Stephen Moore: The Continuing Blue State Carnage From COVID Lockdowns
In the latest edition of his must-read newsletter our friend conservative economist Stephen Moore said it’s bewildering to him that many academics and media folks look back on the
last 15 months and say that mandatory lockdowns of schools and businesses across America were a successful pandemic strategy. As he has demonstrated over the past year, the impact of lockdowns on preventing deaths from the virus were either nonexistent or de minimis.
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But the economic damage inflicted by Democratic governors on their own residents and small businesses lives on in blue state America. The latest jobs data from the Labor Department only brings into even sharper focus the damage done.
All 10 of the states with unemployment rates above 7% have Democratic governors that locked down their states.
Nine of the 10 states with unemployment rates under 5% have GOP governors.
Mr. Moore also looked at what percentage of lost jobs during the beginning months of the pandemic have come back for each state.
The chart below shows that the red states, Idaho and Utah, have HIGHER employment today than on the eve of the pandemic – meaning they now have more people working than when the pandemic started. The 12 states with the highest percentage of jobs recovered are red states.
Eight states have only recovered half of their jobs. They are New Mexico, Hawaii, California, Alaska, Wyoming, Illinois, and New York. With the exception of Alaska and Wyoming, these are dark blue states that locked down stores, churches, schools, and businesses.
Editor’s Note: It is likely that Alaska and Wyoming lag due to Biden’s anti-fossil fuel policies, but more evidence must be gathered to prove that definitively.
Lest critics say Mr. Moore’s analysis is flawed due to his background in conservative policy and politics (he’s an alumni of the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal among other credentials) the UK’s Daily Mail published a recent analysis showing that the states that voted for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election experienced significantly larger declines in total employment during the pandemic than those that went for Donald Trump.
Between February and December of last year, states that went for Biden saw the total number of people working drop an average of 6.2 percent, versus a 2.5 percent decline in those voting for the Republican, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of federal jobs data.
The 13 states that saw the lowest decline in employment all lean strongly Republican, led by Alaska and Utah which actually saw employment increase by 0.7 and 0.3 percent respectively.
On the other end of the spectrum, 13 of the 14 states with the most significant pandemic job losses went for the Democratic candidate, led by Nevada with job losses of 10.2 percent, and Hawaii at 9.3 percent.
Daily Mail cited an article for Reason by Matt Welch that examined a slightly different data set but reached a similar conclusion.
From February 1, 2020, when the pandemic really started to hit the United States, through the end of December, the net number of jobs decreased in 48 out of 50 states, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But when you sort the results by the drop in the percentage of employment, a startling pattern emerges.
Each and every one of the 18 states that suffered the worst job losses during that span, ranging from Hawaii's 13.6 percent to Nevada's 6.9 percent, voted in November for Joe Biden. In 11 of those, Democrats control the statehouse and both chambers of the legislature.
Meanwhile, the 18 states with the lowest rates of employment change, ranging from Oklahoma's 4.4 percent loss to Utah's 0.3 percent gain, share their own anomalous political characteristic: They each feature unified Republican executive and legislative control of government. Only two of those 18, Arizona and Georgia, voted for Biden, and by the slimmest of margins.
'What explains this partisan pattern in COVID-era jobs reports? Certainly not the virus itself. Hawaii is not just the job-loss leader; it's also the state with the least mortality from the pandemic,' he wrote. 'New York is third in job loss, second in death rate.'
Welch points the finger at the dramatic variation in how states handled pandemic restrictions on businesses and school closures.
'Blue-state governors in California and New York and Michigan have been far more strict about shutting down economic and physical activity than their red-state counterparts in Florida, South Dakota, and Texas,' Welch wrote.
'The comparative death tolls are roughly the same (California tracks with Florida, New York with South Dakota, and Michigan with Texas); the economic performances are anything but,' Welch added.
Which brings us back to the crucial point in Stephen Moore’s analysis: the impact of lockdowns on preventing deaths from the virus were either nonexistent or de minimis. But the economic damage inflicted by Democratic governors on their own residents and small businesses lives on in blue state America.
If you live in one of the Democrat-run states where citizens have been subjected to this economic disaster we urge you to pass this article on to your family, friends, church and civic club email lists – tell them there’s a simple cure for their economic hardship – vote out Democrats like California’s Gavin Newsome, New York’s Andrew Cuomo, Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, New Mexico’s Michelle Lujan Grisham and Nevada’s Steve Sisolak.
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