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EDITORIAL: Economies roar in red states

Anyone who thinks policy doesn’t matter should consider that red states are outperforming blue states economically.

President Joe Biden likes to brag about Bidenomics. He’ll cite statistics about job growth, a growing GDP and falling inflation. The American people aren’t buying it.

The fundamental problem is inflation, which is both toxic and unavoidable. It’s an acid that eats through savings accounts, personal budgets and dreams of homeownership. The American people aren’t fooled by spin about falling inflation rates. Dropping inflation from 7 percent to 3 percent may be progress but it doesn’t address persistently higher prices. The Federal Reserve’s inflation target is 2 percent.

Still, it is worth digging in a little deeper to the economic numbers. ABC News recently performed an analysis of state-level data. It found a major difference between blue and red states. “Most of the best-performing states” had “voted in favor of former President Donald Trump,” reporter Max Zahn wrote.

Five states had above average results on “job growth, personal income growth, gross domestic product growth and gas prices.” Four of them, Idaho, Texas, South Carolina and Utah, voted for Donald Trump in 2020. The fifth was the swing state of Wisconsin, which has strong Republican majorities in its Legislature. Another 13 states did well on three of those metrics. Nine of them supported Trump.

Rather than acknowledge the benefits of more laissez-faire leadership, Mr. Zahn desperately looked for ways to explain away the results.

The story quoted Mark Partridge, a professor of economics at Ohio State University, who said, “The climates are better in red states, and Americans like good climates.” Ah, yes. If only New York and Illinois were in the Sun Belt, companies and taxpayers would be flocking to these high-tax, regulatory hothouses. Talk about a cloistered academic.

Another explanation is that “Democrat-leaning cities” draw a young and educated workforce. There’s an obvious problem here. Blue states also have Democrat-leaning cities. They aren’t as attractive because the Democrats running state government don’t rein in the worst impulses of those local officials.

There is scant reference to the real reason. Free-market policies, which are more common in red states, best create the conditions for economic growth. Profit is the reward that companies receive for best meeting their customers’ needs and fuels expansion and hiring. Red states largely celebrate profitable companies. Blue state officials often attack them or strangle them with regulations.

There’s an important lesson for Nevadans. Democrats are on the cusp of achieving super-majorities in both legislative houses. If they do that in November, they can override GOP Gov. Joe Lombardo’s vetoes and turn the state from purple to blue.

Look around the country to see the evidence of what that might portend for the Silver State’s economy.

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