Saturday, July 02, 2022

Bragging About Corruption in Broad Daylight



The "Arkansas Economic Development Commission" hands out taxpayer money to favored business interests. The overall philosophy of the commission can be taken from their own about page where they describe Arkansas as a place where we have "a streamlined state government designed to act on corporate interests quickly and decisively." I haven't noticed the same amount of responsiveness towards us everyday flesh and blood citizens. 

So it appears that this state commission which hands out taxpayer dollars has an executive director who gets a big bonus every year from a private group. Hey, what do you call it when a state official gets money from private interests for doing their job a certain way? Everywhere else on this planet, it is called a bribe. Usually, it is done in secret. In Arkansas, it is called a "performance bonus" and it is done in broad daylight. They brag about it like it is something good for the state. 

Would there be, after maybe one or two degrees of separation, a connection between the people who fund this "Economic Development Foundation" and those who benefit from the taxpayer funded largess of the Commission? You can bet on it. If we had an actual media in this state with real investigative journalists instead of frauds who are only there to parrot and defend the establishment's looting, you would already know about these connections, because the media would be talking about it. 

Instead, they, including Michael Wickline who wrote this bit, are hip-deep in this effort to con the public into accepting this open bribery of public officials as normal behavior. Then, to add insult to injury, Wickline attacks independent forces that are trying to clean up state government, like Conduit for Action and Bryan King. Not only will pseudo-journalists like Wickline refuse to do their job, they actually attack others who try to do what they are supposed to be doing.

Remember Moore's Media Maxim: The establishment media does not exist to inform the public. The establishment media exists to protect the establishment. 

Friday, June 17, 2022

The NRA is Not Your Friend

 In Arkansas, we have an independent state-based gun rights group (Gunowners of Arkansas) that hasn't been captured by the establishement or become rife with corruption. But if you look at the history, if you look at the record listed at the bottom of this post, you will see that the NRA have been controlled opposition tasked with incrementally negotiting away our rights for some time. 

Further, there is an Arizona group trying to expose the corruption in the NRA. They mailed me a flyer that I found very interesting. Here is the front page. Click on image for a larger view. 

Here is an interview in which the #2 in Gun Owners of Arkanas talks about the real work of the NRA and shows why a legislator who is NRA endorsed (Bob Ballinger) actually writes terrible gun bills.....

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Primary Surprises, Not Surprises

 A good summary of the Arkansas 2022 Primary Election Results can be found here

Insurgent candidates for state-wide offices and congressional seats were thrashed. I've been telling my friends for years that you don't take on the establishment choice in the primary of that party. Not for big offices where you are not personally known by many of the voters. Try running as an independent or start a new party. Then you have all the way to November to get your message out and you are not after a group of primary voters that your opponent is going to have Orwellian level data collection on. 

If you don't have the money they have, at least you both have the same amount of time. When time is in short supply, money is going to be even more dominant. They've never listened. And the results yesterday were quite similar to what they have been for the last twenty years....insurgents get thrashed. Even the ones who are good candidates. 

Doc Washburn didn't even get 20 percent for Governor on the Republican side. Chris Jones dominated on the Democrat side. Jan Morgan did about the same for U.S. Senate. Conrad Reynolds was in my mind a more serious candiate than Morgan, and did better against Congressman French Hill, but still only got 41%  of the vote. Party people are often herd people and they tend to go which way the herd goes. Outsider campaings only work if you are a billionaire who is aleady a household name with basically your own media and you are better than the news anchors at working that media. IOW, Donald Trump is an anomoly. 

Boozman won big. The Democrats passed on former Independent Dan Whitfield to elect Natalie James. There was no real Democrat establishment candidate in that race as the big money interests who run the DPA (and the RPA) are fine with Boozman and are going to let Ms. James twist in the wind with no support this November. I don't think Whitfield would have beat Boozman either, but he would have made the race a lot more fun. 

The only close aspect in the state-wide offices was that Leslie Rutledge managed to avoid a run-off in a six way race - which is pretty impressive when you think about it. She may have also ended a couple of political careers that needed to be ended with their poor performances, though I look for Washington County Judge Joseph Wood to have a future for local offices. 

The State Senate level and below is where insurgent campaigns can under some circumstances have a chance, because at that level people are more likely to vote on personal knowledge of the candidate or their family and less likely to take cues from party brass. Add to that ...this cycle gave us re-drawn district lines so that some incumbents were put in disadvantaged situation compared to the norm. If there is ever a time to make insurgency work, it is after redistricting. 

In District 3 Alderman Steve Crowell beat Senator Charles Beckham. In district six, JP Matt McKee unseated establishment Republican Senator Bill Sample. In Senate district 22 on the Republican side, establishment tool James Sturch finds himself six points behind and in a runoff facing State Rep. John Payton. 

State Senate District 28 is of the most interest to me- Incumbent Bob Ballinger drew four primary opponents and a Democrat opponent in November, due in large part to a serious of dubious ties and scandals, along with a general failure to do his job well. One of them is the man he unseated four years ago, the top vote-getter Bryan King. Back when we were voting "Ten Best" and "Ten Worst" legislators, Bryan King nabbed the top spot after being rated #2 twice. Ballinger made the top ten once himself, before his substance had time to put perspective on his talk. King isn't a corpoprate sock-puppet and he isn't a reactionary demogogue. So I'm wondering if a guy like that still has a place in today's GOP. We will see in a few short weeks. 

District 35 will also have a run-off but there was no incumbent there. Tyler Dees faces Rep. Gayla Hendren-McKenzie. If a Hendren loses up there, it could be the start of the end of a dynasty. 

There are 100 house seats in Arkansas. Only seven will have run-off elections. And that's weighted to the Republican side. The Democrat party in this state is woefully under-competitive. So is the Republican side in my opinion, but that's what happens when the establishment tips the scales too often. Outsiders start getting smart and quit signing up for an unfair fight. 

Karen Baker held her seat against a challenge from Gunner Delay. We may need a recount for the court of appeals race between Wendy Wood and Stephanie Cassidy. With judges, it is true we elect them, but by law they can't tell us much about what kind of judge they would be, so the elections we have in my mind are not as legitimate example of public expression as other office.....or at least they wouldn't be if the two establishment parties didn't have a near choke-hold on ballot access. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Thurston Brags About Using State Resources to Register Republican-Leaning Demographic

 Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston is sending his employees around the state with "mobile offices" in conjunction with a veteran's group in order to register more veterans to vote. They will also be encouraging all veteran-adjacent voters to "dedicate their vote to a veteran". I know this because he is public about it. He is proud of the effort. 

I'm a veteran. I am all for veteran's voting. And if people want to "dedicate their vote to a veteran" that's good too. I think the effort is a worthy effort. But it isn't proper to do it with state resources. Paid state employees who work for a Republican SOS are out spending their workdays registering more voters in a demographic that has long swayed heavily Republican (and is 90% male for that matter). Some of you who are more partisan in your thinking, like the Secretary it would seem, may not see any problem with using state resources to bolster the position of your political party. But what if the shoe was on the other foot?

What if a Democrat Secretary of State sent half of his employees out to register black voters? What if they asked voters to "dedicate their vote to a civil-rights leader."? Or even a campaign to register women voters while urging people to dedicate their vote to a great woman? My guess is that many would cry-foul and be indignant that their tax dollars were being used to selectively push to register voters in groups that tended to vote against their chosen political tribe.

The principled position is that if it is wrong to use state resources to favor one party then it is also wrong to do it for the other. 

Until voters consider the integrity of the process to be more important than winning the next election, we are going to be ruled by thugs, even if they have affable front-men to take the edge off that truth. 

Thursday, March 03, 2022

Redistricting Maps 2022

 Now that they seemed to have passed court inspection, this might be a good time to share the 2022 Arkansas redistricting maps.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Why Bother With Primaries? The Establishment Media has Already Picked Nominees

While it is nice KHTV 11 gave the Libertarian candidate fair coverage, it is pretty clear they did so in an effort which was grossly unfair to the non-establishment candidates in the two established parties. In the Republican primary they simply dismissed Doc Washburn on the grounds that Sarah Sanders had raised more money, and in the Democratic primary they dismissed all of the candidates except for Chris Jones on the same basis.
It makes one wonder how Dr. Gary Bland feels. When he tried to run for Secretary of State, the Democrats had him move "to the back of the bus" to make room for Susan Inman who ran a terrible campaign and lost big. He was a good soldier and instead of running for Secretary of State, ran for Lt. Governor, where of course he lost big to a well-known and well-funded incumbent who consistently gets fawning media coverage. Have the Democrats consistently disrespected him?

 I think so, but the media is disrespecting him and ALL of the candidates except for the big-money establishment leaders with reports like this one. How are people supposed to make a good choice in the primaries when the media ignores all but the establishment favorite candidates right out of the gate?

Thursday, July 01, 2021

What Happens to Our Loans if the Dedicated Federal Fuel Tax Goes Away?

 It sounds like the Biden administration wants to divert federal fuel tax money to the general revenues. That way he can spend it any way they like, not just on highways. We are not sure yet if this includes the portion returned to the states. If it does, many states will have a big problem, including Arkansas. Politicians have gotten in the habit of taking out a bond issue financed by 20 years of Federal Highway Fuel Tax revenues. If those monies now go to the general revenues of FEDGOV, the state will have to make good on those bond payments with other money, from somewhere. 

I've had a long history of opposing such bond issues. They basically give whoever is in charge now the budget of whoever will be in charge 15 or 20 years from now. Ironically in this case, Mike Huckabee could have spent all the federal highway money that otherwise his daughter would get to spend. Basically, the politician who takes twenty years of highway dollars and spends them in eight better hope he made the right decisions, because that money isn't available for the next guy (or gal).

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Big River Steel Sold to U.S. Steel, Was it Worth it?


U.S. Steel has agreed to purchase the remaining half of Big River Steel for $774 million. It had purchased the first half two years earlier for $700 million. BRS was a tax-payer supported effort. We gave them incentives whose cost totaled around $240 million, plus another $50 million in Teacher Retirement Funds was used to by stock in BRS. The total initial project cost was 1.1 billion dollars. This was in 2015. This closes the books on an experiment in government going into private industry. Let's look at the history and its conclusion to decide if this is the kind of thing the state should make a habit of....

Shortly after the project was completed, steel prices collapsed. In August of 2017 BRS took out a 1.255 billion dollar loan against their assets as I reported here. In other words, they borrowed an amount in excess of their net worth when they began just two years earlier. They borrowed an amount equal to all of their initial net worth, plus about half of the $240 million in subsidies that Arkansas had provided them. 

At this point, I was concerned that the People were going to lose all of their money and the company would wind up with a net worth of zero. Thus the Democrats and former Governor Mike Beebe, who united with the so-called "conservative, free market Republicans" (most of whom favored Marco Rubio in 2016) seemed to me at this point to have perpetuated a financial disaster on the state. They were rescued from the shame of this by a man that many of them loathe, either openly or secretly. When Donald Trump imposed large tariffs on steel midway into his term, it was a boon to U.S. steelmakers. This boon was at the expense of higher prices paid by U.S. consumers of steel products.

By 2019, U.S. Steel bought a 49.9% stake in BRS for the aforementioned $700 million. Now they are buying the rest of it. Disaster was averted as the 1.1 billion spent in 2015 has ended up generating 1.474 billion dollars for the sale of the company. So that is a gain of 34% over six years. And we added several hundred good jobs to Osceola and the surrounding area. That is a good deal for Arkansas and is evidence that we are ruled by wise and benevolent people, right?

Well, if you just count the pluses and ignore the minuses, or "opportunity costs" that case can be made. But then a lot of things look good if you just count the pluses and ignore the minuses. Again, if most of them had gotten their way, Donald Trump would not have been the President of the United States and those steel tariffs would never had been imposed. In which case, BRS might be worth nothing right now. So "lucky in spite of themselves" might be a better description of the outcome here rather than "wise and benevolent."

Secondly, counting the pluses without the minuses isn't a realistic way to look at things. For example, if you add in the $240 million worth of subsidies mentioned earlier, the true start-up cost was 1.34 billion dollars, not 1.1 billion dollars. Thus the actual gain in real total investment (including taxpayer subsidies) was 0.134 billion dollars, or $134 million dollars. So the real return was 10% over six years. This is a 1.66% annual return. The lowest Ten Year Treasury rate in 2015 was 1.88% So this highly risky investment still earned less than essentially risk-free U.S. Treasury Notes.

A better comparison might be with the S&P 500. What did the gains of the S&P 500 look like during this time? Well, from the end of 2015 till now the S&P has more than doubled. This 10% return must be compared to the 100% + return of the broader market during the same period. IOW, the deal made a little money in an environment when mainstream investments made a lot of money. So for example, the Arkansas Teacher retirement fund may have turned their initial $50 million investment into $55 million dollars six years later. That doesn't sound so bad by itself, just looking at the pluses and ignoring the minuses, but if that same money had just been used to buy the S&P 500 then that $50 million would have been worth over $100 million, and that number does not include dividend income! The Teacher Retirement fund therefore lost an estimated $45 million dollars in potential gains. 

All of this measures gains in dollars, but dollars themselves have been shrinking in value. If you think that inflation is greater than 1.66% a year, then in terms of real purchasing power the value of BRS could have still been negative. 

The rest of the deal is hard for us to evaluate. We don't know how much the average consumer has been hurt by higher steel prices. We know that Osceola got hundreds of good jobs, but I think I figured at the start that the subsidies for each job, given the estimated 525 of them, was something like $34,000 per year per job. If we had left that money in the hands of people in the state they would have spent it elsewhere and that money would have still produced or saved jobs. You can't just say "look at the jobs we created with that money over here" and ignore the jobs that same money would have supported if it had been left in the hands of the people who originally earned it. 

My conclusion is that the state absolutely dodged a bullet over the BRS project. By that I mean it was just a bad deal for us when it could have been a disaster. I don't advise our state government to go to the roulette table again. If a project is worth doing, the free market will do it without their intervention. The politicians who "win" these deals tend to be the one who overbid the most. 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Libertarians File Signatures as "New Party for 2022


Media Advisory:  Libertarian Party to Submit Petition for the 2022 Elections

June 24, 2021 - Little Rock, Arkansas

On Monday, June 28, the Libertarian Party of Arkansas will deliver a petition to the Secretary of State seeking to form a "new political party" for the 2022 elections.  This will be the sixth electoral cycle that the Libertarian Party has sought that status.

Members of the Libertarian Party will meet on the Capitol steps at 10:00 AM, with an opportunity for the press to interact with Libertarian Party leaders about plans for 2022.  The petition, with over 14,000 signatures, will then be delivered to the Elections Division of the Secretary of State's office.

The petition is being presented in the context of an ongoing federal lawsuit challenging the Arkansas legislature's 2019 action to make it more difficult for political parties to gain ballot access.  Under a court-ordered injunction and a stipulation agreed to by both sides in the lawsuit, the Libertarian Party is required to submit 10,000 valid signatures to become a political party for the 2022 elections. 


Completely ridiculous that they have to submit petitions as a "new" party six cycles in a row when their candidate for US Senate got about the same percentage of the vote as now-President Joe Biden. To top it all off, they have to fight a lawsuit because the legislature recently passed a law almost tripling the number of signatures required for them to make the ballot - even though this change has already been ruled unconstitutional on more than one occasion. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Hendren Leaves GOP, A Boon for Better Ballot Access Law?

State Senator Jim Hendren, Nephew of Governor Asa Hutchinson, has left the Republican Party and is now an independent. The basis for his departure seems to be the tone set by former President Donald Trump. Trump has denied some of the accusations in the link above that MSN reported as fact, but this seems like a thoroughly considered decision on Hendren's part. To me (Mark Moore) this is a chance to rectify Arkansas ballot access laws for independents. I shared the email below with Hendren and a number of other legislators....

To the Honorable Jim Hendren, et al

I am writing to Senator Hendren in regards to his recently expressed concern for fairness in opportunity for independent candidates. The matter is a delicate one, requiring wisdom in looking beyond one's own label or tribe in order to seek equity. I include in this message several legislators whose paths I have crossed in peace, along with two with whom I have had no dealings- my current representative Rep. McCollum and the man who will be my Representative should my contemplated move to a particular house in Fayetteville occur, Rep. Whitaker. 

For those of you who don't know, I engaged in a five year legal battle with the state regarding ballot access laws for independent candidates. Eventually we successfully overturned the law which had moved the date by which we had to submit our petition signatures from early March to May first. The date to submit signatures was restored to May 1st.

But that was not the only result of the case. The state has never fully complied with the ruling in this case as amended. Due to the aggressive tactics of the state, a situation arose where we had a need for the judge to clarify his ruling as to whether we had to file our original paper work with party candidates in early March or whether we could wait until May 1st to turn in all the required paperwork. Not just the petition signatures but the other associated filing paperwork as well. Judge Moody ruled that we could file it all on May 1st. The state appealed this and the 8th circuit ruled the point moot because I fell short in my signature drive but refused to vacate Judge Moody's decision because of the history and reputation of the Arkansas Legislature on ballot access issues. A transcript of the appeal will show that the state specifically called for a vacation because of the amendment to Judge Moody's order which I have attached, and the court still let the ruling stand.

The result of this is that it is my position that the state would lose another ballot access lawsuit if challenged on this issue. Part of the result of my suit is that the state was required to pay my attorney in excess of $54,000 and it seemed to me that the state spent much more time, energy and effort on the case than our side did. So I would easily imagine the lost value to the state was in six figures, nor was my case the only one in which this has happened recently.

There is no compelling state interest to explain why independent candidates should have to file their candidate paperwork with party candidates. They don't have a primary election. Their primary is to see if they can collect the required number of signatures (which in legislative races is triple the requirement that judges face, but this is a separate equity issue) in the 90 days by May 1st. If they know they have fallen short, it is just a waste of time and energy for the state and the candidate to have to file in March, as well as in my opinion being an unconstitutional burden on independent candidates because there is no compelling state (as opposed to private political party) interest. In Presidential years the party filing period in Arkansas is absurdly early compared to the date an independent candidate must file their petitions, so it is doubly a burden to make them file their other paperwork with party candidates. If it is the party's wish to force their members to make early choices for party reasons that should not place a burden on citizens who are not members of a party. 

I encourage you to file a bill which would change state law so that it fully complies with the judge's ruling, as attached.

With Respect, 

Mark Moore

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Is the State Scamming You and FEDGOV on the $600 CARES Act Unemployment Money?

click on picture for a larger view

I have wondered before if the ruling class of this state was running a giant scam to defraud the federal government concerning their handling of Affordable Care Act monies from 2013 to 2017? State Senator Bryan King (R, Green Forrest) concluded at the time "it's a scam." Alas we may never get the answer to that one. The records that could have shed light on the issue were sort of "placed under new management" when Governor Asa Hutchinson inexplicably and without the required legislative approval replaced the vendor which had managed the state's DHS information technology contract without complaint for twenty years with another firm even though it's bid was twenty million dollars higher! 
As for Senator King, his reward for investigating "the scam" was that the establishment of his own party ganged up on him and got him beat in a primary. Since then no one else in the legislature seems to be asking the hard money questions that he was asking. Well, maybe Senator Linda Collins-Smith, but she was murdered shortly thereafter. So again, we may never know the answer to that one.
I say all of that because recently I have had reason to wonder if the state, still under the leadership of Governor Hutchinson, isn't scamming FEDGOV yet again, along with many of its own citizens, in the handling of the CARES Act unemployment money? I can take issue with whether the CARES Act was good legislation, but this is not the issue I wish to address here today. Instead, I want to examine the question of whether the state government of Arkansas is defrauding the federal government and it's own citizens in the way it is administrating these funds.
As you may know, workers through their employers pay a little each month into an "unemployment fund" which a worker may draw from if they are unemployed later through no fault of their own. There is a maximum amount of benefits though, so even a worker whose employer has been paying in for fifteen years without interruption can only draw funds back out for a limited period. I think any unused extra money goes back into the pool, but regardless it stays in the state's hands. The maximum amount that can be drawn from the fund is presently $451 a week. Most people draw much less because the amount you can draw from your fund each week is based on your income before you were unemployed.
The state's share of the money paid to the unemployed worker, up to said $451 a week, comes from the pool of money that workers and their employers have paid in unemployment taxes. The $600 from the cares act comes from the Feds separate and apart from that fund. So that a high-wage person now on unemployment would get $451 of state money drawn from their fund each month as well as $600 of CARES Act money. That is a lot of money for not working, but let's focus on the question of whether a much larger amount of money has been taken by the state fraudulently rather than debating the merits of the act here.

Now, look at that picture at the top of this article. It is a screen-shot from an unemployment claim. Look on the row that says "Information on last week claimed". It says "you were processed on $600." The next row, "Remaining Balance" was $3,608 which was indeed $600 less than the same entry last week. The recipient got two deposits to their account, one for $451 from the state money and one for $600 from the CARES Act money.
Do you see the problem? The state is paying only $451 a month from the recipient's unemployment account, not $600. Yet it is subtracting $600 each month from that account. That $600 is coming from the Feds, not the worker's unemployment fund! Every week the state is taking $600 out of that fund even though they are only paying $451 to the recipient. This means the state is keeping $149 of the worker's money each month, and exhausting their unemployment fund much faster than it ought to be.

So imagine a worker that only got $300 in state unemployment each month (and this is more typical, few get $451 a month and many get less). They have been getting $600 taken out of their Unemployment Account each week even though the state has only had to pay them $300 from that fund. Such people tend to have smaller unemployment funds to start with, and this scam will exhaust their benefits much faster than they ought to be. And of course the state is in effect pocketing $300 a week of Federal money inappropriately instead of just $149. It is using federal money to cover its own obligations from the worker's unemployment account funds.
My conclusion is that the state has been improperly administering unemployment insurance and defrauding either FEDGOV, the workers themselves, or both. They should only be taking the amount that THEY had to pay out of the worker's individual unemployment account funds, a maximum of $451 a week, and not the $600 a week which has nothing to do with this fund.
To add insult to injury, at tax time, recipients will be asked to pay state income tax on this money. The money that was left after the state ripped them off the first time! Now maybe I have this wrong, but it doesn't look good and if so someone needs to show why. You may think "there must be some explanation, they wouldn't be this brazen." But they would be, and they have been, and the Big Lie Theory counts on the very fact that people simply refuse to believe that their leaders would be so brazen in order to make it work. They use your own refusal to accept they could be that bad to get away with being that bad. Why has no journalist raised this issue? Why has no Republican official has blown the whistle on this, and no Democrat has either? It is past time citizens kicked both parties to the curb and started something new, in my humble opinion.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Obamacare Isn't Saving Us from the Chicom Virus, and Ending It Won't Make Us Less Safe From It

The Democrat-Gazette ran yet another highly biased wire report yesterday on the so-called "Affordable Care Act". It started by saying...
The Trump Administration touched off another politically charged battle over the future of the Affordable Care Act with its latest maneuver to dismantle the law during a pandemic — a move that Democrats lambasted and few Republicans defended.
It went on and on quoting people about how terrible it was that anyone was even considering rolling back any aspect of Obamacare while this highly infectious disease was ravaging the country. It was almost strident in sending the message that we now need this nationalized healthcare plan more than ever.

They are the only state-wide newspaper and have been a primary source of information for Arkansas voters for many decades. Politicians are afraid to cross them. Thus, they must bear significant responsibility for the poor economic conditions and ongoing political corruption and dysfunction in our state. They owe us reparations, though the blame also falls on those of us who are so shallow and inept as to continue to give them credibility just because they are big and loud.

I didn't vote for Donald Trump and I have no plans to in November either. Still, the story is extremely poorly reasoned and misleading. Obamacare is the law of the land. Our healthcare infrastructure is now built around it. If America's response to the pandemic has been inadequate it must be at least in part because Obamacare isn't good at dealing with a crisis of this kind and magnitude. It is a clunky, centralized, inefficient and unwieldly administrative nightmare that was cobbled together by giving a vast array of interest groups a piece of the taxpayer pie. It wasn't even built to be a flexible and rapid response to an infectious disease, and it is consuming a vast amount of resources which could otherwise be spent on an effective response. 

In fact, a strong argument can be made that the more committed a state is to Obamacare, the weaker its response has been to the crisis. Nineteen states have not enacted a critical piece of the Obamacare pie. They haven't expanded Medicaid to every healthy adult below the federal poverty line. So there health-care infrastructure isn't as centralized and ordered around Obamacare as it is in the other thirty-one states.

Now, let's look at the death-rates for the Chi-com virus by state....
I'd like to thank Alan Clark for his recent statistics on COVID-19......
Deaths per million from COVID-19
Worst nation in the world Belgium 851 
New Jersey 1670
New York 1610
Connecticut 1210
Massachusetts 1150
Rhode Island 870
District of Columbia 850
Louisiana 680
Michigan 610
Illinois 540
Delaware 520
Maryland 520
Pennsylvania 510 
If you remove these states (the worst 12 ) from the numbers the rest of the United States has performed better than most of the world.
What do each of these twelve state have in common? They are all among the states which expanded Medicaid. IOW these are the states which fully embraced Obamacare. If it were a matter of chance, at least four of these states should be from the group which failed to expand Medicaid, instead, none of them are. If there is any relationship between how well a state has dealt with the COVID-19 crises and degree of integration of Obamacare then it is an inverse relationship. The more a state integrated it's health-care system with Obamacare the less likely it is that they had a lower death-rate from the illness.

The biggest problem early on in America was that testing was far too slow. This produced chaos in our early response because no one could tell if they were infected or not. This too was a result of an overly-centralized healthcare delivery system. In this case, early on the CDC insisted that all testing would go through them. The centralized response slowed things down and it wasn't until things were out of hand that they threw in the towel and let a decentralized approach to testing resolve the problem. Would that have been more likely or less likely to have been the case without Obamacare imposing a centralized, if clunky, healthcare system on the nation?

Government has a legitimate role in stopping the spread of highly infectious diseases. There is no evidence to support the belief that Obamacare is the best way, or even a good way, to do that. We don't need Obamacare to protect us from COVID-19, and there is evidence to suggest that we could do better without it.