Friday, May 18, 2012

Red vs Blue. Now What Does that Mean Again?


I can honestly say whenever Red State vs Blue State is mentioned I have to turn to Mrs. Knabe and ask, "What does that mean again? One is Republican the other Democrat? One is Conservative the other Liberal? One clings to their guns and religion the other are the Quaker atheists?"

And thus I approached your, "Rich States, Poor States, Red States, Blue States," with a certain amount of dread because I would have to endure the sigh and rolling of the eyes from the Mrs. as I asked again for a tutorial on Red versus Blue. And guess what? 30 seconds after being reminded for the umpteenth time which was which, I STILL wouldn't remember.

This kind of data shown in could actually be interesting and I did start to look at it, but couldn't decide what, if anything, I would gain by playing with the numbers.

You ask some interesting questions about cause and effect of government policies but I'm not sure you'll get an answer here, particularly from the HDI (Human Development Index). It purports to measure something more important than income but it looks to me that's exactly what it measures. Income is driven by education. Income drives life expectancy. Adding the three together, I don't think, adds much new information. Or statistically, it has some serious auto-correlation issues.

But I do like the idea of exploring what results from different government and market policies. For that we actually have had some pretty interesting real life experiments. East vs West Berlin. North v South Korea. China vs Hong Kong. China vs Taiwan. Malaysia vs Singapore. And so on.

Are those applicable to Red vs Blue, (whatever that means?) I'd say somewhat, certainly not perfectly. But it would be interesting to see for instance, a comparison of New Jersey suburbs of New York vs Connecticut suburbs of New York over the past few years, as state policies have diverged, I would say sharply. I am sure there are other real-life test cases to examine.


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