I saw the picture below yesterday. (I apologize that I can’t find the link to the article, but I saw it on The Economist. If I find it, I’ll link to it.) It shows the differential between federal taxes paid and federal spending within each state. The green shades represent more paid in federal taxes than the state received in federal spending. Shades of red represent states that received more in federal spending than their residents paid in federal taxes. That by itself makes it an interesting graphic. I have enhanced the chart by overlaying it with the 2008 election results. States shown with a “O” went for Obama; those without designation went for McCain.
What you notice is that most of the states shaded in green (the “Givers”) went for Obama. Voters in states that pay more into the federal government than they receive voted for a guy that some caricature (then and now) as a “socialist” and “redistributionist”–their words not mine. Said another way, those people who already have wealth redistributed away from them and toward those in other states voted against a guy that professed to want to reduce the size of the federal government and cut their tax bills. Of the 22 green states, only four (Texas, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Georgia) voted for McCain, the professed tax-cutter and government-shrinker.
On the other side of the ledger are those states that are the Takers; those that get more from the federal government than they send in. These guys are already not paying their own way and benefit from the largess of the federal government. There are 28 states than get more than they give. Of those, 18 of them voted for the Republican nominee.
Is this not biting the hand that feeds? If those states want the government to be smaller, I can think of 18 places to reduce the federal budget. But until you start paying your own way, don’t you owe it to those that are paying the bills to at least shut up? This is like having your teenager tell you that the family wastes too much money dining out but then asks for money to go out for pizza with his friends.
As with many things, ’twas ever thus.