Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
If there’s anything I wish we could get through the thick skulls of American voters, it’s this information.
The “red” states up in arms about government spending receive the largest share of it. This is not a new finding, but research by economist Gary Richardson at the University of California-Irvine backs it up.
It isn’t surprising that the more Republican a state leans, the more likely it is to be furious about government spending. But what is surprising is that states with the highest anti-spending sentiment appear to be the largest beneficiaries of government spending. Not only do red states swallow the lion’s share of government spending, but Richardson found a linear relationship between the extent of GOP support in a state—and, by implication, the fervor of its anti-government sentiment—and the amount of federal largesse the state receives.
The 28 states where George W. Bush won more than 50 percent of the vote in 2004 received an average of $1.32 for every dollar contributed. The 19 states where Bush received less than 50 percent of the vote collected 93 cents on the dollar.
“Voting Republican paid large dividends,” Richardson wrote in a piece published in the Economist’s Voice. “For each 1 percent of the population voting in favor of the Republican presidential candidate, the state received an additional 1.7 cents in benefits for each dollar in taxes.”
Vedantam also gives us the polar opposite examples…Alaska, an über conservative state, gets back $1.64 for every $1 they send to the federal government, while Massachusetts receives 82 cents for every dollar it send to the feds.
My first comment is, if those conservative hypocrites hate government spending so much, than give us our money back. Massachusetts could do so much with an extra 20% boost in the federal dollars we receive. Maybe, single payer universal health care? Or super cheap or free higher public education? Then we’d really be positioned to kick global economic butt.
But Vedantam doesn’t end there. He goes back to before there was this red-state-blue-state spending disparity, to tell us something even more insidious.
During the 1970s and 1980s—throughout the Carter, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush administrations—there was no correlation between anti-spending sentiment and getting lots of federal money. The net return to states that voted for Republicans was relatively flat, meaning that “red” states didn’t get most of the pie.
But that changed around 1994—after the last Republican takeover of Congress. […]
Buried in the fine print of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America,” Richardson found an income redistribution scheme. The proportion of government spending on groups that traditionally supported Democrats fell. The proportion of government income from groups that traditionally supported Democrats rose.
“Tax rates declined more for groups that tended to vote Republican. These groups include people with incomes in the upper tail of the distribution, such as small business owners, property owners, and investors accruing capital gains. … At the same time, expenditures fell more for programs directed toward people that tended to vote Democratic. These groups included welfare recipients, inner-city residents, and individuals in the lower tail of the income distribution.”
In other words, this appears to be a deliberate plan to under-fund the blue states. It’s like the starve-the-beast scenario, only starving blue beasts only. But the explanation for this disparity in which states get more or less funds than they put into the kitty has largely been explained as a progressive income redistribution - richer states subsidizing poorer states who can’t afford adequate funding levels for education, retirement, or social net programs.
The article goes on to dispute that idea, and you can read it yourself, but the point here is, it’s severely hypocritical for conservatives to disparage government spending, since their beloved red states, their base, are the ones who are costing us the most money - being subsidized heavily by those alleged “big liberal spenders.”
Again, if you don’t want our money, please - give it back. Or for heaven’s sake, at least admit the fact that you are a filthy, dirty hypocrite conservative.
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