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Author Topic: Eureka! Have I found it! A new in-depth analysis of "WHICH STATE?"  (Read 8624 times)

ct236

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Hi everyone. My new article on "Which State," with an in-depth analysis, and a resolution of which state the FSP should choose...is now at http://www.freestateproject.org/important.htm.

I invite everyone to check it out, read up on what I have to say...and then feel free to tear holes in it!  Tim Condon
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Eureka! Have I found it! A new in-depth analysis of "WHICH STATE?"
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2002, 07:52:17 pm »

Tim - take these as constructive suggestions... :)

While I think North Dakota hasn't received the attention it deserves, your analysis is a bit subjective in places.  Some of the weighting that you want to do can be done quantitatively.  For example, ND is one of the worst states on federal dependence, and this is probably a very important measure.  But when ND is better on other, less significant measures, that crucial dependence variable may seem less significant and may be one reason you place ND over WY.

Second, it seems somewhat arbitrary to include only the 4 states under 300,000 voters in your analysis.  South Dakota and Delaware are really almost negligibly different from ND, VT, and AK in terms of number of voters.  So I think the analysis should actually have included all 6 of those states and worked from there.

That having been said, you make a powerful case for ND, and it will probably get a vote or two from me come the vote. ;)
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ct236

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Re:Eureka! Have I found it! A new in-depth analysis of "WHICH STATE?"
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2002, 08:17:13 pm »

Thank you, Jason, all criticisms are invited and thankfully welcome. Let me just reply by giving my thinking (which may not have been made clear in the article, which is my fault). First, the problem of "federal dependence." It's not, strictly speaking "dependence of the state (government)," but rather amounts of federal monies flowing into  the state to individuals. I believe (although I haven't investigated it closely) that the reason is that South Dakota is a huge farming state. Huge. And all those wheat and corn and whatever farms are getting federal subsidies. That is a problem that we'll have to tackle in the Freestate, but I don't regard it as being a deal-killer because while there may be $ zillions flowing into the state...how much is it actually spread around, and how much goes to Archer-Daniels-Midland and other mega-agri-corps? How many *votes* does it buy, and how "solid" or "sticky" are those votes? The farming population is relatively small, in and of itself; others benefit from the farm economy, but not necessarily the subsidies themselves (except inasmuch as "everyone" benefits from federal dollars flowing into a state, but that's an attenuated effect imho).

I hope I'm making some sense here.

The point is that even when and if the federal subsidies stop flowing, farming goes on. I mean, all those crops and cropland don't drop off the face of the earth. There will be wrenching adjustments, to be sure, but the business of farming will continue, and who knows, maybe flourish even more without the market-distortions caused by federal dollars.

So that's why I didn't credit the "dependence" variable with as much weight as others may give it.

As to the populations of the final four states, and the relatively small difference in population between them and the next two, South Dakota and Delaware...I regard the population numbers as the most crucial variables, bar none  (obviously). The cutoff has to be done *somewhere*, and although the difference in voting population from Vermont to South Dakota may only be 25,000, it *is* 25,000 more...which means there are that many more voters to deal with. Similarly, the difference between Vermont and Delaware is 37,000...and we've got to draw the line somewhere. I figured drawing the cutoff at 300,000 was reasonable, given that it gave us four states to consider, from all over. Arbitrary? Sure. But we *must* concentrate on the smallest-population states, or it may be impossible to enact the reforms that the FSP was founded to institute. And every decrease in voting population is a magnification of the Porcupine vote.

Anyway...them're my thoughts. And thanks for the critical points.  Tim
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Eureka! Have I found it! A new in-depth analysis of "WHICH STATE?"
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2002, 08:48:15 pm »


I believe (although I haven't investigated it closely) that the reason is that South Dakota is a huge farming state. Huge. And all those wheat and corn and whatever farms are getting federal subsidies.


Yes, that's exactly right; both Dakotas are heavily dependent on ag subsidies - Joe Swyers has posted the figures in this forum for each state.

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That is a problem that we'll have to tackle in the Freestate, but I don't regard it as being a deal-killer because while there may be $ zillions flowing into the state...how much is it actually spread around, and how much goes to Archer-Daniels-Midland and other mega-agri-corps? How many *votes* does it buy, and how "solid" or "sticky" are those votes? The farming population is relatively small, in and of itself; others benefit from the farm economy, but not necessarily the subsidies themselves (except inasmuch as "everyone" benefits from federal dollars flowing into a state, but that's an attenuated effect imho).


Well, farmers are a fairly vocal and concentrated group, so I think the dollar figure for dependence is indeed the best measure.  Seemingly votes are bought with the money, as the Dakotas vote for liberal Democrats for federal office, but go conservative for state offices.

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The point is that even when and if the federal subsidies stop flowing, farming goes on. I mean, all those crops and cropland don't drop off the face of the earth. There will be wrenching adjustments, to be sure, but the business of farming will continue, and who knows, maybe flourish even more without the market-distortions caused by federal dollars.


Sure, absolutely - but a political party opposing subsidies would find it somewhat difficult to win in the meantime  - meaning us.  But my point is just that you could weight dependence quantitatively against the other variables and see what results.  Maybe your result will hold up!

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As to the populations of the final four states, and the relatively small difference in population between them and the next two, South Dakota and Delaware...I regard the population numbers as the most crucial variables, bar none  (obviously). The cutoff has to be done *somewhere*, and although the difference in voting population from Vermont to South Dakota may only be 25,000, it *is* 25,000 more...which means there are that many more voters to deal with. Similarly, the difference between Vermont and Delaware is 37,000...and we've got to draw the line somewhere.


Yeah - it's just that, looking at the figures, a more natural cutoff point would be after Delaware and before Montana, or after Montana and before Idaho.  Again, your analysis might still hold up after doing this; I would just be interested in seeing how that affects the results.

In general, with these things, I like to try out different algorithms and concepts and see if the state ranking is very sensitive to those changes.  If so, then I can't put too much confidence in the one that comes out on top of any given analysis.

However, your article brings up a very important point, that there are some variables like voting population that translate non-linearly into FSP suitability.  So your article represents a very real advance on my "Analysis of the State Comparison Matrix," which treated all variables linearly.  It would be very interesting to see how my results would change by treating some of the variables non-linearly, as you do.
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Robert H.

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Re:Eureka! Have I found it! A new in-depth analysis of "WHICH STATE?"
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2002, 03:23:23 am »


Hi everyone. My new article on "Which State," with an in-depth analysis, and a resolution of which state the FSP should choose...is now at http://www.freestateproject.org/important.htm.


Tim,

I hereby nominate you for the Henry Clay "Great Compromiser" award.   ;D

You've obviously done your homework in narrowing down the available state candidates to North Dakota, and I believe much of your reasoning is sound; however, my greatest fear is that ND's economy might really be a turn-off to many FSPer's.  It's true that we will bring jobs and economic growth with us, but that's going to take time to foster.  This may discourage people from choosing the state because they could be legitimately wondering what they're going to do in the meantime.  I can probably persuade my company to let me telecommute, but not everyone will have this option.

I'm still digesting the report, for instance trying to see any pro's or con's in bordering Minnesota, etc...  I do still prefer Montana, but that voting population statistic has worried me nonetheless.

One ND advantage not mentioned by your report is less obvious, but it might be important to those with families on the east or west coasts (like me).  North Dakota is in the middle of the country (albeit at the top), making it easier for folks to travel in either direction to visit family and friends.  

ct236

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Re:Eureka! Have I found it! A new in-depth analysis of "WHICH STATE?"
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2002, 04:42:25 am »

"I hereby nominate you for the Henry Clay "Great Compromiser" award."

Thank you Robert...but wasn't Henry Clay a flaming statist?  8)

"...my greatest fear is that ND's economy might really be a turn-off to many FSPer's.  It's true that we will bring jobs and economic growth with us, but that's going to take time to foster.  This may discourage people from choosing the state because they could be legitimately wondering what they're going to do in the meantime.  I can probably persuade my company to let me telecommute, but not everyone will have this option."

Actually, I had a reference in the article to the growing hi-tech economy in North Dakota, centered in Fargo, but it was deleted in the editing process. Microsoft, for instance, has bought out a pretty large software concern up there, Great Plains Software, and now has a major division of the company headquartered there (read all about it at http://www.forbes.com/global/2002/1028/074.html).

"One ND advantage not mentioned by your report is less obvious, but it might be important to those with families on the east or west coasts (like me).  North Dakota is in the middle of the country (albeit at the top), making it easier for folks to travel in either direction to visit family and friends."

I obliquely referred to it in discussing Alaska with reference to our friends, family members, and other loved ones that would be left behind. But you're right, and I didn't think of that as a specific benefit of ND. Good point! And thanks again for the kind words.  Tim Condon

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Robert H.

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Re:Eureka! Have I found it! A new in-depth analysis of "WHICH STATE?"
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2002, 05:52:27 am »


"I hereby nominate you for the Henry Clay "Great Compromiser" award."

Thank you Robert...but wasn't Henry Clay a flaming statist?  8)


Clay did promote such things as federal aid for internal improvements and protective tariffs, as well as re-establishing the Bank of the United States, I believe, but these are mostly forgotten aspects of his career.  He's mostly known for his compromises.  I'm no Clay expert though!   ;D

Quote

Actually, I had a reference in the article to the growing hi-tech economy in North Dakota, centered in Fargo, but it was deleted in the editing process. Microsoft, for instance, has bought out a pretty large software concern up there, Great Plains Software, and now has a major division of the company headquartered there (read all about it at http://www.forbes.com/global/2002/1028/074.html).


Sounds interesting and possibly promising.  I'll take a look at it.

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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2002, 09:30:47 am »

I am also a fan of North Dakota, and would include it in my top three candidates along with Alaska and Montana.  I think that Delaware also has a low enough population to consider, but is too left-leaning to work.  I would leave out Wyoming and South Dakota because they have neither a coast nor an international border.  Idaho, New Hampshire, and Maine simply have too many voters.

A few more factors to consider about North Dakota:

It controls the headwaters of the Missouri River with a series of dams and reservoirs -- I recall reading an article in Newsweek (?) last year about this being a very contentious issue between agricultural, navigational, recreational, and environmental interests in several states.  This could be a negative or a positive (a potential bargaining chip.)

There used to be a lot of nuclear missile silos there....  I don't know how many of them are still on active duty.

Due to the cold winters, the sunshine, and the hardy citizenry, it has the lowest (or among the lowest) rates of disease in the U.S.  

Most of the state is less than one day by truck from an international port -- Duluth, Minnesota, on Lake Superior.  A lot of the state's grain goes there, or to mills in Minneapolis.

Neighboring Minnesota is a left-leaning state, but mostly in a nanny-state, concern for the poor and elderly sort of way, not in a big brother, regulate every aspect of your life sort of way.  Minnesota also offers some of the best fishing and hunting in the world.

 
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Re:Eureka! Have I found it! A new in-depth analysis of "WHICH STATE?"
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2002, 10:33:21 am »

Thanks for the analysis. North Dakota is in my top 3. I think it offers the best chance of success. Just getting the Easterners to vote for something other than NH is next to impossible.
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Eureka! Have I found it! A new in-depth analysis of "WHICH STATE?"
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2002, 11:01:18 am »

I have done a more subtle, quantitative analysis based on Tim's assumptions of nonlinearity and have found that Wyoming, Alaska, and Delaware are consistently the top 3.  However, I'll wait to publish this on the website until Tim's arguments have gotten the attention they deserve.
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JT

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Re:Eureka! Have I found it! A new in-depth analysis of "WHICH STATE?"
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2002, 02:57:44 pm »

I think ND would be a good candidate.  I haven't heard much feedback on this state, so I just assumed that people weren't really considering it.  Based on what people have said in this thread, maybe we should give it some serious thought.  I've been there twice and thoroughly enjoyed it, although it was a bit cold in the winter-time.  I'm curious as to how the 'winning' state will be chosen.  I think people will base their choices on perceptions, which could be a potentially bad thing.  Maybe we should have a specific thread for each candidate and list the pros and cons of each, and posts of people who have lived there.  Many threads seem to go off-track...
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ct236

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Re:Eureka! Have I found it! A new in-depth analysis of "WHICH STATE?"
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2002, 07:47:44 pm »

That's what sets the FSP apart from so many of the other "libertopia" projects: The amount of data, the depth of research, the breadth of discussion and argumentation, the planning and well-thought-out process that we're engaged in now. Certainly individual preferences will go into the pot, but we have so much data to sift through, especially since it's designed to aid us in the matters *we* believe are most important...that I can't imagine the final state chosen being a *bad* one! (But then I've already said I'll move to any of them in order to live free...)
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stpeter

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Re:Eureka! Have I found it! A new in-depth analysis of "WHICH STATE?"
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2002, 09:19:49 pm »

Great Compromiser indeed! I certainly appreciate the effort to mediate between these MT vs. NH people. In point of fact, neither of those states is a good candidate for the free state because of the population factor. I still think Wyoming is the best candidate -- the only thing that worries me at all is the fact that it's landlocked, but I'm coming to think that doesn't matter all that much in comparison to places like ND or MT. The only states that are clearly superior geo-politically are Maine and Alaska, especially the latter (not contiguous with the rest of the USA). Wyoming scores much higher than ND on just about every measure, plus it's significantly smaller in voting population. By your reasoning, the Cowboy State should come out on top. Or so it seems to me. :) /stpeter
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Shayde

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Re:Eureka! Have I found it! A new in-depth analysis of "WHICH STATE?"
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2002, 06:13:55 pm »

I have been to most of the states that are being considered.  In the west, anyway.  Haven't been to ME, NH, or AK.  

Anyway - I gotta say ND is pretty low on my list of preferences just because of the.... people.  Not sure if they would really be open to our idea, or ANY new ways, for one. All highly aggricultural states are truely dependent on the government and I doubt they are going to do a THING to jeopordize that.  A lot of them require that assistance just to survive anymore.  I also don't get the feeling they are really open to strangers - PLEASE don't take this wrong, but they seem very....ummmm....different from the average bear.

WY on the other hand seems like the type of people who really would be.  But - - the wind blows ALL THE DAMN TIME DOWN THERE!  Seriously folks - ALL THE TIME!  It stinks!

I would LOVE for Alaska to be the state chosen!  That is the next place on my list of places to live anyway, so it would fit my personal agenda QUITE NICELY!   ;)

Of course none of this has any scientific or statistical value in any way - just my observations.
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stpeter

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Re:Eureka! Have I found it! A new in-depth analysis of "WHICH STATE?"
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2002, 09:43:20 pm »


I still think Wyoming is the best candidate -- the only thing that worries me at all is the fact that it's landlocked...

OK, I'm quoting myself. :) I'm not 100% sure about Wyoming, but I'd have to agree with Jason's analysis from 2 months ago -- http://www.freestateproject.org/stateanalysis.htm -- that Wyoming, Alaska, New Hampshire, and Delaware are the best candidates. Interestingly, three of these have no income tax (Delaware does, but the others don't). Personally I think NH is best removed from the list because of the size of its voting population (not that I dislike NH -- it's a wonderful state and I wouldn't mind living there, but then again I grew up in Maine). To me, Alaska and Wyoming are the best candidates, even though some folks say they wouldn't move there. NH is a possibility but the population size is prohibitive, IMHO.
* stpeter continues to ponder
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