Monday, February 13, 2012

The Red States Get the Government Spending, Blue States Pay the Bill

Ever wondered why we need journalism? Read this piece from Eric Black. He provides a useful and intelligent analysis of a very important piece of reporting from yesterdays' New York Times.

"Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It" is an eye-opening feature article from the New York Times. It includes an intriguing interactive map showing region by region breakdown of government spending and taxes paid.

Here's Krugman's commentary on it, with a useful chart.

The point is this: the places and people in the U.S. that oppose government the most are often the places that need it the most and rely on it the most, who take the most from the federal government in subsidies and programs and contracts, in dollars, but pay in the least in taxes.

These Red areas and people oppose the taxes they aren't paying anyway, and oppose the government payments they are receiving more than other bluer, more Democratic areas and people. The areas that pay MORE in tax dollars than they receive in government payouts? Mostly Democratic areas populated by Democrats.

There is something seriously wrong with this picture. And there's something wrong that you don't hear this repeated every time a Republican stands up and hollers about gummint spendin'. All he needs to do is reject it. And if he doesn't it would be less hypocritical if he'd agree to pony up for the government millions he brings to his district. He won't though.

And it's not a new story. Simply underreported. Suppressed you could say. Don't believe the New York Times? Read on.

From Business Insider, reported in 2011.

A tax professor's commentary on the same bizarre red-state paradox, from 2004.

A 2002 paper from the ultra conservative Hoover Institution and Ohio State about The Red State Paradox.

The Washington Post's economist Ezra Klein posted a map of this bizarre but true correlation in 2010.

Data from the Tax Foundation

A 2010 article from SLATE.

You also hear Republicans shouting about the immorality of Democrats. But it's the Red States that have higher measures of the usual moral failures, divorce, teen pregnancy, murder and smut.

From Vox Nova, a Catholic blog, a chart of the correlation between Red States and high divorce, teen pregnancy and pornography rates.

From James Wolcott, a 2006 article on the higher "moral failure" rate in the "ultra-moral" Red States vs. the allegedly immoral Blue States.

It's factual and downright stunning. Especially because Americans in large numbers are angry about something that is not true. Which also shows the power of journalism...or "journalism" in the case of FoxNews, which is a player in the spreading of bad information and the shaping of ignorant opinion.

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