for the past 25 years.  I’ve never met anyone who thought the people in Texas and Florida were smarter than we are. In fact, the general consensus is that they are a bunch of Bible-thumping simpletons. This is actually a slight improvement from 50 years ago at Princeton, Harvard and Penn, when they were also considered racist thugs.

That being the case, it certainly came as a shock to the collective ego when the census of 2010 led to a gain of 4 representatives for Texas and 2 for Florida, coupled with a loss of 2 for New York, 1 each for Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

The population of Texas rose from just under 21 million in 2000 to just over 25 in 2010  Although Massachusetts gained 200,000 they started with just under 1/3 as many people so they didn’t grow nearly as much.  Ditto for the other 5 states.

Although the last of the decade was bad, the first part was the famed real estate boom.

We can’t blame minorities for this —  in 2006 Texas became a minority majority state, meaning that non whites outnumbered whites.  It isn’t the wonderful climate down there either.  Trust me, I went through basic AF training in San Antonio in September and October in ’68.

Currently, my depressed home town in Massachusetts is looking hopefully at a new high performance computer center, with participation from Harvard and MIT.  Very nice, but there’s no way Texas and Florida have anything close to the technological base of Mass, NY, NJ and Pa.  If  high tech is to save our town, it should have saved the state and it didn’t.

The commonality to the losing states is the political culture of liberalism, the winners have prospered under the opposite.

We see the same thing nationally.  Almost no growth in the past 4 years under very liberal governance, particularly for the first 2 years.  You can argue which approach is philosophically better, but for results there is no comparison. This is why one side talks about ‘fairness’.  When the pie isn’t growing (as it hasn’t), inequality is particularly grating.  When it’s booming no one cares.

Spike Lee made a very sobering movie  about the drug trade in the projects (Clockers).  Toward the end he put in something only a Black man could get away with.  After 2 hours of carnage, Harvey Keitel (playing a homicide detective) looks at the next murdered Black, then looks up at the projects, and says — ‘it’s like a self-cleaning oven’.

So it is with reapportionment.  It took a real estate crash and a depression,which Barney Frank (let’s roll the dice on Freddie and Fannie)  helped cause, to get rid of him but it was worth it.

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  • Josh WInslow  On October 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    You’ve conflated economics with population growth. Representation isn’t apportioned by GSP but by population. New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Illinois all handily beat both Texas and Florida in GSP per capita. Even ‘lowly’ Pennsylvania is pretty much tied with Texas.

  • Curious Wavefunction  On October 15, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Not sure I understand how you jump from the failure of high-tech industries to liberalism. The fortunes of the high-tech sector have generally ebbed and risen independently of the political climate; as I am sure you well know, the loss of growth in the pharmaceutical industry for instance has to do mostly with bad management and the inherent difficulty of discovering new drugs. The high-sector has seen both good and bad days in liberal states; the reason high-tech has not saved MA has almost everything to do with the failures of high-tech and the general recession, and little to do with MA.

    • luysii  On October 16, 2012 at 10:45 am

      I mentioned high tech, because it is being touted as the salvation of the town where I live in Massachusetts, and the post is meant (partially) for neighbors and friends. For a very funny, and completely opposite, view from one of my friends see The present post is more a response to him than anything else.

  • John Wayne  On October 16, 2012 at 9:38 am

    The first paragraph made me laugh out loud. When people from Massachusetts find out that I did my graduate studies in the midwest and Texas, they often ask if I felt threatened by all the dumb gun-toting republican hillbillies. It is smug intellectual racism like that that makes we want to move back.

    Right now Cambridge is feeling pretty good as a chemist. While there aren’t nearly as many jobs as there were before, lots of pharmaceutical companies are moving here. For some reason they think that moving to Boston will fix their problems, and it won’t (unless you count all the headcount reductions); so what will happen when everybody moves out?

  • Curious Wavefunction  On October 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    John Wayne: True, although you were probably in a university town, right? I am sure Austin or Madison are not the same as the rest of Texas and Wisconsin. I completely agree with the crux of the argument regarding stereotypes (and it’s worth noting that many Nobel Prize winning scientists grew up in the midwest) but I just want to point out the distinction; many people who study at good universities in the midwest or south don’t always get a taste of the state they live in.

    • luysii  On October 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      Possum Trot, Kentucky; Petosky, Michican,

    • John Wayne  On October 17, 2012 at 9:29 am

      CW: I completely agree with you about university towns and their failure to represent the area they are geographically located in. The thing that bothers me about sweeping statements (example above) is how they don’t leave room for diversity within other groups. The stereotypes are that people in New England are intellectual snobs that think they know what is the best for everybody, and that people from the Midwest are inbred rednecks that are too dumb to vote for things that would help them. These stereotypes are both true in that they describe at least a minority of people in those groups. I don’t have a lot of respect for a opinion that states ‘all the people who (fill in category) are like this!’

      • luysii  On October 17, 2012 at 9:46 am

        “The stereotypes are that people in New England are intellectual snobs that think they know what is the best for everybody,” Unfortunately, around here, and in the educated classes I mostly hang out with, it isn’t a stereotype — it’s an accurate description. They are just as certain about things now as their grandparents 2 generations back were about religious belief.

  • Curious Wavefunction  On October 17, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    John Wayne: I empathize with what you’re saying. I went to school in Atlanta and never really got a taste of Georgia. Most of my fellow students acted like Atlanta were Georgia. Sometimes I really wish I had got out more.

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