Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The scariest map you'll ever see

Want to see something scary? This is what U.S. unemployment looked like in January 2007.
Blue/Green on this map represents high employment. Red/Brown equals moderate unemployment. Yellow/Tan means low unemployment.
I found it on Small Dead Animals, but that's not the link you need to hit just yet.
Hang with me a second. Do you ever wonder why "small l" libertarians and "Capital L" Libertarians make such a big deal over the 10th amendment? (The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.)
The 10th Amendment allows us to experiment. For instance, if Mississippi once had laws prohibiting any industry but cotton farming, and Alabama didn't, well, one can glance at a map like this one and see that Mississippi is getting punished for that decision. And plenty of others. In 2007, the Alabama/Mississippi boundary was as plain as the lines separating Haley Barbour's chins.
The 10th amendment, very much under attack in the current Federalist nightmare, allows individual states to opt out of lemming-like conformity to one another.
What the heck was wrong in South Carolina in 2007? I won't pretend to know. But South Carolina operates under one set of laws and regulations, while nearby Georgia operates under another. Otherwise, they are only separated by an invisible line.
Why was rust belt Indiana faring better than the regulatory hell of Michigan? Or its backwoods neighbor Kentucky? I don't know.
Now hit this link to watch a monthly update of the same map, from January 2007 to now. Almost every U.S. county changes to a less desirable color, but some places are doing much better than others.
Last, go to this map published by the State Policy Index site, ranking every U.S. state by economic freedom, economic freedom being defined as an overall absence of nanny-state maternalism. Look for pages 22 and 23.
There isn't a perfect correlation between high employment and economic freedom, but perfect correlations don't exist. Economic freedom is a good thing. Regulatory hells are not.
Note to everyone moving to Texas from California, trying to outrun the consequences of your votes: Please stay home on election day.
Note to everyone living outside the Texas/Wyoming "Freedom Belt": Welcome to Mississippi.

1 comment:

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

Wow - that was very interesting. I went to the Overall Freedom Index and compared to the 'end map'... that animation was cool, by the way. The correlations are about the same... exception: Stupid Nebraska. Those huskers and their stupid work ethic and high education levels keep throwing a monkey wrench in the theory. Still a very easy, graphical way to see that the less overall freedom = less economic choices!

But like you said, no perfect correlations exist... unless you're a guy named Cedric.