West Virginia ranked “dumbest” and most “socialist”

By Ron Gregory ronjgregory@gmail.com

July 29, 2014

NEW YORK – West Virginia has again received a leading role in the rankings among the 50 United States. As is often the case, however, the distinction may be dubious at best.

In fact, TheStreet.com has rated the Mountain State as the most socialistic and dumbest state in the nation.

In a release July 26, TheStreet, headquartered on New York City’s famous Wall Street, said West Virginia ranks first in both categories. It gave the rationale for developing the ratings system that put West Virginia at the top of both lists.

TheStreet was founded in 1996 by Jim Cramer and Martin Peretz. The organization operates a number of Websites and also provides financial analysis and services to private individuals and companies.

In terms of socialism, TheStreet article explained the concept of that system. They concluded that Republican opposition to policies such as the Affordable Care Act argue that socialism is “bad for the economy and bad for Americans.”

Generally, socialism is contrasted with free market democracy on a world scale, the magazine said. Recognizing the partisan political debate on the subject, TheStreet asked the question, “are any states becoming socialist before our eyes?”

In order to answer that question, the Website calculated state expenditures and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the “best indicators because socialist states tax and spend a higher percentage of their GDP.” TheStreet obtained those numbers from the states themselves and then simply divided the states’ 2013 expenditures by the 2013 GDP.

That’s where West Virginia, traditionally governed by Democrat governors and legislators, led the pack. Although Republican conservatives have made political inroads in the Mountain State in recent years, the governor’s mansion and both houses of the legislature are controlled by the more-liberal Democrats. Political observers often maintain that Democrats favor socialistic programs, although most will deny that charge.

In any event, West Virginia is number one in socialism, the Website claims.

Ranking at tenth on the most socialistic list is Wisconsin. Its expenditure versus proportion of GDP level is 16.2 percent. Although it now has a Republican governor, the state has voted Democrat in nine of the past ten presidential elections. Next on the list is Rhode Island, with an expenditure to GDP ratio of 16.3 percent. Hawaii comes in eighth on the list; New Mexico is seventh; Vermont, sixth; Arkansas, fifth; Mississippi, fourth; Wyoming, third; Alaska, second; with West Virginia getting the top “honor.” The Mountain State sports a 34.1 percentage with its next closest contender, Alaska, coming in at 23.6 percent.

The most recent TheStreet report comes on the heels of a May website ranking that listed West Virginia as the “dumbest” state in America. That rating was based on the level of education a certain percentage of residents have in each state, together with median household income, average SAT scores and average IQ. The Website pointed out then that educational level has a great deal to do with wages earned by individuals. They said the gap is widening in states where residents have college degrees versus those where most citizens are only high school graduates.

By contrast, Minnesota was rated as the “smartest” state in the Union. A total of 31.5 percent of its residents have bachelor’s degrees; the MDI is $58,906; the average SAT score is 1780; and the average IQ is 108.7 (5th).

The tenth “dumbest” state in the ratings is Tennessee. A total of 23 percent of state residents have a bachelor’s degree; the median household income is $42,764; the average SAT score is 1709; and the average IQ and ranking is 97.7 (41st).

West Virginia’s population includes 17.2 percent with a bachelor’s; a median household income of $40,196; an average SAT score of 1513; and an average IQ of 98.7 (37th). Arkansas, rated the second dumbest, shows 18.9 percent of its population with bachelor’s degrees; a household income of $40,112; an average SAT score of 1697 and an average IQ of 97.5 (42nd).

The Website also listed the 10 “least socialist” states in the country. Needless to say, West Virginia ranked 50th on that list.

To read the site’s comments and rankings, visit www.thestreet.com.