Friday, November 12, 2010

A 3rd Problem I Have with Tea Partyists: North Dakota

Listen, this isn't about embarrassing anyone, so I won't call any names. But a commenter for another post expressed concerned about her congressman's representation of and concern for the "working man" of her state, North Dakota.

Now, in addition to having no policy behind their rhetoric, all too often tea partyists actually believe the exaggerations and hyperbole's they hear coming from the people who feign concern but are, in fact, exploiting the country's "working man." Facts don't matter to folks who cry out about being "taxed enough already" just as their taxes are being cut, who think their taxes were raised, and then really get upset that they're portrayed as racists.

So, what're the facts about North Dakota's economy? According to politifact's "Pants on Fire" rating of an ad from one of Karl Rove's organizations, Crossroads GPS:

How well is North Dakota doing as the rest of the country muddles through a rough patch for the economy? On a relative basis at least, quite well indeed, thanks to a surge in natural resource extraction and relatively little decline in a housing market that never really boomed.

Here are some statistical benchmarks we located.

-- Unemployment. Today, North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, at 3.7 percent. That's just over one-third -- yes, that's one-third -- of the national unemployment rate of 9.6 percent.

And this low unemployment rate is nothing new. North Dakota's annual unemployment rate for 2009 also ranked as the best in the nation at 4.3 percent, compared to a 9.3 percent rate nationally. In 2008, North Dakota ranked second (3.2 percent, compared to 5.8 percent nationally). In 2007, it ranked eighth (3.1 percent, compared to 4.6 percent nationally). And in 2006, it ranked seventh (3.2 percent, compared to 4.6 percent nationally).

-- Personal income. Total personal income in North Dakota rose 23 percent between 2006 and 2009, compared to 8 percent nationally. It rose by 12 percent in North Dakota between 2007 and 2009, compared to 2 percent nationally. And it fell by 1 percent between 2008 and 2009, compared to a national decline of 2 percent. So personal income in North Dakota did fall between 2008 and 2009, but it fell more slowly than the national rate, and it followed on two years of personal income growth, far ahead of the national rate.

The story is much the same for per capita personal income. It rose by 21 percent between 2006 and 2009 and by 10 percent between 2007 and 2009 before falling by 2 percent between 2008 and 2009.

-- Gross domestic product. GDP information by state is not available for 2009, so the full impact of the recession is not yet measurable. But the data that's available shows that the state enjoyed a nice boom between 2006 and 2008. State GDP rose by 12 percent between 2006 and 2007, compared to 1.9 percent nationally. And it rose by 9 percent between 2007 and 2008, compared to zero increase nationally. So on this score, North Dakota did well indeed.

When we asked Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for Crossroads GPS, if the group had any defense for its characterization, he said, "Unemployment is up significantly in the last two years in North Dakota, and much of that is due to the massive debt created by (President Barack) Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Earl Pomeroy."

But let's put it into context: The unemployment rate in North Dakota rose from 3.4 percent two years ago, in September 2008, to 3.7 percent in September 2010. The number of unemployed North Dakotans has risen from 12,365 to 13,714 -- a total of 1,349 people, or less than 1 percent of the civilian, non-institutionalized population in the state. We think most Americans would be happier with that kind of economy than the one in their own state.
So Teila (Oops! I called your name.), Rep. Earl Pomeroy looked out for you guys. I think voting him out of office was a bad idea. Especially since it was based on lies and untruths.

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Post a Comment

This isn't too complicated. If you disagree with me, I'm more than happy to have an honest discussion. I'm quite open to learning new facts and ideas. I'm dying for a conservative to explain their ideas in a sensible way.

But, I do have rules, and they also apply to those who agree with me. They just get the benefit of my already knowing the fact they'll be referring to.

So, here're the comment thread rules:

1 - Use facts.
2 - Refer to policy.
3 - Don't rely on theories and conjectures. Show me how, for example, a public health insurance option will lead to "rationing" of health care.
4 - No unfounded attacks on any entity.

If you break those rules, I will edit your comment to my own whimsical satisfaction.

Lastly, perhaps most importantly, I'm not going to entertain too much pro-white/racism-denying discussion. I want this to be a space to discuss strategies to fight racism, not space where I have to fight racism. I want anti-racists to be able to come here for a mental respite. If what you're interested in doing is attempting to demonstrate the fallacy of anti-racism by repeating the same ole comments and questions and accusations we hear all the time, please do that somewhere else.

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