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What on Earth is John Stossel thinking?

May 10, 2010 - Mike Maneval

"I think that is a reason you have more prosperity in Arizona and less in Pennsylvania," Fox Business Network personality John Stossel told the crowd Friday at the Manufacturer and Business Association here in Williamsport.

The reason Stossel had outlined is that Pennsylvania is "clogged" with rules while Arizona adopts a more libertarian stance and is more skeptical of regulation ... but the "reason," really, is unimportant. I can't, at the moment, contest Stossel's assertion Arizona regulates less and that Pennsylvania has, in his words, "rules-sclerosis."

What I can, and will, contest is the idea Arizona has more prosperity.

Arizona, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, posted a 9.4 percent unemployment rate in March 2010 - a rate equal to, not lesser than, what Pennsylvania was posting. According to, 14.2 percent of Arizona residents live below the poverty line,  compared to 11.7 percent in Pennsylvania. Median income for a family of four in Arizona runs about $7,500 less a year compared to similar families in Pennsylvania.

For the middle-class, jobs and money are less plentiful in Arizona. What does Arizona have in greater abundance than Pennsylvania?

According to, rape and murder. And according to and, foreclosures. In 2007, Pennsylvania had a foreclosure rate of .3 percent, or three-tenths of a percentage point. In Arizona for 2007 it was 1.5 percent - a foreclosure rate five times higher. By March 2010, Arizona's foreclosure rate had dropped to about .7 percent, or seven-tenths of a percentage point. However, Pennsylvania's also had slid, to .1 percent or one-tenth of a percentage point.

Less money, no more jobs, and greater chances of losing your home or being raped or killed is not "more prosperity." And nowhere on this Earth would people view it as such - at least, apparently, no one other than John Stossel.


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