Why Utah should celebrate being 51st

Construction_BlueprintWhen you read the term “economic security,” what do you think of? The likelihood that you’ll be able to find and keep good employment that will provide for your family? If so, then Utah is a great state to live. We’re tied for the fifth-lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 4.7 percent. Many macroeconomists state that “full employment” or “natural unemployment” is around 3 percent, so in effect we live in a state that has almost no actual unemployment. That’s pretty impressive economic security.

Or, when you hear the term “economic security,” do you think of how much the state is willing to do for you? This would be such things as unemployment insurance, TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and Medicaid eligibility. If that is what economic security means to you, then Utah is the last place you’d want to live, according to a new report by a group called WOW (Wider Opportunities for Women). The Beehive State ranks dead last with a grade of D-plus for “economic security,” 51st when compared with all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Tip of the hat to Utah Policy for drawing attention to the report.

Where would you rather live? In a state tied for fifth lowest unemployment rate, rated tops as the best state for future livability and ranked first by Forbes as “The Best State for Business and Careers” three years running? Or in a state with individuals and families so needy that your state leads the country in providing various forms of economic welfare?

And by the way, it’s no coincidence that Utah ranks so poorly in the latter and so well in the former. Free market incentives always work more effectively than government redistribution of wealth. The irony is that big-government advocates are so often hurting those they are trying to help in the name of compassion. We do need a safety net – misfortune can happen to any of us – but the most compassionate thing we can do is create an economic environment that actually leads to meaningful and dignified employment, because that will always lead to a higher quality of life than any other alternative.

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  • Dalene

    Why do you always have to make it about “liberals”!!! The deficit has been brought down faster by the last two “liberal” Presidents, than the last, ……..OOOOOHHH wait I can’t think of one in my lifetime, and I’am 62 years old!!!

  • Robert Slaven

    You say “Free market incentives always work more effectively than government redistribution of wealth.” I say “BS.” Consider the Great Depression, for example, and imagine how much worse it would have been for most Americans without FDR’s interventions. And now, over the last three decades, the US federal government, and many state governments, have been reducing government efforts to redistribute wealth, and the results? A worse picture of inequity than a lot of “third-world” countries. I have a request for you, Mr. Buer: Give me SOLID EXAMPLES of where ‘free market incentives’ worked more effectively, for ANY reasonable sense of the word ‘worked’, than government redistribution. I look forward to your response, even though I suspect said response will only be a combination of bluster and more BS.

    • Cameron Robinson

      “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. … And an enormous debt to boot!”

      -Henry Morgenthau Jr., Secretary of the Treasury under FDR during the Great Depression.

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