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Always Click the Links

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North-Dakota-welcomeYou too can have a tiny population with large oil reserves if you only voted Republican!

Tyler Cowen makes a sweeping claim:

At the state and local level, the governments controlled by Republicans tend to be better run, sometimes much better run, than those controlled by the Democrats (oops).  And a big piece of how American people actually experience government comes at the state and local level.

Interesting if true! However, if you clink you’ll note that the “evidence” consists of a post at Glenn Beck’s site, which summarizes one of those tendentious collections of arbitrary statistics collected by business groups to “prove” the pre-determined conclusion that Republican states are better-run. Three of the stats used — unemployment, per capita income, and percentage of people below the poverty line — make the assumption that if states have larger numbers of poor people they must have worse government, which of course makes no sense. Not surprisingly, the “best governed” list is dominated by tiny, resource-rich rural states like Wyoming and North Dakota, while states that people actually want to emigrate to like California and Arizona bring up the rear. (To be Scrupulously Fair, it’s hard to argue with Rhode Island!) What this stuff proves is…absolutely nothing about how states are governed. But it’s good enough for Cowen’s Very Serious Analysis.

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