Monday, April 23, 2007

VA vs MD vis a vis GDP

It is amazing to me how things which I consider positive values are often portrayed as failings by others. For instance, this is the opening of a column in the Richmond Times Dispatch:

Maryland's approval of an expanded smoking ban and a so-called living wage - both rejected in Virginia - is a reminder that the neighboring states are politically worlds apart.

"Maryland has been able to maintain a broader view of the public interest, what government can both reflect and be a catalyst," said J. Douglas Koelemay, an information-technology lobbyist who works in both states.

"Virginia sometimes sinks back to glorifying the individual and characterizing the government as a burden or oppressive force."

Maryland is my home State, to which my friends can attest I am inordinately attached. My family came to Maryland with the colony ships Ark and Dove in 1634, and have been there ever since, so I can claim as much regional heritage and pride as anyone in the United States, but I can't say I view my State taking a "broader view of the public interest, what government can both reflect and be a catalyst," as a positive thing. Andrew Roth at the Club for Growth fired back at this dismissal of "glorifying the individual" with some statistics.

Virginia has a higher GDP per capita than Maryland. Virginia's unemployment rate is also better, 3% vs. 3.6%. And perhaps most importantly, Virginia's population growth rate has been higher, 8% vs. 6%, since 2000 with Maryland actually experiencing negative net migration in 2006.

So, as much as it pains me to say it, I must give credit to VA for being the freer State. Apparently others want to give them the blame for the same thing.


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