(The Center Square) – A meta-analysis of several freedom-related metrics, timed for the Independence Day holiday, points out a few areas of concern for Pennsylvania, particularly when it comes to foreclosures and the unemployment rate.

WalletHub, a financial analysis website, ranked all 50 states in its list of 2020’s Most and Least Independent States. Every state was evaluated using 39 different metrics sorted into five categories: Financial dependency, government dependency, job-market dependency, international-trade dependency and vice dependency.

The metrics covered everything from a state’s percentage of drug users to the percentage of jobs supported by exported goods to its unemployment rates.

Pennsylvania came in 45th place both in foreclosure rates at 0.02 percent and state unemployment rate 5.8 percent. Another less-than-stellar metric was “share of millennials living with their parents,” where the Keystone State came in 40th place (35.78 percent).

“We’re somewhat in the middle of the pack,” said Shawn Ritenour, a professor of economics at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania, and a fellow of the Mises Institute.

While Ritenour was surprised by how low the job-market dependency was for Pennsylvania, he was not surprised about much else. He pushed back on the notion that all dependence is inherently a negative thing,

Pennsylvania came in 45th place both in foreclosure rates at 0.02 percent and state unemployment rate 5.8 percent. Another less-than-stellar metric was “share of millennials living with their parents,” where the Keystone State came in 40th place (35.78 percent).

“Obviously being beholden to a debtor can hamper one’s ability to respond quickly to economic changes,” Ritenour said. “On the other hand, as long as it is responsible, carrying a certain amount of debt in order to fund productive investment is helpful.”

Ritenour pointed out that certain categories of metrics can be murky. For instance, when it comes to job-market dependency, it might not matter to the average person whether they are employed locally or by an overseas entity.

“If I’m looking for employment, I’m just looking for a job that I am satisfied with at a wage I am happy with,” he said.

On the other hand, he said, dependence on government carries with it a host of problematic impacts.

“I think that government dependency is unambiguously negative … to the extent that being dependent on the state for our well-being is not good.” 

He added that a higher dependency on the government is indicative of a population that is not maximizing its efficiency and productivity.

Ritenour advised that to achieve personal independence, citizens should try to stay within their financial means and try to avoid government aid. Ritenour said some Pennsylvanians, like people from all over the country, had succumbed to the idea that it is acceptable to be dependent on government.

“We need to wean ourselves from that idea,” he said. “We need to wean ourselves from consumer debt, and we need to think more long term.”

Ben Kahn is a reporter for The Center Square. Read the original article here.

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