When you examine the 50 states, what you find is that the freest states, both personally and economically are red states and the states which are not free by either measure are the blue states. This does not surprise me and unless my guess, it does not surprise you either. The Cato Institute’s newest “Freedom in the 50 States” report shows that across a variety of metrics, which includes fiscal freedom, less government regulations, and civil liberties, there is no comparison between red and blue states.
The analysis’ methodology is as follows:
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Our index encompasses both economic and personal freedoms because the two sets of freedoms are complementary. A state scoring high in economic freedom but not in personal freedom — a hypothetical American Singapore — would not be a really free state in the way the liberal tradition understands it. Nor would a state high in personal freedom but low in economic freedom — an American Argentina — provide the liberal conditions necessary for human flourishing in the broadest sense.
Even to economist Milton Friedman, a mere “economic freedom index” would not be a real freedom index. In his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman explores the connection between economic and political freedoms, finding that political freedom in the absence of economic freedom is unlikely to last. He writes, “It is a mark of the political freedom of a capitalist society that men can openly advocate and work for socialism,” while a socialist society does not permit the reverse.
In overall freedom, the top five states are:
- New Hampshire
- South Dakota
Meanwhile, the bottom states are:
- New Jersey
- New York