Friday, May 16, 2008

Insanity Defined

5/19/2008 - Life is Better in the Red States

Carpe Diem noted the current economic conditions in Texas.

Meantime, even the farthest of the Far Left states are already rebounding.

5/16/2008 - Expanded to Include a Gas Tax Map

It has been said that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results each time.

So-called “Liberals” do that all the time. They apply the same tired old Socialist theory, watch it fail, tweak it (or simply rename it), watch it fail again and repeat the cycle ad infinitum. After each failure, they swear the theory is good, only the implementation was bad and this time it’s going to work. But, it never does (and they never learn).

Fast forward to today and the two hot (and interrelated) topics on the campaign trail, the economy and the price of gasoline. So-called Liberals promise they will “fix” both issues. But, just one glance at the following four maps proves that anyone who believes that fits the aforementioned definition of insanity:

1) So-called Liberal voters are evident in this map of Presidential election results for 2004. Darker red denotes stronger support for Bush. Darker blue denotes stronger support for Kerry (click the image to enlarge, click here for the source image):

I use the above image merely as an indication of the national voting habits which generally translate to the state level voting habits (and the ensuing harmful state legislation).

2) The following map documents the cents per gallon in taxes paid for a gallon of gasoline in each state (blue is lower & red is higher). Note that, as is described here, there are other legislative factors which come to bear beyond direct taxation at the pump. Click the image to enlarge, click here for the source image:

3) The following map documents the price of gasoline as of 5/10/2008. Darker red denotes higher gas prices (click the image to enlarge, click here for the most recent data):

4) The following map documents the unemployment data as of March, 2008. Darker blue denotes higher unemployment (click the image to enlarge, click here for the most recent data):

Does anybody notice a general pattern among these four maps? It’s not exact, but it’s pretty darn close.

And yet, tens of millions of so-called Liberals will, in 2008, vote for more of the same that got them where they are. And they will have absolute conviction that doing so will reverse the trends that got them where they are.

Yep, that’s insanity all right!


AM Donkey said...

An interesting post, though I think comparing absolute prices of gasoline across states is lacking. As you are aware, one of the key driving forces of the cost of gasoline from state to state is the state excise tax. This tax, which varies from state to state, is generally used for infrastructure maintenance and construction (or, as in Wisconsin, is supposed to be). Unfortunately, not all states raise these revenues in the same manner or to the same extent, therefore we have both different levels of infrastructure quality and different methods of financing these costs.

Additionally, a more thorough analysis might factor in the differences in average income in comparision to gas prices (or transportation costs generally). I would venture to say that $3.50 gas in Alabama is a bigger drain on the "average" citizen than is $3.90 gas in Wisconsin.

sbvor said...

AM Donkey,

Wisconsin vs. Alabama? That’s not a fair fight!

Let’s try Wisconsin vs. Texas.

You lose!

Now, let’s ponder the double whammy Leftist voters brought upon themselves of being unemployed AND paying absurdly high taxes for gasoline.

sbvor said...

AM Donkey,

Also, for some perspective on current gas prices, click here and here.

Greg Loutsenko said...

Massachusetts in particular, and New England (the most 'progressive' US States) in general, seem to have very low unemployment while Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio (all very socially conservative bastions of protectionist thought) have high unemployment rates. This somewhat goes against your implied theory that 'liberal' are all unemployed.

Secondly it is a good idea to tax petrol, Greg Mankiw (hardly a leftist, but certainly a classical liberal) has advocated it:

sbvor said...


1) Which part of “It’s not exact, but it’s pretty darn close” did you not understand?

2) And yet, your cherry picked state (Massachusetts) has a far higher unemployment rate than the overwhelming majority of “red states”. Just draw a line from Louisiana to Idaho and compare each state to Massachusetts.

3) I respect and read Greg Mankiw. But, he’s dead wrong on this one.

Greg’s #1 argument is Global Warming. With respect, Greg should read more science and less propaganda.

I disagree with each argument on down the line. But, if I dissect each one, it won’t be here.

Greg Loutsenko said...

i would like to see you argue against pigovian tax. in my study of economics (my degree) and reading of various sources like The Economist newspaper and various books i have not found any drawbacks of the system. the only possible problem is picking a precise level to tax at so as to equalise the benefits (less pollution) with the negative effects (more expensive petrol for firms and consumers).

sbvor said...


You can find a portion of my argument here.

IMO, you place way too much faith (in the religious sense) in the concept of political Social Engineering. That concept fails far more often than it succeeds. And, when it fails, it fails very, very badly with terrible consequences for all.

You also appear to be laboring under the delusion that CO2 is a pollutant. It is not!

We are all “carbon based life forms”. ALL of that carbon came from ONE source (CO2). Without the tremendous volcanic infusion of CO2 into the biosphere some 550 million years ago, the Cambrian explosion would not have occurred and all life might well have gone extinct in the next major extinction event.

Greg Loutsenko said...

You may be right. I am not an expert on climate change, ecology or the environment. i do know that burning fuels does not only release CO2.

to be honest I am more worried about other pollutants which seem to be forgotten and overshadowed by global warming concerns. i am very worried about acid rain, smog over big cities (and the respiratory diseases caused by that), and various other environmental impacts of cars and carbon fuels which are damaging the environment. i certainly do not think cars should be banned or anything like that. however the producer of the pollution (the drivers) must take some responsibility for their negative externalities and help pay for the clean up. this is done through internalising the spill over costs (pollution) through the price (increasing it through tax to take account of the negative impact on society).

sbvor said...


Examine this chart from this EPA report and put your worries aside.

Greg Loutsenko said...

OK, but still i would prefer less pollution as would most city dwellers across all major cities. i certainly think congestion charges (like those in London) are a good idea.

a quick point i would like to make. the unemployment is one aspect. look at incomes per head. most "liberal" states have a far greater income than most "conservative" states.

i think your causation is some what wrong. it seems to me that there are far more important factors at work in the labour market than voting during presidential elections.

to that end i would like to conduct some simple econometric analysis. i will try to see if there is statistically strong link or not.

if possible, could you provide me with computer friendly (maybe csv file) results of us 2004 presidential elections (will be used to judge how conservative a state is) and 2004 unemployment figures by state (also in csv, or excel formats). i will then regress the data and look at the t-ratios for statistical significance. i highly doubt that the results will support your argument but they may.

if you could help me, that would be great.

sbvor said...

1) Greg sez:

“i certainly think congestion charges (like those in London) are a good idea”

Of course you do. Why? Because you find it emotionally satisfying. Read the 3 links provided in that link.

2) Greg sez:

“most "liberal" states have a far greater income than most "conservative" states”

Come on, Greg! Pay attention in class! I’ve already debunked that lie here.

3) As I stated in the original post, this is not about “voting during presidential elections”, this is about “national voting habits which generally translate to the state level voting habits (and the ensuing harmful state legislation)”.

In other words, it is about voters who generally favor Leftist politics, suffer the consequences and never understand the relationship between the two.

4) Sorry, young man, you’ll have to do your own research. The facts are obvious to all who have eyes to see (and Leftists never do).

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