September 28, 2004

Republicans at the trough -- heeerree piggy piggy!

A few weeks ago, a long-time friend of mine engaged me in a discussion about the flow of tax dollars to those less fortunate. One of the fundamental misperceptions that exists among conservative minded individuals is that their taxes are going to responsibility shirking, welfare dependent, jobless and non-job-seeking, liberal loving leeches.

Okay, so maybe that's a bit strong, but the sentiment is definitely there. While, as a progressive I believe in a fiscally responsible government that doesn't view deficit spending as a bottomless wallet, I also believe that we have a responsibility to provide bootstraps to those less fortunate to allow them to further their interests, both economic and political. Of course there will always be people that are more than willing to jerk the system around, but these are people in a very small minority and are anecdotal at best.

So here's the low-down: the Tax Foundation has recently released an enlightening report detailing which states benefit from federal tax and spending policies, and which states foot the bill. Essentially, it is a report that puts some measurable numbers on how wealth is redistributed around the county.

Since this submission is attacking a fundamental misconception that Republicans have regarding the usage of their tax dollars, let's divide the country into Red States and Blue States, where each state's color is defined by how that state's year 2000 presidential electoral votes were cast. For example, Texas went for Bush and would therefore be considered a Red State. Conversely, California went for Gore and would be a Blue State. Here's a pic of our beautiful country, neatly divided into the Red and Blue states we've so come to love.

According to the report, 32 states and the District of Columbia receive MORE tax dollars by the way of federal spending than they PAY in taxes creating a positive flow of tax dollars to those states.

Of the 32 states (and DC), 76% (25/33) voted for the Republican candidate in the year 2000. In fact, 85% (17/20) of the states that received the LARGEST amount of tax payer dollars cast their electoral votes for the Republican candidate. Here is a list of states receiving a positive flow of tax payer dollars. The states highlighted in bold are Red States.

Top 10 States Receiving Most in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:
  1. D.C. ($6.17)
  2. North Dakota ($2.03)
  3. New Mexico ($1.89)
  4. Mississippi ($1.84)
  5. Alaska ($1.82)
  6. West Virginia ($1.74)
  7. Montana ($1.64)
  8. Alabama ($1.61)
  9. South Dakota ($1.59)
  10. Arkansas ($1.53)

In contrast, of the 16 states that receive less in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes, 69% (11/16) are Blue States that voted for the Democratic candidate in 2000. In fact, 79% (11/14) of states receiving the least federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are Blue States. Here is a list of states that supply the tax payer corn feed for the federal trough. The states highlighted in bold are Blue States.

Top 10 States Receiving Least in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:
  1. New Jersey ($0.62)
  2. Connecticut ($0.64)
  3. New Hampshire ($0.68)
  4. Nevada ($0.73)
  5. Illinois ($0.77)
  6. Minnesota ($0.77)
  7. Colorado ($0.79)
  8. Massachusetts ($0.79)
  9. California ($0.81)
  10. New York ($0.81)

"OK, so what?" you ask. Here's the pincer: Democratic, socially liberal fiscal policies are directly benefitting the very people that don't agree with those policies. How is that for irony?


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