Frankel: Mitt Romney Rejects His Natural Voters
Mitt Romney Rejects His Natural Voters, by Jeff Frankel, Commentary, Project Syndicate: ...Mitt Romney’s characterization of 47% of the American electorate as “victims” who are “dependent on government” and refuse to take “personal responsibility” for their lives ... appears to have categorized a large segment of his party’s own voters as supporters of President Barack Obama. ...
The unspoken truth is that, compared to “blue-staters,” those who live in red states exhibit less responsibility, on average, in their personal behavior: they are less physically fit, less careful in their sexual behavior, more prone to inflict harm on themselves and others through smoking and drinking, and more likely to receive federal subsidies.
Statistical analysis shows that ... the ... average score of the five “reddest” states ... is worse on each of six measures of irresponsibility than the average score of the five “bluest”...: more obesity, smoking, chlamydia, teenage pregnancy, drunk-driving fatalities, and firearms assaults. In the latter three measures, the “reckless” share of the population is almost twice as high among the reddest states as it is among the bluest.
The states that score worst on these measures are also the states whose congressional representatives voted against Obama’s Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in 2010, though many of these unhealthy people free-ride on their fellow citizens...
Policy wonks have long known that one gets similar results when looking at which states receive more federal subsidies: Despite all the rhetoric about “getting the government off our backs,” the red states receive the most federal transfers... Democratic-leaning states ... are net contributors to the federal budget, and thus subsidize everyone else. Those who claim to be most fiscally conservative in fact tend to feed most voraciously at the public trough.
Blue-state residents, who tend to be more educated and have higher incomes than residents of red states, have refrained from suggesting that their red-states compatriots exhibit behavior that falls short of the conservative rhetoric of personal responsibility. It would be unseemly and perhaps “elitist” to point fingers at fellow Americans and imply that they are promiscuous, fat, gluttonous, lazy, uneducated, or that they are more prone to divorce, drunkeness, and gun-related deaths. ...
What about the millions of red-state Americans who have been preaching hard work, family values, self-reliance, and small government, while practicing the opposite? Surely this is the more objectionable stance. Yet, for red-state politicians, this hypocrisy has been a winning electoral strategy for three decades.
Posted by Mark Thoma on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 12:33 AM in Economics, Politics |
You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.