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The Freest States are Red, The Enslaved States are Blue

When you examine the 50 states, what you find is that the freest states, both personally and economically are red states and the states which are not free by either measure are the blue states. This does not surprise me and unless my guess, it does not surprise you either. The Cato Institute’s newest “Freedom in the 50 States” report shows that across a variety of metrics, which includes fiscal freedom, less government regulations, and civil liberties, there is no comparison between red and blue states.

The analysis’ methodology is as follows:

Our index encompasses both economic and personal freedoms because the two sets of freedoms are complementary. A state scoring high in economic freedom but not in personal freedom — a hypothetical American Singapore — would not be a really free state in the way the liberal tradition understands it. Nor would a state high in personal freedom but low in economic freedom — an American Argentina — provide the liberal conditions necessary for human flourishing in the broadest sense.

Even to economist Milton Friedman, a mere “economic freedom index” would not be a real freedom index. In his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman explores the connection between economic and political freedoms, finding that political freedom in the absence of economic freedom is unlikely to last. He writes, “It is a mark of the political freedom of a capitalist society that men can openly advocate and work for socialism,” while a socialist society does not permit the reverse.

In overall freedom, the top five states are:

  1.  New Hampshire
  2.  Florida
  3.  Nevada
  4.  Tennessee
  5.  South Dakota

Meanwhile, the bottom states are:

  1.  Oregon
  2.  New Jersey
  3.  California
  4.  Hawaii
  5.  New York
The Cato Institute is a Libertarian-leaning organization that includes gambling, LGBTQ ideology, marijuana, and tobacco. Once you filter those topics out, the top five become  Florida, Tennessee, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Idaho and the bottom five are New York, Hawaii, California, Oregon, and New Jersey.
When regulatory restraints are considered the top states are Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Idaho, and Wyoming, while the bottom five are California, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, and Oregon. This holds especially true when considering regulations pertaining to COVID-19.
Earlier in 2021, the Back-to-Normal Index — a project of Moody’s Analytics and CNN Business — began to reveal that the states that avoided or quickly removed aggressive COVID-19 responses outperformed states that lingered in reopening. The economies of South Dakota and Florida were the first to return to pre-recession strength; other top states were West Virginia, Nevada, Montana, Iowa, and Arizona.
Governor Kristi Noem (R-SD) did not issue a lockdown order in the spring of 2020. One survey indicated that South Dakota — in a tie with Idaho — ranked fourth in the country for state-to-state migration. Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) was among the first governors to rescind his state’s COVID-19 restrictions — a move that even garnered accolades from Florida Democrats.


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