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How Free Is Your State?

March 29, 2013 by  

How Free Is Your State?
It may be time for Lady Liberty to consider moving out of New York.

A new study out from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center illustrates a clear trend of American migration from less-free liberal States to those with a more conservative Constitutional mindset.

The institution’s “Freedom of the 50 States” report measured variables of economic and personal freedom throughout the Nation, taking a look at tax rates, government spending and debt, regulatory burdens, and State laws covering land use, union organizing, gun control and education choice. The measures were then compared to population changes, revealing growth in more liberty-friendly States spurred as Americans flocked to locales with friendlier tax and regulatory policies.

According to the study results, the top five most liberty-enabling States (No.1 being the best):

  • 5.       Oklahoma
  • 4.       New Hampshire
  • 3.       Tennessee
  • 2.       South Dakota
  • 1.       North Dakota

And the top five least liberty-friendly States (No. 1 being the worst):

  • 5.       Rhode Island
  • 4.       Hawaii
  • 3.       New Jersey
  • 2.       California
  • 1.       New York

The report indicate that Americans move from one State to another primarily for financial reasons but that liberties can also contribute heavily to the decision.

Professors William Ruger and Jason Sorens, of the Mercatus Center, write in a commentary on the report:

Some freedoms mean more to people than others, of course, and if you can’t find a good job in a state, you might not care how free it is by anyone’s standards. But we’ve considered a range of social and personal freedoms, including the right to consume alcohol and tobacco, to bear arms, to home school your children and to be free from arbitrary search and seizure. We’ve also studied the effects of over 200 distinct public policies.

The more a state denies people their freedoms, increases their taxes or passes laws that make it hard for businesses to hire and fire, the more likely they are to leave.

And while there’s clearly more to life than drinking oversized beverages and eating foie gras, the states that won’t allow you to often cause trouble for their residents in other ways.

Where legislators think they’re responsible for protecting you from yourself and choosing the menus of your meals, it’s no great surprise that they also see fewer limitations on their power in other areas. After all, if they’re taking your food, why not also take your money?

Check out the interactive map below to see how your State stacks up in terms of liberty.

Let us know if you think the study results are accurate based on your own experiences in the comment section below and on Facebook and Twitter.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Warrior

    Oh look. Sodom and Gomorrah came in last again.

    • Carlucci

      LOL – !!! Great way to describe NY.

      They can have it.

      • TIME

        Dear Carlucci,

        You got that right!

        We were so happy to leave Mutton Town Long Island, that all words fail to display the joy of the sale of our home there. With all the Nassau County alledged DUI / seatbelt stop’s / road blocks all over the place it was like living on a prison island.

        Peace and Love, Shalom

      • Karolyn

        New York state is a beautiful place to live. Unfortunately, the cost of living is through the roof, and it’s too cold.

  • Jeremy Leochner

    How exactly does one define freedom. The Constitution remains in force in even the most liberal states. I live in California. I am from a middle class family. I consider myself well off as far as freedom goes. And frankly ones political idelogy in terms of liberal versus conservative plays no role in how one values liberty or freedom. For instance:

    1: I am a liberal. Want to make that clear.

    2: I have no problem with people smoking or drinking alcohol. I would prefer that certain regulations be placed on their use. For instance I don’t wish to breath smoke when I go to a restaurant. I have heard of a type of air ventalation system which can filter out smoke. That would allow smokers to smoke and allow me the freedom to breath clean air and not have to worry about second hand smoke. As for alcohol I would just require that laws against drunk driving and public intoxication be in force. Seems pretty reasonable.

    3: As for bearing arms. People have a right to bear arms. But I believe that regulations like back ground checks and training are important.

    4: If home schooling is the right environment for a child to learn by all means. I think its wrong for people to not have a choice about their childrens education. But I will point out in my expereience my parents had a choice. And that was in California which is supposed to have so little liberty.

    5: I oppose arbitrary search and seizure.

    6: As for taxes I hate to break this to people but they are part of being in a society. Its the social contract. Its why we can call 911 for help. Its why we don’t have to hire companies to build roads and bridges. I am not saying we should send tax rates sky rocketing. But I have heard quite a bit of opposition to something as small as a 4% increase in the marginal tax rate of the top 2% of wage earners. Its hard for me to sympathise when so far as I can tell the increased burden is minimal at best.

    7: As for food and beverages I have always been for informing the public and offering recommendations. If there are states which have policies similar to Bloombergs I will oppose them. My being a liberal has no bearing on this issue.

    I can respect a desire to study and learn. But when you start making studies about how much “freedom” a state has versus another and when the results of said study show that states that reflect your ideas have more freedom I start to doubt your sincerity. The fact is people can see freedom in different ways. Some might define the ability to pay as few taxes as possible as freedom. Personally I see my ability to pay taxes to help my community as itself enhancing my freedom. Some might say freedom means freedom to consume what ever you wish without interference. I see information as freeing me from having to guess whether the thing I am consuming is in fact safe to consume. I don’t want someone telling me what to do. But I don’t mind being told what it is I am putting in my mouth.

    Political ideology in terms of liberal versus conservative in no ways determines ones views or stance on liberty. You get no push back from me on the argument that liberty and freedom are the foundations of a good society and that America was built on our inherent rights. But when you substitute an ideology you disagree with for something that is wrong you are no longer making a logical or moral arguement. You are making a strawman argument. If we are going to have a serious discussion we have to get one thing straight. Conservatives and Liberals love liberty and freedom the exact same amount. The conflict of Conservative and Liberal is not good guy versus bad guy. Its a disagreement between two different ideologies. Neither is better or worse then the other. They are simply different. In the same way that there are various personality types. Some are introverts and some extroverts. Some are right brain thinkers and some are left brain thinkers. These differing types are not better or worse they are simply different. Until we realize this we will never move forward.

  • Avenger

    Mostly true, Jeremy …. but, you’re not just paying taxes to support your community. You’re taxed to support your city, also taxed to support your county, also taxed to support the state. Then you must also pay taxes to support the Federal Government. Then you must also pay taxes to support ‘Social Security’ and ‘Medicaid’ – money which politicians have already spent and changed those programs into a Ponzi scheme.

  • Sam

    I am not sure if I am a conservative or not what I do know is that you didn’t discuss many personal freedoms in your very long comment. I just finished 12 years of work in CA and I was so happy to leave the state. Most of that is because of the elected officials not the people. I didn’t want to be associated with CA because people might think I was responsible for the election of those who I oppose so strongly. Freedom is truly alive in CA with the take over of the state by the illegal Chinese, Mexican, Korean and others most of the laws of civilization are broken by 10 of thousands daily. Many of these illegals own businesses (not in their name), manage businesses and work for business and powerful people. So there is much more freedom than there is in Oklahoma.


    You don’t sound very liberal. I wish the liberals in Michigan where more like you. We have a bunch of red neck UAW and Teacher Union liberals here who do everything they can to chase businesses away and make it difficult to start new businesses. Then complain because their kids drop out of school and can’t find a job. They do not seem to see the connection between the two. And then of course there is Detroit which should just go be another state…….or maybe just give it to Canada…….but they probably would not take it.

  • Sarah

    Jeremy Leochner. You write well. You are one of the few liberals that make sense. However, in my state they do have background checks and in fact I purchased a gun and had to undergo a background check. What I don’t want is a UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECK that the United Nations will have on hand and the United Nations will determine who is a terrorist. According to our fed gov Tea Partiers are terrorists. Do you see my point? I want fewer and lower taxes and I want our government to strickly adhere to the Constitution of the United States. Is that so hard to understand?

  • WorldWatchman

    I’m surprised that the whole west coast wasn’t ranked the most leftist. After all, they call it the left coast right?

  • ? Chocopot

    You forgot to add that, in most states, you are paying extra taxes to support many people who have freely chosen to be nothing more or less than leeches on society and are actually encouraged by many policies supported by the Left to be like they are. It buys votes for the Dems.

  • Average Joe

    A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for with the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.


  • Carlucci

    Kind of like the “Peter Principle”. People reaching the highest level of their incompetency.

  • Jeremy Leochner


    I will agree we need to be frugal in supporting the federal government. However I have no problem with paying to support my city, my state and my country.

    And Social Security’ and ‘Medicaid are not ponzi schemes. There are countless people who need them. They can be misused and their funds taken. But that does not mean they are bad themselves.

  • Maureen

    Please help me…for those of you who claim to be ‘liberal’ and love living in CA, NY, IL, and the like, what are your values and beliefs about society and personal responsibility? Likewise, those who claim to be ‘conservative’ and migrate to OK, ND, SD, and other ‘free’ states, what are yours? I find the responses here to be generally coarse and groping. Our modern culture gives both sides the ability to be selfish, greedy, distracted from fundamental human values, and markedly polarized. What do we gain with such pathetic discourse and insults originating from our respective political ‘sugar highs’?

  • Capitalist at Birth.

    Wyoming as bad as Illinois?

  • Bob666

    Florida has some work to do.

  • steve

    The problem is they’re bringing their sick politics with them.
    I live in Texas and I am totally appalled that that things are trying to teach in Texas schools.
    I’ve seen the change in the last 40 years and I’m starting to wonder if we are California or New York.

  • Warrior

    Look at their trend since 2007. Appears as if the “race to the bottom” produces rewards as well. Kinda like “public edumacation”. Teacher Unions love it!

  • ToughGuy1

    Maybe I’ll move to Oklahoma.

  • Dave

    LOL, this story is funny. States like NJ, NY and CA subsidize states like OK, TN, SD and ND through taxes they pay into federal coffers compared to what they get back in pork.

    OK has one of the worst educational systems in the nation. OK has farming and oil, without them. The state has NOTHING going for it. CA has the #7 economy in the WORLD, education, IT, Biotech, manufacturing, farming, entertainment. NY has education, finaincal center, manufacturing, entertainment, culture, a center for international business and arguably the most powerful city in the world.

    The states with the most “freedom” also have another thing in common. Sparse population. Easy to claim “freedom” when you have 10 people living in your state per square mile.

    I think if you ask those people that live in CA, NY, NJ if they would rather be in OK, ND or SD or TN your answer would be a resounding NO.

    I have spent much time in each of the highest and lowest ranked “freedom” states. Give me the “least liberty” states anyday because you get more opportunity to start a business, find a good paying job and have a better education system for your children.

    If you want to live in a cabin and be left alone and that is your definition of liberty…ND is your state. Just bring alot of heavy winter clothing and a deck of cards. Thats about as exciting as ND gets.

  • richard brooks

    i guess it depends on your definition of free or freedom. as well as your definition of liberal and conservative.
    it seems that conservatives want to be just as free to restrict equality & freedom as the liberals. sometimes they work together to restrict freedoms.
    as long as the public is willing to be distracted and diverted by personal ideological the politicians are free to do as they wish.
    and we, liberals, conservatives and just plain old americans, always get to pay for it.

  • richard brooks

    they do have a lot of poor uneducated folks that think they are tough.

  • Dave


    You do realize that the worst performing states in education do not have teachers unions?

    One of them is OK. That alone, I would not even think of living there. AZ’s education system is bad enough.

  • Rudolph j. Girandola

    A very interesting research effort. One problem I have as a resident of New Jersey is the way definitions of “freedom” and “liberty” tend to change with the party in power at any given time in our lives. For example Democrats and the Supreme Court are on the verge of changing the definition of “marriage” to not mean one man and one woman. This is the folly of those who think that their political power can change basic immutables. Freedom, liberty, marriage is what it is. A rock is a rock no matter if you try to change its objective substance into a kangaroo. Our American founders fought a revolution for freedom and liberty. But freedom and liberty from what and from whom. You see how their definitions of the terms have change over 200 years and by those who have come to power? The same holds true for the definition of marriage. These words convey meanings which are immutable and political entities have no power on earth to change to change them. A rock will always be a rock no matter what attempts there are to change its nature. Our freedom and our liberty will always be our God given right no matter what political power deigns to limit it. And, in the coming days of our “free” Republic marriage will be as God designed it when He created man and woman!

  • Shawn

    oklahoma 31st would be about right, not 5th! the only right you have there is to have the police act like gestapo, and beat you senseless if you don’t comply to the letter. don’t bring up your rights or they will show you that have none.

  • Native Blood

    I left Oklahoma because the State taxes were brutal. Moved to Texas for 8 years and loved It. Live in Missouri, once the kids are out of school, I may consider returning to Texas. (Depends on whether amnesty takes out available affordable property or not)

  • Sarah

    Since we’ve abandoned the idea that laws are intended to support and protect moral/civilized interaction within a society,

    people’s concept of “morality” revert to the lowest possible denominator which is intended to govern the CONSCIENCELESS DREGS OF SOCIETY THAT CANNOT DISTINGUISH RIGHT FROM WRONG.

  • Dave

    Universal background checks on gun purchases have “what” to do with the UN? They have nothing to do with each other. It is just a safety apparatus to help prevent people who should not have guns from getting them.

    How much should we pay in taxes and what services do you want to give up to afford your lower taxes? While we are at it, lets also make it so your state only gets back in pork what they pay into feneral coffers. Is that acceptable?

    Its good that you wish to follow the US Constitution so we can get rid of this absurd fight against same sex marriage since contracts between of age adults is a right everyone should have. We can quit wasting the SC’s time with this issue.

  • nc

    Sarah, you did not say that you agreed with a state of federal background check! No problem at all with those? I fail to see how knowing less about people who will shoot innocent people is to our disadvantage!
    To me, saving one school carnage is worth 1000 open gun shows! Maybe I’m wrong!!

  • Jeremy Leochner

    I can respect that you don’t want your private information shared with other countries Sarah. If that is what Universal Background checks involve I would oppose them too. The only distinction I would make is I personally agree with the United Nations efforts to combat the illicit trade of guns. If in fact back ground checks help that effort than I am in a bind. But you seem like a nice and reasonable person. So I will say I oppose any effort that would require you to go through a back ground check in which your information will be shared with the UN.

    As for the Tea Party I do not know anyone who is in the party so I don’t want to assume. My best understanding is the majority of Tea Party people are reasonable people with reasonable concerns. My problem is when I watch Tea Party rallies and I see speakers get up and say things like “We cannot allow the pen to be mightier than the sword”. There was a party protest where a speaker said that and he was applauded. Another example is people like Tea Party funder Grover Norquist who said “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub”. These kinds of statements seem unreasonable and some what threatening to me. I do not consider the tea party to be terrorists. But I must say that the people speaking for them are not exactly the ones I want running the country.

    Finally I hope you have never been given a hard time for your view on taxes and government. Though I may disagree with you I think wanting fewer taxes is a reasonable request. And I agree with you in having a government that adheres to the constitution.

  • Jim B

    Cuomo… Hello… Cuomo is anybody home in there! Oh wait, you’re out beating the pavement for 7 shots instead of 10. Do us all a favor Cuomo, keep walking! Oh and take that Bloomberg nincompoop with you… please!

  • nc

    Rudolph, what ritual is required to make a marriage a “marriage” in “nature”? Would you recognize a marriage ceremony that was sealed by the exchange of dog’s teeth? or blessed by anyone’s God??? Even if it were between a man and a woman with no one else complaining??
    If a man and woman are NOT denied the right to marriage what right under the Constitution do they have to seek laws that deny other individuals the right to that same ceremony? It’s called “standing to sue” which keeps private individuals and groups from frivolous lawsuits where their rights are not being infringed upon! This may well be the Supreme Court decides the present Gay Rights Case! Telling those you brought the appeal that they can’t sue because the matter involved does not deny THEM the right to be married to person of the opposite sex! It’s part of our Constitution that was formed to provide justice for ALL!

  • Karolyn

    Marriage, according to the state, is nothing but a contract. The gov. does not recognize a marriage unless a license is purchased and the marriage is reported to the state. The only reason for all the bruhaha is legal issues. Is there anything in the Bible that tells people how to get married? Common law marriage is also widely recognized by states; however, not for homosexuals. Why should they not have the same right? “Marriage” is really just a word.

  • Hedgehog

    WorldWatchman, up here in Canada we call it the WET Coast, for obvious reasons!

  • Hedgehog

    CMHOG, I think that if the offer was made to the Ontario government they might be persuaded to take it. It looks like a shovel ready landfill site to me and Toronto, Hamilton, Niagara Falls, London, Kitchener/Waterloo and Windsor always need landfill space. They might even consider some of the better parts for recycle sorting. The locals could probably better their standard of living just by scavenging. Sounds like a win win situation to me.

  • Jeremy Leochner

    CMHOG I think there is a misconception about liberals. Heck there are misconceptions about conservatives and libertarians. When I was younger I always thought conservatives were racist and inflexible. But then I got to know actual conservatives and realized I was wrong. I thought of libertarians as almost the same as being anarchists. But then I met libertarians and realized that I was wrong. I think that the people in Michigan you talked about are more extreme then I am.

  • nc

    Sarah, when you reference “the conscienceless dregs of society that cannot distinguish right from wrong” are you speaking of an insane asylum or that group of Conservatives that met recently or BOTH?

  • Deb McDaniel

    Yes you just continue to believe that California is less free than Oklahoma or North Dakota. You just like the authoratarian bend that Oaklahoma and the rest of the red states. You folks on the right seem to need somebody to tell you what to do all the time. We here in the land of the free like our politicians like our politicians authoratarian not at all. Jerry Brown has done wonders for our state and there isn’t anyplace in this country besides maybe Hawaii that I’d rather live. You don’t have to like California because we like it just fine and the fewer of your kind of American that we have, makes our state a happy place to live. We don’t have anyone tryiing to take away any women’s rights like they are in those red states. We still have unions which is a good thing. There are a few sad republicans but they’ve mostly lost their voices. If we could just get rid o Daryl Issa and a couple of others our state would be the best place in the world to live.

  • carrobin

    As a New Yorker for 40 years, I revel in the freedom to breathe air without cigarette smoke and eat good food without worrying about its cleanliness. Of course there are still some gun nuts around, but I can be sure that if they misbehave they’ll be dragged off and prosecuted. As someone once said (wish I could remember who), “only the wildest creatures need cages so carefully made.” NYC is a pretty wild place, but it’s also one of the safest.

  • STEVE E.

    Please stay in California. Encourage others of you like mind to stay there too. Thanks.

  • Dave

    I wonder if the authors asked any of the women in ND how “free” that state is.

    But what do you care about reproductive freedom when you are an old white male making your draconian laws? The old white male is fine.

  • Nadzieja Batki

    No one is stopping you from liking California or living there. Isn’t that chip on your shoulder getting a bit heavy?

  • STEVE E.

    Please stay in NY. Encourage others of you like mind to stay there too. Thanks.


    New York is a total police state. Lived here my entire life, can’t wait to leave and NEVER come back, NY resembles Orwell’s 1984, police on every corner, cameras, fines for everything under the sun, NYC is a United Nations slave state. Only a sheep thinks they are free in NY. The problem with places like Oklahoma are the police and their desire to examine your rectum for a roach clip. If the South can get over marijuana, I would more there in a heart beat

  • Nadzieja Batki

    You must like the prison of your own making, carrobin.

  • alpha-lemming

    Dear Mr. Mentis
    How are you…..I am fine.
    You MAY have broken a record in the number of times you can be wrong in 2 paragraphs. You’re wrong in the assumption marriage is a “right”…. it’s a “rite”. Meaning, rather than something given or bestowed…. it’s a COMMITMENT assumed by by the individual(s) to each other, the community, and God to comport yourselves according to a set of moral standards and expectations. Before you get your panties all in a bunch…. gays SHOULD be awarded all the percs (tax breaks, inheritance, visitation etc.) of traditional wedded couples… probably the main reason I wouldn’t be devastated if DOMA was struck down you just can’t call it marriage. It’s a different kind of contractural obligation… love is a beautiful thing and I hope EVERYONE finds it. And you attained this equality in the “civil unions” compromise….. BUT… You’re answer was “separate but equal isn’t equal…. you have to call us married”. Ergo… the fight isn’t for equality and Constitutional justice, but rather to grant weirdos the illusion of normalcy, acceptance, and main-stream thought.

    And just for additional yuks…. let’s assume your presumption of marriage as a “fundamental right” even though it isn’t. Do you understand the meaning of that phrase??? It means there can be NO… repeat NO.. restrctions on A-N-Y-B-O-D-Y to marry anyone or anyTHING they please. Polygamy…. just fine…. parents can marry their kids…. all forms of beastiality must be understood and embraced…. a guy can marry his ’69 Camero….. NO restrictions and as soon as there’s JUST 1….. it’s no longer “fundamental”.

  • Karolyn

    Alpha – And what is wrong with polygamy? As long as the partners are happy, why should there be laws against it? The only instance where polygamy is wrong is when someone is secretly married to more than one person. In that case, the partners are not in agreement.
    At this time in my life, I see the only reason for marriage to be for legal concerns. A commitment is a commitment. Yes, love is beautiful; but marriage does not have to follow. It’s a lot easier to get into one than get out of it.

  • Dave


    As Karolyn alluded to… Marriage in the eyes of the state is a LEGAL contract and having that contract entitles you to special rights and priviledges around taxation, medical access, people’s estates etc etc etc.

    When people get divorced, they do not do it through a preist, its done for legal purposes in the courts.

    Get rid of all those special rights married couples get, then you may have a case.

    But until then, any law that does not allow same sex marriage is a limit on freedom and liberty, its just not your freedom and liberty. If you have any proof that same sex marriage damages, you, children or society, I would love for you to present it because you would be the first.

  • independent thinker

    “Alpha – And what is wrong with polygamy? ”

    Karolyn Alpha made NO judgement about polygamy he only pointed out that it like the other things he listed are currently against the law but under the reasoning used to promote homosexual marrage those things can no longer be unlawful.

  • Rudolph j. Girandola

    NC your reply proves my point of the changing definitions of words. You are changing definitions to suit your interpretation of marriage as being a “rite”. Sure you can stop on a glass and say “I take you my Camero to be my lawfully wedded wife”. And you and your Camero can live happily ever after hop skipping down Route 66. But you see the nature of your definition does not change the purpose of marriage which is procreation. You think maybe you could have three or four little cameros following you down Route 66? I know we are straying from the subject of this article but the same is true for words like “freedom” and “liberty” and the states that hand those two things out to their subjects the way they believe them to be. In a sense it is why revolutions are born. As Wallace Stevens said in his poem: “let be be becoming of seem the only emperor is the emperor of ice cream”.

  • http://Yahoo Brad Johnson

    I have lived in Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah. I think you have Wnyoming wrong. Wyoming does not have state taxes but Idaho and Utah does. The sales tax in Wyoming is lower than Idaho and Utah. Utah does have a tax structure to attract business. Gas prices are lower in Wyoming than Idaho or Utah. Wyoming is less expensive to live there.

  • Wellarmed

    Hello steve, We happen to be running into the same problem in New Mexico next door. I personally left Maryland for the very reasons this article was written, and now I happen to be surrounded by the same people I attempted to rid myself of.


    Speak for yourself, live long New Yorker, just about had it, total slave state. IF places like Tenesee and Oklahoma did not shove catheters up your privates to see if you smoked a little pot, I would have left NYC years ago. People in the South need to rise up against tyranny against personal liberty. You have the weapons, we in NYC do not have the weapons. When police pull you over over a desperate attempt to nail you for having marijuana, FIGHT BACK. The police are not your friends, they are enemies of LIBERTY. Southerners need to wake up and stop groveling to the police. YOU HAVE WEAPONS. You can DO it. T

  • Sam

    CA doesn’t subsidize any state. The Teachers Union is solvent and the state is 30 Billion in Debt. The public employees in many cases get more pay than all but 2% of the population while working and receive a higher percentage of their pay than any company could ever pay its employees and survive.
    NY may not have 28% of all public assistance clients in the whole country but CA does. It is the 7th largest economy in the world is a total lie and it is outdated data.
    If you took away the LA, San Jose and San Diego Metro areas it would be as poor as Mississippi and not as well educated.
    It does have the surf and the ski resorts but when the state charges beach visitors to park where can there be a perception of freedom.
    15% tax on people working in CA and you think the money goes to OK and ND. It goes to grandmothers who come across the boarder and can’t pay their medical bills. It goes to Drug dealing daddies kids because there mama doesn’t want the drugs around the kids. It goes to gun shot victims of illegal gun owners and policemen/women. It goes for a $2 billion, federal judge ordered, health care system for Inmates.

  • Jeremy Leochner

    Sam I am in a tough position. I have not suffered any loss of personal freedom. I am not sure what exactly is under threat. I will admit there are cities and states like New York which have “nanny state” status. But in my experience I have never had to worry about personal freedoms. As for illegal aliens. Yes its a problem and we need to deal with it. But with all due respect I don’t think leaving the state is the answer. If I may ask what exactly are the freedoms you feel you did not have in CA.

  • http://midcontent ridge runner

    I agree with you Brad, Wyo is way cheaper to live in, Colo. has some pretty restrictive regs. and laws, as Mt does One of the reasons Wyo and Mt does not have higher standings is the evoiro nut jobs and the massive amount of land under government control. Want to see excessive taxpayer money being wasted, check out government waste on managing any federal property and the idoits that get hired to over see the operations.

  • Steve

    That’s my impression too. Surely Wyoming is freer than Colorado!

  • Ali

    Freedom is free from sin. People are slaves to being Gay, alcohol. and every other sin. And there is a way to get totally free .

  • Carol R.

    I have lived in California for 58 of my 60 years. This place sucks! The only good thing is our weather (most of the time). If I could afford to leave here, I’d be gone in a second. Our politicians are a bunch of pansie-assed liberals with no spine who kiss the asses of the rich and famous and think they know what is best for us. What a bunch of BS. Our roads and bridges are terrible. Education is a joke. Let’s pass prop. 30 to help out our schools. Not working…schools are closing down. Businesses are moving out because of over-regulation so fast it would make your head spin. I am against anyone who attempts to mess with our constition and bill of rights like Diane Fienstien is doing telling us what kinds of guns we can and cannot own. Government is not a one-size-fits-all. She and Barbara Boxer need to retire.

  • Wellarmed

    I cannot agree with you more STEVE E. I as an American will never pick up my weapon(s) (most are banned) to defend the people of the state of Kalifornia. They are on their own.

    I believe that this ladies comment were exactly the sentiment that I could not put into words. She like most Kalifornians have this exact same attitude and I am glad that she could put it on display for all to see. I also wish to tell her and her kind that despite what the Governor of NM says that you are not welcome here. Please do not stay or even visit my state as it is clear that you do not value the freedoms that being in NM affords.

  • Jeremy Leochner

    Being gay is not a sin. You are either born gay or you are not. Freedom is freedom to, not just freedom from.

  • Shawn

    Just because you believe the way that you do, doesn’t have any bearing on someone who doesn’t believe along the lines of your biased, bigoted and non factual opinions. Lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God? Please! Perhaps same sex partners choose to love each other and marry for more than just pleasure. If you don’t agree, good for you, but who are and why should you or your religion dictate what two consenting adults choose to do with their own lives.
    Mind your own business and perhaps remove the mote from your own eye, so that you can see clearly to remove motes from others. You have no proof whatsoever your god exists other than, you know its true! Before you ask me to prove your god doesn’t exist, the claim would rest on you. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, not just a hunch or a feeling. It’s really childish of you to feel threatened by other peoples legitimate choice to marry. Jesus didn’t condemn anyone in your story, he beat people like you and drove them from temple. Brainwashed hypocritical statements you have made in my opinion. I’m straight and married, just so ya know.

  • Nadzieja Batki

    Ali, what sins are you trying to hide? Usually when someone becomes preoccupied with others’ sins they are distracting from their own.

  • Dave

    LOL… If you only knew what a police state really is

  • Dave

    I am liberal.

    I believe everyone has a responsibility in this society to help the least of us to become self-sufficient. It means paying taxes to support the social safety-net. Everyone needs to take responsibility for their education, their drive or lack there of, and utilizing all of our talents to better our lives individually and society collectively. Do what you wish, as long as it hurts nobody else and you live with the consequences of your actions. Being wealthy should not afford you greater polical access and power.

    We need to respect difference up until those differences means depriving others of the same rights you enjoy.

  • Ali

    Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God:Having a form of godliness,but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 11 Timothy 3 :5

  • Jeremy Leochner

    I do not believe in god. I believe in the golden rule. Treat others as you wish to be treated.

  • Nadzieja Batki

    Really Jeremy Leochner, where did the “golden rule” come from? Reading your posts tells that you are not keeping the “golden rule”. Enough already with the BS.

  • Jeremy Leochner

    The golden rule came from the bible Nadzieja. I have no problem with honoring ideals set forth in the bible. I believe the ten commandments to be good laws. I just don’t believe in god. I do not need to believe god wishes me to do good in order to do good. I do not need to believe god commands me to good in order to do good. I try to treat people here with respect as I would hope to be treated. I do that because that was how I was raised and I feel right when I treat people as I would wish to be treated. If some one feels insulted by the things I say I am truly sorry. Insulting is not my intention. And if someone feels I am being dishonest I again apologize. I am not trying to deceive anyone.

  • Ali

    Of coarse you can believe or do what ever you want .I was only trying to warn that there are consequences. By

  • Nadzieja Batki

    Shawn, were your behaviours only affecting yourself then no one would have any reason to condemn you but your behaviours are predacious and the consequences affect everyone just as if we had a continuous running sewer.

  • Nadzieja Batki

    Dave, you are full of something and your second sentence proves it. You are not to be anyone’s messiah because you don’t have the wisdom or the knowall to become one. You will become a thug or a benevolent despot because you will demand that the people you supposedly help do all things your way.

  • Maureen

    Might we be able to address the second sentence, brought up by Nadzieja Batki ? Is there a better way than taxes to be socially responsible? Might it lie in a value system that is deeply embedded in our conscience to help those in obvious need?

  • Dave


    You only know what you know about liberals via the corp conservative media that feeds you. I responded to a question and I answered it. You might want to do the same about whatever you believe. Because you know nothing about liberals and especially this one.


    Sure we could do away with the entire economic system world wide, get rid of all currency as a means to purchase food, shelter and other things and just do things for your fellow human because its the right thing to do. And since this idea only exists in the world of Jesus Christ’s aims and Star Trek the second gen and is not realistic in today’s world…. For the Gov to provide services, the Gov must collect taxes to pay for the things that are uniquely suited to providing for society. We could institute a “communist” system like Jesus would have preferred if we could get rid of the human traits of jealousy, greed, laziness and others that cause societies to collapse. I just do not see those traits being overcome anytime soon. Therefore, we must pay taxes and have a gov that we elect to handle caring for the poor, trade, defense and keep law and order.

  • Maureen


    I thank you very much for being thoughtful and polite…WHEW!!! But, I must say that being responsible for those in need is INDEED a part of more people than you must know. I have no idea where or how you were raised, but many of us aspire to help people be the best people they can be. We spend our very hard earned money — beyond ridiculous taxes — on them.

  • Dave

    Hi Maureen,

    I grew up in VA outside DC so I have seen both sides of the political spectrum at work. I have seen this country go from having all people share in this country’s sucess to just a few people making most of the money and using their lobbying power in Congress to enrich themselves and everyone else can take a flying leap. I have seen where there was 1 bread winner and 1 person could afford to stay home and raise the children while they had enough to afford their home, cars, save for college and retirement. Now in many cases, two people must work to make ends meet, there is precious little time for the family and so time is at a minimum for most families so many people do not have the time to devote to helping others.

    This brings me to taxes. We are paying historically low taxes while spending has kept going up. Part of it is the aging of this country and more people are retiring compared young people entering the workforce. That alone would mean either gutting the social contracts we made in the 1920′s-1960′s or taxes need to go up to pay for them. But what screwed us up even more was the Vietnam war, (a war of want based on lies) that cost this country billions, then we have Reaganomics that told us, just get credit cards, we will lower your taxes and increase spending and everything will be fine. Also don’t look over here as we dismantle our manufacturing base so that the few can make more money. We have continued that until the 2008 collpase. We do not need a larger defense budget than the next 28 countries combined, we do not need corp welfare for industries making tons of money hand over fist. We do need to invest in this country’s infrastructure, we do need to reform education and yes, we do need higher taxes, especially on the wealthy that make up to 628 times the avg salary in this country to get us past the BB generation.

    Its simple math and economics that I am trying to explain. Since the poor and middle class do not have lobbyists on K street for their interests. It is these social compacts that are their only protections against the corporatists and their army of lobbyists, their media buys and their access to politicians to put forth their agenda and as the past 30 years have proven, their agenda has been at the expense of the poor and middle class. You may know the term “class warefare” and that is what the wealthy have been doing and winning at since Reagan.

    The whole “loss of freedom” arguement that gets put forth here is a smokescreen by conservatives to try and get the people who have lost economic power under conservative policy fooled to think it is their freedom’s that they are losing when in reality, they just make less and less money every year while the wealthy are bleeding this country dry.

  • Right Brain Thinker

    One of the best single sentences I have ever read on PLD—-it bears repeating. Thank you, Dave.

    “The whole “loss of freedom” argument that gets put forth here is a smokescreen by conservatives to try and get the people who have lost economic power under conservative policy fooled to think it is their freedoms that they are losing when in reality, they just make less and less money every year while the wealthy are bleeding this country dry”.

  • Nadzieja Batki

    Dave are you a woman? Why do you feel that you need to speak up for women, are we so dumb and weak? It is not old white males we need to worry about but someone like you who doesn’t know what he is.

  • Dave


    Its not the question you put to me that is the correct one. I am for women making their own choices and having control over their own reproductive lives…

    Conservative states like ND on the other hand… The men in that state know what is best for women but they get a pass from you because you fall right in line with what they teach you.

  • Bob666

    Oh Mr. Broken Toy AKA Matrix,

    Did someone put out the cross you were trying to light on fire?

    “Florida needs to kick freaks like you out, put you in prison, or put you to death”!

    And just why would they do this? perhaps you should elaborate……………

    “Florida has the largest child molester registration in America, and the sooner it eliminates freaks like you, the safer it will be for the demented liberal parents that raise their freaks in that dump of a state”!

    That is kind of funny for several reasons. First, there is a little known fact that you might have missed and that is; Florida is a red state. So are you saying the GOP is full of child molesters?

    As far as “dumps” have you ever been here? it is down right beautiful and very diverse in its population.

    I keep asking, what broke you so badly that make you so full of hate? there are medications that could help.

  • Right Brain Thinker

    Lots of crazy comments on this thread. The really crazy thing here is that Sam Rolley has scraped the bottom of the barrel here with this piece. Not with the title, of course. It is a good one and almost guaranteed to bring out the crazies—-I’m actually surprised that there aren’t MORE comments.

    No, I refer to the idea that Sam thinks anything from the Mercatus Center has any validity at all. The Mercatus Center is an anti-regulatory, pro-”free market” (read “rape everyone and everything for private profit” conservative “think tank” (read “lie” tank) that is a creation of the Koch brothers. It receives funding from the plutocracy and the corporate oligarchs who want to TAKE AWAY our freedoms as they build the corporate feudal state. Shame on you, Sam.

  • Darwan Winkler

    RBT ~ maybe Sam is attempting to get the Tea Party move to the Dakotas. ~

    Sounds good to me! ~~ I’m sure they’d love it! ~ Live free as a bear in the woods! Crap anywhere they wish, ~ short sleeve weather! ~ plenty of trees to hide among.


  • Darwan Winkler

    It’s interesting to note that these bastions of liberty and personal freedom happen to be exactly where the white man forces the indigenous Americans to live on Reservations as their lands was taken form them by the Federal government.

  • Bob666

    Yo Deer,
    That was OK, they were White and Christian.

  • Darwan D Winkler

    Some of us do make the effort to help others ~ and where we often fail with our efforts ~ we don’t stop trying just because we failed. ~ We just can’t save them all. ~ but to know that it wasn’t for the lack of attempting I find some comfort.

    And the ones that we can help ~ makes it all worth the effort.

    Here’s a little clip ~ that’s worth the review ~ I know much of it is true ~ while “in your face” and somewhat crass and unflattering. ~ It will not offer you comfort or a warm fuzzy feeling.

  • James Rowntree

    Living in New York City its no surprise we are the least free. Mayor Bloomberg is an arrogant, stupid dictator. America used to be a free country. Not any more! We the sheeple let these tyrants do this to us. The Constitution is dead and gone. Things are going to get ugly, and soon. Hail Obama! Our Lord and Master!

  • Right Brain Thinker

    One of the best single sentences I have ever read on PLD—-it bears repeating. Thank you, Dave.

    “The whole “loss of freedom” argument that gets put forth here is a smokescreen by conservatives to try and get the people who have lost economic power under conservative policy fooled to think it is their freedoms that they are losing when in reality, they just make less and less money every year while the wealthy are bleeding this country dry”.

  • Darwan D Winkler

    RIGHT! ~ Under previous “alleged” conservative leadership no less! ~

    and while this economic power loss continues to this day ~ They find it easy to blame today’s leadership. ~ While most American’s feel like they been in a stall, spin, cash and burn situation since Ronnie Rayguns, tweating tax codes ~ WHEREBY~ discounting the value of the “Labor Earned Dollar” and favor the “Investment Earned Dollar” WHEREAS the tax codes favor the affluent and upper 10% of earners via capital gains of the invested dollar and punishing “LABOR” for being “labor”.

    Yet so! Ronnie proclaimed before he was elected, “Lets get the Federal Government off the peoples backs” ( He just didn’t say which people) I thought he was addressing me and I voted for him! I was an American, but clearly not the right kind of American for his grand ideas.

    Now , ~ They have taken our saving, they have grappled for our pension funds and retirement and now they “Bird Eye” our Social Security contributions and label it an “entitlement”. ~ while the GOP making claims that it’s All in the name of “Conservatism” ,personal responsibility and freedom.

    Freedom is not a thing, it’s options to select from. ~more options more freedom, ~ more money, more options, more freedom. So yea, if you lose buying power, you start losing freedom of selection. ~ That family ski trip at Christmas ~ turns into 4 days and 3 night stay on the Red Neck Riviera in a Travel Lodge.

    If you find that your buying power is losing ground today ~ I’d say it’s about damn time that you felt what the rest of American’s have been dealing with for the last 30 years.

    We have bankers today that opt to steal by the billions and if and when they get caught ~ they pay a million dollars in fines and nobody goes to jail. ~ They don’t even lose their job , ~ but get “performance bonuses” for their handy work. ~ Nice gig, if you can get it ~ but the slots are limited. You must know someone to steal like that. ~ and I don’t hang around with such people.

  • Bob666

    Yo Dave,
    Very well put.

  • Dave

    Thanks RBT, but the key is for people to realize what has been going on since the 1950′s. Some need to believe its all Bush’s fault or its all Obama’s fault.

    Its hilarious to here some here talk about loss of “freedom”. They mistake their loss of upward mobility, the freeom to choice “product: as Darwin alluded to as some form of “tyranny”. Tyranny is a fancy word like Socialism, Communism and Marism that many throw out around here but they either have no clue what they mean or use the term incorrectly on purpose because they have an agenda.

    This article is a great example of misleading people. Here is the top 5 “free” states

    ■5. Oklahoma
    ■4. New Hampshire
    ■3. Tennessee
    ■2. South Dakota
    ■1. North Dakota

    All these states are sparsely populated, OK, SD TN and ND have terrible education systems and only TN has any semblence of culture.Yeah, I want to move my family there… Not really.

    Here are the states that are the most “not-free states”

    ■5. Rhode Island
    ■4. Hawaii
    ■3. New Jersey
    ■2. California
    ■1. New York

    If you notice, people actually live in these states and want to live in these states… Why? Jobs, Education, Culture… Trouble is, the world knows this so guess what? Its expensive to live in these states because they can charge a premium for housing, food etc. That limits your freedom to buy stuff. That fact gets mistakenly labeled as tyranny.

    These people that throw around tyranny would seriously not know what to do with themselves if they spent any time in Saudi Arabia or Cuba, or Israel if you are Muslim. Then these people would have a bit more respect for the language they misuse.

  • Darwan D Winkler

    Oh! you have met them too? LOL!

    If that’s the Tea Parties ideas on “freedom” ~ I think that I’ll pass.

  • Robert DiPerna

    In New York, it’s tax, tax, and more tax. As of Jan. 2013, we have the most draconian gun laws in the country, thanks to Mr. Bloomburg and Mr. Cuomo. The cost of living is some of the highest in the nation. There are no jobs here, at least in the upstate counties. It appears the downstate politicians don’t care about our concerns. Freedom means something to us, but our voices fall on deaf ears.


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