No matter what your political stripes, this recent study should be a fascinating read. The state-by-state profiles are a hoot. For the lazy, the top 10 freest states are:
1. New Hampshire, 2. Colorado, 3. South Dakota, 4. Idaho, 5. Texas, 6. Missouri, 7. Tennessee, 8. Arizona, 9. Virginia, 10. North Dakota.
The bottom 10 are:
#50. New York, 49. New Jersey, 48. Rhode Island, 47. California, 46. Maryland, 45. Hawaii, 44. Washington, 43. Massachusetts, 42. Illinois, 41. Connecticut, and to round out New England, Vermont is 40th Maine is 39th.
Interesting, Massachusetts has a lower-than-average in tax burden, but apparently one of the highest debt-to-state GDP ratios.
The most fascinating part of this publication are the scatter graphs, especially the fitted line in Figure 4 (pdf page 23) showing freedom correlated with citizen ideology, i.e., the bluer the state, the less free.
If you have an argument, it’ll be in how the authors rate freedom (their methodology is fully explained.) For example, they consider fewer gun restrictions to be better. Another example is community rating for health insurance; less is better while liberals see this as a positive. But can you also see it as freedom squashing?
You be the judge.