The Most "Socialist" States In America--The Answer Might Surprise You did an interesting experiment a while back to determine the so-called "most socialist states in America--" and in light of our current debate over budgets and spending, the results have been recently circulating on Facebook and social media. It's worth another look.

The folks at Mainstreet calculated states' expenditures as a proportion of their gross domestic product.

So in their own words they were measuring each state against the ideal state-controlled means of production and distribution of wealth model. They write:  "a purely socialist state is one in which the state is responsible for 100% of economic output and spends all of it on social programs." As a result, they aimed to determine which states have "the biggest public sector."

While this calculation doesn't necessarily demonstrate which states are the most committed to government-funded programs that help citizens achieve a certain basic quality of life (the kind of "socialism" or social welfare state in place in Europe or Scandinavia, and which progressives as a loose rule aspire to create) it is an interesting measure of how many states with conservative social policies or reputations actually invest back hugely in their own public sector, and therefore might actually be more socialist by a political science definition of the term than their citizens and politicians, convinced that socialism is a bogeyman, think they are.

By this standard, West Virginia (#1), Alaska (#2) and Alabama (#3)  beat out Vermont (#4)with its hippie reputation in the top four socialist states, while the fairly liberal Washington State joins Texas among the least socialist ranking. In this list, Nevada took the prize as the least socialist state in the nation.

For the full list, see Mainstreet's piece.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at April 25, 2011, 6:14am

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