red state, blue state, welfare state, subsidizing state

So I just read something on CNN by Paul Begala, effectively saying, “Hey Republicans: Don’t like the Stimulus, Don’t take the money!” It’s partisan punditry, and not that enlightening. But Begala did inspire me to look into what states receive net gains from Federal Tax dollars, and what states are net losers. Not surprisingly, blue states tend lose out in the deal. With one exception, Red states gain big (I divide states by how they voted for Obama; not a great metric, but not a terrible one). A visual representation of this is after the break. What we basically see is that only one Red State pays in more than its share (Texas). Clearly, as Begala jests, Red States are big welfare states. Now I don’t object to this, because they happen to be poorer states. And I believe in wealth redistribution. But why do states that have a net gain from the Federal government vote against a party that wants to continue to support then, and why do states that lose out in the deal continue to support a party that wants to take money away from their local communities? I should ask my colleague, Andrew Gelman.

Per Federal Tax Dollar Paid, How Many do states get back? (From Tax Foundation)

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
Arizona  $1.19
Kansas  $1.12
Wyoming  $1.11

Iowa  $1.10
Nebraska  $1.10
Vermont  $1.08
North Carolina  $1.08
Pennsylvania  $1.07

Utah  $1.07  29
Indiana  $1.05
Ohio  $1.05

Georgia  $1.01
Rhode Island  $1.00
Florida  $0.97

Texas  $0.94
Oregon  $0.93
Michigan  $0.92
Washington  $0.88
Wisconsin  $0.86
Massachusetts  $0.82
Colorado  $0.81
New York  $0.79
California  $0.78
Delaware  $0.77
Illinois  $0.75
Minnesota  $0.72
New Hampshire  $0.71
Connecticut  $0.69
Nevada  $0.65
New Jersey  $0.61

8 thoughts on “red state, blue state, welfare state, subsidizing state”

  1. One piece of this, though I doubt the main one, is that undocumented immigrants pay taxes that they don’t see the benefits of (e.g., Social Security). Could be a factor for Texas?


  2. I honestly don’t know. That definitely could be. I also think it’s that Houston and Dallas are major financial centers. And oil. All that equals lots of money going out in tax dollars.


  3. The subsidized states are generally low population states, often dependent on agriculture and the military. The ag subsidies are probably why North Dakota is up there, the military budget is skewed to southern states where there are bases galore. Why?
    Because those states have played the DC game so well, keeping the same Senators for decades so they became chairmen of the right committees and steered the money back home. Ultimately, all of this is the result of the weird, non-democratic method of producing the American “upper house”– the Senate.
    When one Wyomingian is worth 70 Californians, or 38 New Yorkers, then you know this isn’t a democracy.
    Alaska– well, former Senator Ted Stevens was famous as a Republican Super-pork accumulator. And that’s what’s so hilarious right now about the GOP– which is a porky a party as ever there was. They’re standing up there and denouncing all that
    pork spending that they were sending home until last November!


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