David Brooks writes:
The Limits of Policy: The average Asian-American in New Jersey lives an amazing 26 years longer and is 11 times more likely to have a graduate degree than the average American Indian in South Dakota...
As part of an argument that:
[M]any Swedes immigrated to America... many Swedes decided to remain in Sweden... two groups with similar historical backgrounds living in entirely different political systems, and the poverty outcomes were the same. A similar pattern applies to health care... huge policy differences. Not huge outcome differences.... This is not to say that policy choices are meaningless. But we should be realistic about them. The influence of politics and policy is usually swamped by the influence of culture, ethnicity, psychology and a dozen other factors.... Finally, we should all probably calm down about politics. Most of the proposals we argue about so ferociously will have only marginal effects on how we live, especially compared with the ethnic, regional and social differences that we so studiously ignore.
If you wanted to find a stupider example to try to support the claim that "differences in policy really do not matter very much" than comparing American Indians in South Dakota and Asian-Americans in New Jersey, I suppose you probably could.
But it would take a really long time to find one, and you would have to work really hard to do so.
Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?