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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Red States Operate on the Blue States' Dime

Beggar's cupLet's get right to the point. The five poorest states in the nation are Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Kentucky. The five wealthiest states are Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland. Those are the numbers from the US Census and they tell us a lot about the partisan divide in America. Of the five pooorest states in the union, five are Red States that went for McCain in 2008. On the other hand, of the five wealthiest states, all five voted for Obama -- see for yourself. In other words, the anti-tax, screw-the-poor, federal-government-isn't-the-answer crowd comes mainly from the poorest states and are, therefore, among the most lightly taxed. They're the ones who seem mostly likely to benefit from federal government money. In terms of federal taxes spent in their states, Mississippi gets 202% of every dollar they pay, West Virginia get 176%, Arkansas gets 141%, South Carolina gets 135%, and Kentucky gets 151%. The only state in the five wealthiest that receives more than they pay out is Maryland, at 130%. People marching around in angry little circles with signs showing President Obama with a Hitler moustache haven't been paying their fair share. Kind of makes their concerns about the deficit a little hard to take, doesn't it?

If you want an example of socialism, there ya go. Republican voters are runaway socialists. Except the poverty of Redstatistan suggests that this socialism isn't exactly benefiting proletariat. In fact, they're getting worse.

Crooks and Liars:

Throughout their all-out campaign to stop health care reform, Republican leaders have relied on questionable forecasts from the Lewin Group, a subsidiary of insurer UnitedHealth Group. Now, another study funded by UnitedHealth has some unwelcome news for the GOP braintrust: the red states they represent are the unhealthiest in the nation. Following on the heels of the Commonwealth Fund's 2009 Scorecard of state health care system performance, the United Health Foundation's report is just the latest confirmation that health care is worst where Republicans poll best.

No wonder these people think government doesn't work -- their state governments are blowful. It's tempting to say that Republican voters get the governments they deserve, but the truth is that this is costing us all. We're reimbursing Mississippi for their tax dollars at a rate of better than 2:1 and not many -- certainly not you, not me, not the vast majority of people in Mississippi -- are getting much out of that investment.

But, of course, this is just another example of Republican voters being chumps. In Red States, money is pouring in, but it doesn't seem to be helping the general populace all that much. If the lower economic tier isn't any better off after this big federal money grab, the process of elimination dictates who the winners are here. Yet these people grab signs and throw tea tantrums in defense of the very people standing between them and their share of returning tax dollars. As I said -- chumps.

This used to be easier to explain; the religious right had turned populism into an almost entirely religious campaign. Republicans didn't talk about taxes on the campaign trail as much as they talked about abortion. Sure, taxes were part of it, but the real hook was always the three Gs -- God, gays, and guns. And these voters would elect these people over and over, never seeming to notice that these religiously-based problems never seemed to be solved. Every election year, abortion was just as rampant, gays were always on the verge of getting married or taking over schools, and the Democrats were just seconds away from snatching up everyone's guns. Meanwhile, everything that actually should've mattered to them got worse. Bridges crumbled, schools got worse, jobs kept leaving... True to the cliche, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.

But now things have changed a bit. The religious right still figures into the Republican coalition, but it's become secondary to the teabaggers. It's easy to dismiss the teabaggers' cluelessness over just how badly they're getting screwed by saying they're irrational crackpots... Mostly because they are irrational crackpots. But that can't be it, can it?

To a certain degree, yeah, it can be. These people are partisan without actually understanding the issues. People who lump communism, socialism, and fascism together as if they're all just different names for the same thing don't really have the greatest command of the facts. People who watch Glenn Beck and say, "Y'know, that guy makes a lot of sense," aren't exactly masters of logic. If you need an explanation of why these people practically begged to be screwed by their elected officials, you can probably stop with this explanation; the right is their team and the left isn't, so go team!

But these people aren't exactly loyal to the Republican Party. The GOP isn't far enough right for them. After years and years and years of being told that Republican ideas work, maybe they've begun to believe it. Government doesn't work because it isn't far enough to the right -- in every situation where government fails, this is the reason. It's Bush reasoning all over again; if something isn't working, it can only be because you aren't doing enough of it. So, if you're sicker than everyone else, it's because corporations are regulated. If you're poorer than everyone else, it's because rich people are taxed to the point that they can't afford to pay decent wages.

Never mind that Redstatistan can look at Bluestatistan and see that all their ideas don't actually work. They won't look because they aren't interested (go team!). You have to actually try to be this ignorant, this level of being misinformed takes an actual effort, and Republican voters are more than happy to do that work.

Meanwhile, we wind up doing all the real work for them.


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M said...

This is phenomenal insight and presentation.

I'd like to see the right wing media spin this.

I'd like to see you explaining the significance and relevance of this post to right wing media.

For the love of perspective, somebody should.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see you explaining the significance and relevance of this post to right wing media.

You can show these people facts until the cows come home, and it will not change their minds. That has been my experience. Cold hard facts are waved off as "liberal media elite" lies. They wear their ignorance on their sleeves and they're damned proud of it.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in both red and blue states. Mid-west and east coast. I noticed blue state blue collar workers are miserable old union hacks making good wages, yet getting taxed and fined for every damn thing they do.

People in red states, for the most part just want to be left alone. These guys out here will take the government dime if your going to offer it, who wouldnt. But they are happy, they work hard, they farm they enjoy life.

The people on the east coast just plain suck.