Red States Lead Economically, Despite Biden | Opinion

President Joe Biden's disastrous economic policies—higher taxes, uncontrolled spending, oppressive regulations, suffocation of our energy sector—are sending the U.S. economy into a slowdown. His assault on economic freedom is giving us skyrocketing inflation, an ongoing labor crunch and continuing disruptions to the supply chain—all of which are crippling an already fragile recovery. Despite these darkening economic clouds, however, there is a bright spot: red states.

Since pandemic restrictions began to recede in mid-2020, states led by Republican governors and state legislatures have been engines of economic dynamism. Month after month, red states have outperformed the national economic recovery and continue to outshine their blue state counterparts.

Consider the most recent state jobs report for February. Once again, states with Republican governors took 15 of the top 20 spots for jobs recovered since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 17 of the top 20 have GOP-led legislatures. In fact, nine Republican states have emerged from the pandemic with more jobs than when the pandemic hit: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Montana, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. And 12 states with Republican-controlled legislatures are now seeing record-low unemployment rates.

It's a prime example of why policy matters. Biden might try to take credit for this economic comeback, but any progress made is despite—not because of—his destructive policies.

Democrats insisted on keeping our country locked down without justification in order to amass ever-greater power and control. They ran mom-and-pop shops into the ground, sinking life's savings, destroying livelihoods and shattering dreams.

Long after the acute crisis had ended, Democrats disincentivized work by actively paying Americans to stay home. Many blue states continued to offer an additional $300 per week on top of normal state unemployment payments. This additional cash didn't expire until September 6, 2021—a year and a half after the start of the pandemic. It's no wonder that as many as 1.8 million Americans turned down jobs, with an estimated 37% of workers making more money from unemployment and other state benefits than they would from actually working a job.

Aerial view of palm trees framing the
Aerial view of palm trees framing the city skyline on October 27, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In fact, unfilled job openings are still at a near-record high and employers are struggling to fill open positions. A recent survey found that 48% of small businesses were hiring or trying to hire, and 93% said there were "few or no qualified job applicants." The latest data still show a staggering 11.3 million job openings, even though there are 6.2 million unemployed Americans trying to find a job.

Employees aren't the only resource businesses are struggling to find. Thanks in large part to Biden's out-of-control spending, inflation has hit its highest mark in 40 years. More than 25% of small businesses say inflation is the number one problem they face. Everything from gas to groceries now costs dramatically more, making it pricier for businesses to get the supplies they need—if they can get them at all. The supply chain crisis has caused delays and shortages, making it difficult for businesses to get certain goods and often resulting in higher prices for those of us trying to buy things.

All of this has created a hostile business environment that has killed jobs and unnecessarily slowed our economic recovery. To make matters worse, the Federal Reserve is going to try—belatedly—to rein in galloping inflation by tightening the money supply. That is likely to create a perfect economic storm of little-to-no growth accompanied by high inflation, resulting in a painful recession.

But thanks to pro-growth policies—lower taxes, fewer regulatory burdens, no mandates and greater individual liberty—the recovery in states with Republican leadership has been noticeably faster and more significant. Not only have red states returned to, or exceeded, their pre-pandemic employment numbers, but residents are also seeing higher incomes. Nine of the top 10 states with the greatest personal income growth in 2021 are led by Republican governors.

That's a big reason why Americans are fleeing Democrat states in droves for those run by Republicans. One thousand people move to Florida every day. And Idaho, Utah, Montana, Arizona and South Carolina saw the biggest surges in new residents for a simple reason: Americans want to be in free states, where they'll enjoy a higher standard of living.

While Democrats try desperately to drag out the pandemic for political reasons, the rest of us want to get back to the kind of economic prosperity we enjoyed during the Trump years—now only found in red states. The American people see the difference in economic vitality between red states like Texas and Florida at the robust top, and blue states like New York and California at the dismal bottom.

And come November, voters are going to make it abundantly clear they want the red state model for the rest of the country.

Monica Crowley served as assistant secretary of the treasury in the Trump administration and is the host of "The Monica Crowley Podcast."

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.