You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

How Mcallen, Texas Explains American Politics

One of the interesting parts of that Brookings feature Zubin linked to earlier is a detailed ranking of metro areas by economic performance. The results are mostly intuitive--the areas doing the best have a strong government presence (like Washington, DC), or major industries that are countercyclical (like education, which is why New Haven is doing well).*

As it happens, one of the other metro areas doing very well is McAllen, Texas--which, as you'll recall from this excellent New Yorker article, is the healthcare-cost capital of the United States. Which kind of proves both a liberal and conservative truth simultaneously. The liberal truth is that massively inefficient spending (as with healthcare in McAllen) can do a pretty good job of mitigating a recession. The conservative truth is that the same spending will eventually bankrupt the country (see that New Yorker article for what Medicare spends in McAllen).

*Some energy-producing areas also look strong, which makes sense amid rising oil prices even though energy isn't a traditionally countercyclical industry.

-Noam Scheiber