Over the past year, there has been a pretty clear divide between liberal governors, who almost without exception imposed irrationally harsh covid lockdown measures, and conservative governors, who generally took a more nuanced and pro-freedom approach. The data are now in, courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and they tell a story that cannot be misinterpreted.
My colleague Martha Njolomole created these charts. First, job losses in December 2020. She focused on the fact that Minnesota, shut down once more by feckless Governor Tim Walz, lost nearly 50,000 jobs in December alone, trailing only Michigan and California. By contrast, Wisconsin, about as similar to Minnesota as a state can be, is on the way to recovery, adding 15,000 jobs in that month. What state added the most jobs in December? Texas, by far.
This chart shows cumulative job losses in the year 2020 (no state gained jobs), shown on a percentage basis:
The political correlation is stark. What states have fared the worst during the Wuhan epidemic? We can give Hawaii a pass, since its tourist industry was crushed. But the poorest-performing states are all blue, with liberal governors in most cases notorious for their extreme shutdown policies: Michigan, New York (the ultimate covid disaster state), Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Minnesota, California, New Jersey, Delaware, Oregon.
Conversely, the best-performing states are red, generally if not always with Republican governors: Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Nebraska, South Carolina, Indiana, Arkansas, Arizona, South Dakota, Montana, Missouri, Tennessee. It would be hard to imagine a clearer pattern of success vs. failure.
And the blue states gained nothing, in terms of public health, in exchange for the devastation their governors wreaked on their citizens. As everyone knows, in terms of Wuhan fatalities, Florida has outperformed New York. Likewise, Georgia has outperformed New Jersey, South Carolina has outperformed Michigan, South Dakota has outperformed Massachusetts, and so on.
What comes next? Democrats will seek to extract many billions of dollars from states whose governments behaved sensibly, to subsidize states whose governors reacted hysterically, and unfeelingly, to the Wuhan epidemic. There is no reason why the red states should go along with such subsidies. New York elected Andy Cuomo, Michigan elected Gretchen Whitmer, and Minnesota elected Tim Walz. Those were catastrophically bad decisions, and those states’ legislatures were either unwilling or unable to rein in the governors’ excesses. There is no reason why the damage done by these liberal governors should be borne by taxpayers in more sensible states.