Your Opinion: Applying metrics to a progressive state

Dear Editor:

Anyone following my submissions addressing the impact of the conservative policy consequences exemplified by the conservative exemplar, Mississippi, would expect me to verify my assertion by examining a progressive/liberal state on the same metrics. My choosing Massachusetts meets that expectation. All citations are independently verifiable.

Broadly, the metrics are divisible into wages, education and health. Per capita income in Massachusetts is second only to Connecticut. Median income ranks Massachusetts 5th after leader Maryland, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New Jersey. Massachusetts ranks 14th for fewest households in poverty behind eight blue states and five “red states” — none of them Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas or Georgia, all states repeatedly appearing with Mississippi in the negative end of all metrics.

Judged for overall quality and commitment to education, Massachusetts ranks second after Maryland. On the simple measure of high-school graduation rates, Massachusetts also ranks in the top tier.

On the extensive policy metrics affecting length and quality of life, the differences are stark. On health of senior citizens, Massachusetts is third behind Vermont and New Hampshire. On the poverty metric for seniors, Massachusetts is clustered with 38 other states in a range from 6-10 percent. The federal guarantees embodied in Social Security and Medicare credibly have much to do with that cluster, so Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia have to work to undermine that base of protection. Massachusetts has the sixth longest life expectancy after Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, New York and Connecticut.

For all age groups, Massachusetts placed third for overall health care, after Vermont and Utah. Ranked for obesity and diabetes, Massachusetts ranks lowest for diabetes and fifth lowest for obesity behind the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Colorado and Utah Massachusetts ranks first for availability of primary care physicians.

For children and teens, Massachusetts ranks lowest for death rates in both age groups. For death from firearms, Massachusetts ranks lowest in one source and tied with Connecticut for second to New Hampshire in another. Massachusetts ranks fourth in lowest infant mortality to Montana, Vermont and Minnesota. Their worst performance is 19th-best for low birth weight. Essentially, the state does better than 30 others in low birth weight but better than 46 for keeping them alive.

The preferred policy exemplar would seem to be Massachusetts and Mississippi can thank Massachusetts for donating $.23 of that redistributive $1.02 of federal tax benefit received by Mississippi.

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