Flip to any news channel in the past three years, and you can almost be certain to see any number of Republican governors, blustering about how Washington spends too much money and how they’d never spend that much money if they were President. It’s a lot of tough talk, really. But is there any truth to it? Well, all of this tough budget talk from Republicans got me thinking about the central: who really benefits from government spending? If you listen to Rush Limbaugh, you might think it was those blue states, packed with damn hippie socialist liberals, sipping their lattes and providing free abortions for bored, horny teenagers.
The truth? Not so fast, Michele Bachmann.
As it turns out, it is red states that are overwhelmingly the Welfare Queen States. Yes, that’s right. Red States — the ones governed by folks who think government is too big and spending needs to be cut — are a net drain on the economy, taking in more federal spending than they pay out in federal taxes. They talk a good game, but stick Blue States with the bill.
Take a look at the difference between federal spending on any given state and the federal taxes received from that state. We measure the difference as a dollar amount: Federal Spending per Dollar of Federal Taxes. A figure of $1.00 means that particular state received as much as it paid in to the federal government. Anything over a dollar means the state received more than it paid; anything less than $1.00 means the state paid more in taxes than it received in services. The higher the figure, the more a given state is a welfare queen.
Of the 20 worst states, 16 are either Republican dominated or conservative states. Let’s go through the top 20.
- New Mexico: $2.03
- Mississippi: $2.02
- Alaska: $1.84
- Louisiana: $1.78
- West Virginia: $1.76
- North Dakota: $1.68
- Alabama: $1.66
- South Dakota: $1.53
- Kentucky: $1.51
- Virginia: $1.51
- Montana: $1.47
- Hawaii: $1.44
- Maine: $1.41
- Arkansas: $1.41
- Oklahoma: $1.36
- South Carolina: $1.35
- Missouri: $1.32
- Maryland: $1.30
- Tennessee: $1.27
- Idaho: $1.21
Does anyone else notice the overwhelming presence of northern “rugged individualist” states, like Alaska, the Dakotas and Montana, along with most of the South? Why it’s almost like there’s a pattern here or something.
Where can we find liberal bastions California, New York, and Massachusetts? California is 43rd, getting back only $0.78 for every dollar it sends to Washington. New York is 42nd, and one penny better off, at $0.79 per dollar. Massachusetts is 40th, receiving $0.82 for every dollar it sends to DC.
Go ahead and bookmark this article. The next time some smarmy teabagger tries to tell you it’s liberals who are ruining the country and spending us into oblivion, kindly point them to the evidence that shows it is GOP states, not Democrat states, who are Welfare Queens. It is GOP states who spend more than they collect in taxes. It is GOP states who are out of balance, nationally.
See if they still want to cut off funding when it means no more socialism for slave states.
You can reach the author by email [email protected] or on twitter @johndthorpe.
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