Biting the hand that feeds you
Or, the surprising story of how blue states subsidize red states
[UPDATE, 2-28-09: Turns out Gov. Jindal's juiciest anti-government anecdote— how he and Sheriff Lee faced down a rescue-preventing bureaucrat during Katrina— wasn't exactly true. See Jindal Admits Katrina Story Was False.]
Anything strike you as odd about the GOP’s choice of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to give the response to President Obama’s speech to Congress?
How about this: Republicans gave the task of making the anti- government pitch to the governor of the state that may well be the leading recipient of federal government largesse.
American taxpayers funded Louisiana’s Katrina recovery, to the tune of something like $300 billion dollars. Yet to hear Gov. Jindal tell it, you’d think Louisianans chose to go it alone. Crediting their admirable “spirit,” he scoffed at the kind of government assistance that flooded his state with cash from the rest of us.
Hang on to that thought for a moment—red state governor pitching self-determination while surviving on barge-loads of federal cash—and back up to 2005.
I have in front of me the latest report from the Tax Foundation showing how much each state gets back … for every dollar of taxes paid. And it shows that … the anti-government red states are the net winners in the flow of funds while the pro-government blue states are almost all losers.
Among the biggest winners in 2003, for example, were New Mexico, at $1.99 for every tax dollar paid, followed closely by Alaska, Mississippi, North and South Dakota, Alabama and Montana — the “red-ink states,” as Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group calls them. The biggest loser was New Jersey, at 57 cents per dollar paid, followed by blue states Connecticut, New York, California, Massachusetts and Illinois. [...]
[W]e now have a new red-state political majority comprising voters who, while professing distrust of government and disdain for the values of the blue-state minority [...] rely on Washington and blue-state wealth to keep them in the style to which they have become accustomed. [...]
“Ah,” you say, “A strange twist of fate. But it’s a new day. You can bet the Democrats wouldn’t allow money to flow to Republican states.”
The White House released updated state-by-state and district-by-district projections for job creation today, and the average number of jobs projected over the next two years to be created by the bill in Republican-held districts exceeds those of Democratic- held districts by 418 jobs per district, 8,185 to 7,767. [...]
[T]here are only 25 Republican-held districts projected to receive under 7,500 jobs out of 177 districts (14.1%), and 94 Democratic- held districts out of 257 in the same category (36.6%). [...]
Voters who, by and large, supported Republican representatives who goose-egged the bill in two separate passes may wind up with more economic stimulus, by a small but distinct margin.
“It’s a projection reminiscent,” he writes, “of statistics that show R-voting red states suckling at the subsidizing teat of D-voting blue states.” (I wish I’d thought up that metaphor!)
Back to Gov. Jindal.
Yes, Louisianans have admirable “spirit.” And I’m glad for every penny that we together have invested in rebuilding the Gulf Coast.
But why isn’t he saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” to Americans for what we did for his state through our federal government, rather than criticizing that which made recovery conceivable?
And why not so from red states generally?
Tags: red+states, blue+states, Jindal+speech, Jindal+response, small+government, federal+subsidy, Katrina, Louisiana, Gulf+Coast, federal+spending, blue+states+subsidize+red+states, tax+foundation, anti-government, disaster+relief, Monte Asbury
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- ‘We will rebuild and emerge stronger’ (guardian.co.uk)