Tuesday, November 3, 2015

October, 2015, Part 5, By the Numbers: What Americans Want and What Politicians Deliver (Or Really Care About)

This is the fifth post among a few days worth of discussion of “by the numbers.” We do this theme occasionally where we look at the reality of the numbers in the world and not the lies, deceptions, and spin of the American political class. I used to work for a boss whose favorite quote was: “There is nothing more devastating to an opinion than the correct number.” By looking at the statistics, trends, and numbers in our world we can cut through the politicians’ smoke screen to truly understand what is going on and hopefully, remedy the issues of the day.

The numbers we have looked at this week often had a common thread running almost through all of them: the views, positions, and opinions of the majority of Americans are often the exact opposite of the views and related actions that our politicians own. Since we are supposed to be living in a representative government system one would hope that the laws, rules, and government functions that our politicians oversee reflect the thinking, hopes, and views of the American citizenry.

As the numbers will usually show, that is nowhere close to reality, which I think reflects two underlying negative trends:

  1. American politicians vote and act for their own personal interests first, Americans’ interests and well being being of secondary consideration. If a politician’s actions can get them more votes or more campaign cash for their perpetual reelection campaigns, than that is their priority, usually not the priorities of their constituents.
  2. Second, I personally believe that today’s American politicians take care of their special interest friends and financiers first and foremost, and the interests of those special interest friends (e.g.unions, corporations, lobbyists, etc.) are usually not in alignment with what the majority of Americans have as their priorities.
Keep these two possibilities in mind as we go “by the numbers” for the next few days and try to show the major disconnect between what Americans want and what politicians are doing:

1) Stephen Moore, writing for the Heritage Foundation, put together a fascinating set of numbers in a recent article titled, “Nearly 1,000 People Move From Blue States to Red States Every Day. Here’s Why.” His numbers include the following:

  • According to new Census data, the top seven states that recently had the biggest percentage increase in in-migration from other states were, in order: North Dakota, Nevada, South Carolina, Colorado, Florida, Arizona, and Texas. 
  • All of these states are considered “red states” that lean conservatively politically, except Colorado, which is considered purple, somewhere between red conservative and blue liberal.
  • The seven states with the highest exodus of citizens in percentage terms were: Alaska, New York, Illinois, Connecticut, New Mexico, New Jersey, and Kansas. Five of these states are blue, except Alaska and Kansas.
  • The latest Rich States, Poor States document published by ALEC, the state legislative organization, estimates that nearly 1,000 people each day on net are leaving blue states and entering red states. 
  • Nine states have no state income tax at present and those states are creating jobs at twice the pace of states that have a relatively high income tax rate.
  • According to IRS data from 2013, in that year Florida gained $8.2 billion in adjusted gross income from out-of-staters. 
  • That same IRS analysis showed that Texas gained $5.9 billion in only one year. 
  • Five of the seven states with the biggest gains in income have no income tax at all: Florida, Texas, Arizona, Washington, and Nevada. 
  • Conversely, New York, a state with high state income tax rates, was again the big loser in 2013, with another New York 112,236 tax filers leaving and taking $5.2 billion with them. 
  • Illinois lost nearly 67,000 tax filers and $3.7 billion of income it can no longer tax.
  • In 2013, 1.4 million more citizens left California than moved into the state, killing the theory of some that Americans are moving to red states for the weather rather than for economic reasons. In the same vein it does explain why colder than hell North Dakota is seeing a healthy percentage increase in migration into that state.
As always, the numbers do not lie. Human beings want to be free, they want to keep their hard earned dollars and to do so they are willing to uproot themselves from where they live now to take advantage of better economic conditions elsewhere. In his book “How Money Walks,” Travis Brown showed this to be true when he theorized that the two main factors driving this migration are: 1) whether a state has a right to work law (half of the states do) and 2) how high the top income tax rate is in the state. Nine states have no income tax today, and they are creating twice the pace of jobs as are high-income tax states.

Stephen Moore summed it up nicely in his article: “I’ve never met a Democrat who could come up with even a semi-plausible explanation for why families and businesses are hightailing it out of blue states. They are leaving states with high minimum wages, pro-union work rules, high taxes on the rich, generous welfare benefits, expansive regulations to “help” workers, green energy policies, etc. People are voting with their feet against these liberal policies.”

The numbers do not lie.

2) According to a Suffolk University/USA Today survey that was done back in late June, 2015, 70% of respondents said they do not want the federal government imposing a ban on the sale or manufacture of the Confederate flag. Contrast this with the temper tantrums and pontificating some liberals were ranting about back then when a young white adult shot up a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Certainly a horrific event but the flag did not kill anyone, a deranged young adult did.

But that did not stop some politicians from trying to make points and a name for themselves by calling for a ban on the sale and displaying of the Confederate flag, something that 70% of Americans were against. Another numerical example of politicians being out of step with what America wants.

3) Lets go back to gun control, a favorite political topic of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. According to them, they know best when it comes to guns and they want to protect us from guns by shredding the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.

But as we have often shown this past week, the numbers and reality between what politicians want to do to us and how we feel are diametrically opposed. According to a recent Gallup poll:
  • A record high percentage (63%) of Americans say guns make homes safer.
  • The number of Americans having a gun at home is up slightly over the past two years.
  • Only 30% of those polled said having a gun in the home makes it less safe, less than half that say having a gun in the home makes it safer.
  • Those feeling that having a gun in the home makes it safer has been trending upwards over time, from only 35% in 2000 to 63% in 2014.
  • From 2006 to 2014, the number has risen from 47% in 2006 to 63% in 2014.
Another example of where today's politicians are so out of step with the wishes and feelings of the majority of Americans.4) And the last set of numbers for this update to our “by the numbers” discussion. Most of the country probably thought and hope that the election of the first African-American President would help bring the races together and help eliminate racism in the country. But, alas, hoping that any good ever comes out of the American political class is usually a fruitless endeavor and the election of Obama and the reduction in racial tensions is no exception.Consider a recent Rasmussen poll on the topic of race relations and the election of Obama:
- A mere 20% of likely voters polled by Rasmussen feel that Obama has brought Americans of different races closer together.

- More than double feel that he has driven the races further apart.
27% say his election has had no difference on race relations.

- On a racial breakdown, 44% of African-Americans feel he has brought the races closer together but only 16% of whites and 21% of other races agree that he has brought the races closer together.

- In the same survey, a strong majority of those polled, 58%, feel that there is a war on police in this country today with 66% saying that comments that criticize police officers by politicians make it more dangerous for police officers to do their jobs.

- 70% of those polled say that politicians only discuss race to get elected and not to resolve racial issues.

So much hope and so much disappointment, according to Rasmussen’s numbers. Just another fail on the part of the Obama administration.That will do it for this month’s discussion on the topic, “by the numbers.” As we have emphasized this month, it is always critical to look at the reality of the numbers in our world because we cannot rely on politicians to tell us what is really going on, they have their own agendas and the agendas of the political cronies to protect. The numbers do not lie, our politicians do.

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