Friday, August 2, 2013

Red States Are Welfare States. So, What's the Point?

Ted Cruz: He wants to defund Obamacare
because he hates the Texas poor? Maybe.
By and large, Republican-leaning states run deficits with the federal revenue system -- they receive more in federal aid than they give back in federal tax revenue -- when compared to blue states. There are exceptions, like newly bluish New Mexico, where the cost of a high Native-American population comes into play, and DC, where the large black population can't pay the higher tax bills the richer Washingtonians, who live in Maryland and Virginia anyway, might pay.

So what are we looking at? As a basic premise, red states are predominantly Southern states that not only have a high black population but have also had the long-standing tradition of "keeping the Negroes down." I believe that's a huge factor.

Once, when visiting Mobile, Alabama, to meet my then-girlfriend's family, I observed that blacks had a noticeable amount of the low-end jobs and that segregation seemed just as complete as when I lived in the South in the 50s. There were all-white high schools and all-black high schools, etc.

My girlfriend noted that "It's a great waste of talent and labor to keep the blacks down." I hadn't thought of it that way, but it really struck me as making sense. It's not just a tragedy but a colossal blunder. And it demonstrates how the heritage of the Civil War and slavery still haunts the South.

Robert J. Bentley signs tough Alabama anti-immigration law,
which has led to a shortage of workers in agriculture.
Now, that was 25 years ago, and I'm sure things have changed, but I wouldn't be surprised if they haven't changed much. Among other things, notice how the Southern and Sun-Belt states favor voter ID laws that have proven to suppress minority voting. We've still a racially divided country, and it shows up more in the distressed areas of the country, and those areas are all over the South, as well as some Northern and Western cities. Those cities, like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia may have under-performing minority populations, and a form of self-segregation still takes place. But the overall economic dynamism of these great population centers turn them into a net plus, needing less federal aid.

Here's something not anecdotal: Alabama's per capita income is $35,625, while that of the U.S. is $42,693. California's is $44,980, and Massachusetts' is a whopping $54,687.

A huge point is that these states that run a deficit with the federal government by and large share broadly with their constituents a deep distaste for paying taxes. Funny that those who receive the most bitterly oppose the source of their largess. It's not the image that conservatives want to convey. "So what if we get more economic aid than liberal New York or Massachusetts. Shrink the government anyway!"

Which brings us to something I'll discuss in the next post: Chaos in government. But the point can't be made strongly enough that the states who identify the most with white, Christian, gun-owning, conservative folks, and who, let's face it, are suffering a sort of deep-seeded panic that their way of life is slipping from them, are the same states that, on local, state, and federal levels, are working the most in direct conflict with programs and policies that would help them.

Wherever you turn, whether it's Obamacare -- which the Southern, Sun-Belt, and Rust-Belt states could really benefit from -- or fiscal policies that would fund jobs in the hardest hit states, the red states can't help themselves: They're driven to fight hard against any program that would make the first black president, Barack Obama, look good.

And that's a real shame, especially for the states who can least afford this absurd intransigence.

Weird, huh?

Rand Paul: Feds, stay out of Kentucky's business. Kentucky's per capita
income is $35,041, and it ranks 15th out of 50 in receiving federal benefits.

Note. Realize that I'm not saying that African-Americans haven't made great strides over the years or that white Americans in poverty don't make up a good deal of the economic stagnation under which this country suffers. I'm only making the case that these twin problems -- black (and Hispanic) underperformance/lack of opportunity and white poverty -- work in tandem to keep a lot of Southern, Sun-Belt, and Rust-Belt red states in a very special category of wasted opportunity, which costs taxpayers more than conservatives care to admit.

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