Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spreading the Wealth In Fact (Not in Rhetoric)

As if to establish the point that "spreading the wealth" is a matter of measurable, empirical fact and not just a sloppy political jape, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation has compiled a list showing federal spending in each state per dollar paid in federal taxes.

Shock! The top beneficiaries of actual "spreading of the wealth" -- the states that have received back more from the federal government than they've paid in taxes -- are predominantly red. The top ten:

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
Each of these ten went for Bush in 2000 and 2004, except New Mexico, which went narrowly to Gore in 2000. Of these ten, only Virginia and New Mexico are considered in play by both 2008 presidential campaigns (both currently favor Obama in the polls); the other eight are in the solid red column.

John McCain's Arizona ranks #21 on the list, receiving $1.19 back for every dollar it sends to Washington DC. Sarah Palin's fiercely independent Alaska ranks #3 on the list of spread-wealth recipients, receiving $1.84 on the dollar. Country first!

Barack Obama's Illinois comes in at #45, just one slot away from Joe Biden's #44 Delaware. Illinois is a net loser of the wealth-spreading, receiving only 75 cents for every dollar. Delaware gets back 77 cents for every dollar its taxpayers send to Washington.

The elements of the Wide Stance base who are most obsessed with the supposed horrors of "spreading the wealth" would do well to look in a mirror.


Mike said...

I knew South Dakota was a federal mooch; it's nice to see actual numbers.

I may have to check their calculation methods. How much of that results from giving the pentagon a place to keep airplanes
(Ellsworth Air Force base),or federal highway funds to help people drive through on their way to somewhere worthwhile?

Dale said...

That's the beauty of it, Mike -- every dime paid to South Dakota might be for the items you mention and for items even more worthy, but it would not alter the basic fact that all those dimes are wealth that the government has both "spread" and "redistributed" (both words fit). No matter what the money is used for, it began as wealth created (largely) outside of SD, got appropriated by the federal government by its taxing powers, and sent to serve one end or other in SD. Thus does modern-day civilization function.

And please note I am NOT, myself, saying it is a bad thing.

I am pointing out that it is absurd to call it a bad thing without getting very specific about the way the money is spent and from whom it is collected. But the charges of "socialist" and the whining about "spreading the wealth" from McCain-Palin are playing games with the situation. It's one more case where they're either dangerously stupid or attempting to win over the votes of people who are dangerously stupid. The latter is deeply cynical; the former shows they are unfit for office.

Paul said...

God did it, Dale. You should know by now that we are supposed to thank God for every good thing that comes our way while blaming our fellow humans for every bad thing. I myself am in the habit of thanking God (not you) for your blog and blaming you (not God) for the difficulty I've had recently coming up with anything to say on mine. I hope this helps you to see the light.

Dale said...

Paul, of course. Of course! God-did-it remains the foremost thought replacement in the entire inventory and I would be loath to abandon it.

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