Big Government Subsidizing Low Tax Red States

Here is an issue I’ve known about for years. The mapping of the data really gets me thinking, despite my have thought about it many times before.

New Study Confirms Red States Take More From The Federal Government Than Blue States

States in green or closer to green on the map above are less dependent on the federal government. States in red or closer to red on the map above are more dependent on the federal government.

So, what does this map show? It’s how much states receive in federal funding in ratio to how much they give in federal taxes. This isn’t new data, but the paper it is based on is a new assessment of the data.

I don’t want to write a long piece about this. It just is mind-blowing the difference between rhetoric and reality. States that preach small government and low taxes manage to implement such policies by being subsidized by the other states.

Many things could be said about this. One can point out the divide between blue and red states. Or one could point out the divide, in the Eastern half of the country, between the historical Civil War boundary, especially the stark contrast seen with the South. But I just don’t know. There are all kinds of factors to be considered.

I look at this map and it makes me wonder about what it means. It throws a wrench into the entire works of the mainstream frame of big versus small government. A deeper discussion about the data would be worthwhile, I’m sure. And, for damn sure, I’d like to see more and better public debate about it all across the media.

15 thoughts on “Big Government Subsidizing Low Tax Red States

  1. I can give one simple answer: military bases and contractors are in the South and have been sines the civil war. Second answer, the farm bill. Although Georgia used to be dead even in and out in take in 2010. And yes, I would like to see more about it too, I see liberals from New England mention it all the time, but they don’t mention why it is, but any cursory look at the location of farm subsidies and military bases would make it very clear.

    • I have heard that explanation about military bases. It definitely plays a role. Farm subsidies is an interesting angle. I’ll have to give that one some more thought and research.

      I sometimes stop and contemplate the data without coming to any conclusions. I know many possible explanations, but just looking at the map made me want to think more deeply and get past the normal politics of it. It’s just an odd thing to look at, the flow of money and what it represents.

  2. But if you know what it goes for, you would realize that only part of it is subsidizing those states in a way that benefits the population of those states, which is perhaps why they do not see the benefits of the federal government in the first place.

    • Ah, yes. It isn’t just that the money is flowing and where, but specifically where. I don’t know if it really even is an issue to be understood at the state level, rather at the level of those pulling the levers that control where the flow goes. But who is pulling the levers and why? What is the game being played, what are the rules, and who is winning?

      • Not in graphic form. I used to look at the numbers for Ga, Alabama, and Wyoming. Wyoming is an outlier because MOST of the land is federal reserve for either wild life or resources.

    • Here is the breakdown I’d like to see.

      First, I’d want it separated into all the categories of spending. Which states get the most funding for military bases and defense contractors? Which for farm subsidies? Which for welfare? Which for infrastructure? Et cetera.

      Second, I’d like to see how the costs of each of these apply to the state level in a number of ways. What is the total spending for each category for each state? What is the per capita spending? And how does that relate to taxes each state brings in? Maybe also how does that federal funding get distributed in each state, broadly or narrowly?

      As a possible third, it could be helpful to throw in an analysis of natural resources on public land, especially on the federal level. Some states have more federal and and natural resources found there. How does that wealth get distributed? So much of these natural resources get sold at below market value. Where is that wealth going that is essentially being stolen from the public? Which state economies are being boosted the most by this theft from the commons?

      Also, how does that relate to subsidies and tax breaks given to the same companies that profit from this resource procurement? Or companies that profit from any other category of federal funding and policy? Which are the states that have companies that overall benefit the most from federal subsides, tax breaks, etc?

      These are the type of things that never get discussed or reported on in the mainstream. Heck, I’d have a hard time even findng this kind of detailed analysis in the alternative media. Why is that? We can’t be the only two people who have discussed this and wondered about it.

    • People are always going on about redistribution of wealth. But I doubt most have a clue what they’re talking about.

      Redistribution of what kind of wealth? Redistribution from who and from where? Redistribution to whom and to where? When people complain about redistribution, are they actually saying what they mean or do they really mean they wish that got more of the redistribution?

      Those in states that get a lot of federal funding, the average person isn’t benefiting from it. If those people not benefiting want to complain about big government redistribution and welfare queens, they should first criticize their own local government and plutocrats who are pushing for this redistribution for their own benefit.

      If we simply got market rate profits from all the natural resources sold from public lands, there would be more than enough money to fund all the public schools, universal healthcare, infrastructure building/repairs, a strong social safety net, and on and on. Why does this particular egregious wealth redistribution get the least discussed?

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