The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
The Blue States Are Getting Bluer

Just when you thought the blue states couldn’t get any bluer, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo moves his state a deeper shade on the color chart. From the NYT:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who spent his first two years in office establishing himself as a fiscal conservative, turned left in his third annual address to the Legislature, and sought to reclaim the state’s progressive mantle. . . . [M]ost of the speech was devoted to an onslaught of proposals favored by the left-wing of his party.

He proposed increasing the minimum wage to $8.75 an hour from $7.25 an hour, public financing of elections, tougher greenhouse gas standards, solar jobs programs, a $1 billion affordable housing initiative, grants for schools that extend school days and a 10-point women’s rights program that garnered loud applause for its provisions strengthening abortion rights laws and enacting equal pay legislation.

Apparently Cuomo is anxious that the Empire State might lose its status as “the progressive capital of the nation.”

The city does have plenty of competition for that title. One of the biggest trends we’ve noted after the election is that Democratic-controlled states are doubling down on liberalism, while states run by the GOP are moving even further to the right. California and now New York veer sharply left; Michigan passes right to work laws and Kansas is implementing big tax cuts with, apparently, government cuts to follow.

For those primed to see only the dangers of unhealthy partisan division, diverging state-level policies are a worrying trend. But in fact the Union functions best when each state is allowed to experiment, giving the rest of the country more information about the kinds of policies that work best. Years from now, our ability to look to each of these states and judge their policies through the lens of results rather than ideological faith will be a blessing.

Published on January 10, 2013 5:34 pm