This is an interesting site that graphically displays the well known fact that left leaning areas of the country tend to be richer and prodice higher quality of life indices than more conservative areas. The cause-and-effect conundrum applies fully here, since even in my most partisan moments (who me?), I would not claim that robust government spending and liberal social policies by themselves are guarantors of a better life for those who live under them. It's entirely possible that public largess is merely a reflection of what was possible when the the blue state's economic engines were roaring along, and that as those engines sputter and stall such spending will be remembered wistfully as the high water mark of a bygone halcyon economic era. I suppose one could argue with equal conviction that the liberal policies espoused by the rich states aren't the reason for their success and the conservative policies embraced by the poor states aren't the reason for their failure. The inference of such an argument however, is that public policy, economic success, and quality of life have no relation to each other at all.