The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Biting the hand that feeds you

with 21 comments

Or, the surprising story of how blue states subsidize red states

{{w|Bobby Jindal}}, member of the United State...

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[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.

Here’s columnist Steven Pearlstein writing in the Washington Post on the day before Pres. Bush’s second inauguration:

Tax Foundation

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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.”

Look at Sean Quinn’s analysis (at of the recent stimulus bill :

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?

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Written by Monte

February 25, 2009 at 1:50 pm

21 Responses

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  1. I think you’re kidding yourself, theo. If I pay my water bill, they have my money. I don’t have to know what they do with it.

    If, for some reason, someone wanted to say that they didn’t have my money even tho’ I had the receipt, I’d expect them to offer sound evidence that that which seemed obvious wasn’t so.

    See, theo, it doesn’t do any good to whack on how stupid liberals are or how you feel the feds control the states – those are opinions, rants – and they are certainly not evidence that contributes to logical discussion; rather, they get in the way of it.

    I saw data. Red states got more federal spending per person than blue states did. If you want to dispute that, fine, but the burden of proof is yours, not mine, for you’re the one disputing the evidence. Laying it on me, along with scattered insults and cheap shots about the character of this group or that, is hardly progress toward logic.

    So, no more insults here. If you have evidence to bring in thoughtful disagreement, fine. If you’d rather not, fine. But please don’t load up my blog with more insisting I ought to do X or Y or else I’m a typical liberal who hates facts. That’s manipulation, not dialogue, and it’s a boundary crossed several times too many already.


    March 16, 2009 at 7:34 pm

  2. Sorry – should have pointed out that you have a nice little hypothesis, but it doesn’t prove anything – not even a little, itsy-bitsy point, because you are engaging in multiple logical fallacies.

    In order to avoid the logical fallacies, you need to answer the above questions (among others). Until then, you’re engaging in the “lies, damn lies, and statistics” and neither proving a point, nor demonstrating anything but the fact that liberalism is all about emotions and surface-level facts.


    March 16, 2009 at 6:13 pm

  3. Sigh. Liberals are people who never liked logic.

    What makes you think that the money doesn’t come back out again?

    Where does this money go? “Red states” isn’t enough.

    Why does it go there?


    March 16, 2009 at 6:11 pm

  4. And regarding the auto industry, it’s surely doing no better in Texas than it is in Michigan. And it’s surely no secret that the Big 3 have been abysmally mismanaged – that America is insisting they be held accountable before getting money is on the news night after night. Toyota ate their lunch in product design.
    Now if you took $3,000 off the sticker price of every car, you might have a salable product. Guess what? $3,000 of every car’s sticker price goes to benefits. And they have to try to sell them against cars made in countries where workers already have those benefits, so the foreign manufacturer starts out with a $3,000 advantage.
    So, OK, liberal policies are partly to blame for the demise of the US auto industry – the liberal policies of other countries where people take care of each other and don’t force manufacturers to choose between their employees’ health and selling their products at a competitive price.


    March 16, 2009 at 3:50 pm

  5. Ah, Theo, you’re all in a bundle here over arguments of your own making.
    I suggested no causation, merely an observation of data:
    They receive the money.

    That they “need and want” it, is, again, beyond the scope of the observation:
    They receive the money.

    You’re welcome to puzzle out the details of who, where, when, if you like. It would probably be interesting. But that doesn’t negate the fact that money flows from blue states to red.
    They receive the money.

    What am I talking about?
    That they receive the money.

    And the who, where, and when don’t change that.
    They receive the money.

    Money goes in and it doesn’t come back out again. Is “Did they use it?” a serious question?


    March 16, 2009 at 3:27 pm

  6. You’re implying that the politicians and/or the majority of the voters of those states “need and use” the funding, yet you have consistently failed to offer any evidence of that.

    (Shakes head.) Again, correlation does not equal causation.

    Who is getting the money? Who asked for it? How do those people vote? Are the governors who refuse the money correct in thinking that refusing a short-term gain is much, much more helpful than taking the short-term help with bad long-term consequences?

    Oh, wait, that involves actual analysis, and might not yield the results you want. :)

    By the way, a true mea culpa: I’ve done the conservative movement a good deal of harm by not pointing out the egregious harm that has come to Michigan and Detroit after years of liberal policies. Did you know that you can buy a house in Detroit for $7,500? Has something to do with most of the businesses moving to non-union states, like Texas, where they can make a product that competes on the market.


    March 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm

  7. Well, now, theo, look again. I didn’t say – or even imply – most of those things. I’m not a liberal, by many definitions, and I was not a Clinton supporter.

    Back to the point, which is rather simple: Red states, whose elected officials more commonly oppose government spending, generally draw more government money per person over taxes paid than do blue states.

    I don’t begrudge red states needing the money for whatever their situation might be. But it seems a bit less than ethical for politicians to so bitterly oppose that which they so clearly need and use.


    March 8, 2009 at 11:00 pm

  8. Was going to write more, but I think I’ve said enough. You pick and choose your states; hard left states with wealthy people (DC, Cali) that fail in their schools are excused, while states without as many resources are castigated. You ignore the pernicious effects of welfare, race, and the difficulty in growing an industrial base in parts of the country that typically lacked such, and, even more amusingly, ignore the fact that the South is NOT dominated by conservative thought for the aeons you think it has.

    Oh, you ignore people like Barney Frank, William Jefferson Clinton, and Jimmy Carter when discussing the housing crisis, even though they were the architects of it. John McCain blew the whistle back in 2005, but your liberal boys who ran the Housing committee didn’t want to hear about it. So we took the blame.

    You ignore the fact that conservative principles are against earmarks – which is why you have people like John McCain in the (R) side – and just prefer an amateur analysis that purports to connect the majority of voters in presidential elections in each state with gov’t assistance. You ignore the basic fact that correlation does not equal causation, and strumpet your views – since they bash conservatives – without an iota of proof of some causation between voting Republican and getting more gov’t funds. In fact, you don’t even break it down by WHO gets the funds.

    I should have just seen that you’re a liberal who has it in for conservatives, and known that things like logic, math, and facts would only piss you off. Hey, it’s not my party that’s never going to win another Presidential election for the next 30 years!


    March 8, 2009 at 2:03 am

  9. Second, Sen. DeMint yesterday bashed DC school students as likely dropouts and gang-bangers. But it turns out that DC schools graduate almost 70% of their (mostly black) students, while DeMint’s S.Carolina struggles to reach 56%.

    At two or three times the cost.

    Monte says: 56% graduation on the cheap is better than 70% for more money?


    March 8, 2009 at 1:38 am

  10. California, Theo, is the only one of the bottom five or six that is not a red state. It’s the exception.

    Second, Sen. DeMint yesterday bashed DC school students as likely dropouts and gang-bangers. But it turns out that DC schools graduate almost 70% of their (mostly black) students, while DeMint’s S.Carolina struggles to reach 56%.

    Every state has inherited problems. In the southern red states conservative rich white people have largely been in control since Jim Crow. Conservatism has been in the driver’s seat for a hundred years, and has proven an abject failure at spreading prosperity and education into its region, other than to those who’ve always had them.

    The conservative argument is normally that the ghosts of the past are insufficient to explain why people of color are still poor, sick, and poorly educated, preferring to blame individuals themselves. I find it a little ironic that when it comes to government failure, you choose to excuse conservatives on the basis of what they inherited, rather than on their performance and individual initiative.


    March 7, 2009 at 12:49 pm

  11. Liberal policies in schools?

    You mean:

    No Child Left Behind (and yes I know the Democrats got on board on that one, morons)?

    Abstinence Only-Education?


    12 years controlling the WH from 1980 to 1992 and then 12 years of controlling the Congress from 1994-2006 oh and 8 years of Republican rule in the WH with at least 6 of those years with majorities in Congress and the Courts as well?


    March 1, 2009 at 12:32 pm

  12. Monte,

    I’ll argue, whenever facts are presented. Last I heard, California – not Mississippi or Alabama – had the worst primary and secondary education in the country. DC – a region that went 93% for Obama – is the worst if it is included with states, despite the fact that it has higher per-pupil spending than any other area of the country.

    Bad educational outcomes are also common in purple states like Florida (ranked for several years at the bottom of the nation), West Virginia, and Kentucky. The correlation – California excepted – is not between conservatism and bad educational outcomes, but rather between poverty, race, and education. There is a rather famous map of the 2008 election, in which it was found that the areas that went largely Democrat in the South were almost a perfect mapping of mid-19th century plantations. What you are seeing is the modern effects of racial segregation, discrimination, and slavery. A bit rich to blame 21st century conservative ideals for things that started long before any of us were born.

    On that note, it’s not really fair to compare rural Mississippi with, say, Connecticut. To be very blunt: African-Americans do not have the same educational achievement that Asians and whites do. Hispanics are usually smack dab in the middle of whites and blacks in their achievement. When you start complaining about how Mississippi and Alabama aren’t doing well, despite Republican policies, you’re missing the fact that it would be a hell of a lot harder to succeed in those states than in any other state, conservative or liberal policy be damned.

    Finally, you’re forgetting that we no longer live in a country in which states have the final say. When the Feds mandate Medicaid, welfare, a host of other social services, and the unions have a stranglehold on the public education system, no state-level conservative policy can override that. When those policies invariably produce more harm than good, conservatives end up getting the blame, because we’re running a lot of the states with those issues.

    Put the blame where it belongs: on liberal policies.


    February 28, 2009 at 6:46 pm

  13. I never watched West Wing much, but the more quotes I hear from it, the more on top of things I think their writers must have been. That’s a remarkable piece of political understanding, far advanced for its moment!
    Thanks, Steve – excellent illustration!


    February 28, 2009 at 11:42 am

  14. Reminds me of the debate in West Wing season 4, Bartlett’s up against a good-ol-boy floridian doing the standard tax-and-small-government schpiel. Bartlett gets his turn and ends with:

    “You think states should do the governing wall-to-wall. That’s a perfectly valid opinion. But your state of Florida got $12.6 billion in federal money last year — from Nebraskans, and Virginians, and New Yorkers, and Alaskans, with their Eskimo poetry. 12-point-6 out of a state budget of 50 billion dollars; and I’m supposed to be using this time for a question, so here it is:

    Can we have it back, please?”

    Josh, watching on a monitor, pumps his fist and says, “Game on!”

    Steve Roth

    February 28, 2009 at 11:04 am

  15. BTW, it also means that there are more people per capita in those states in need of money, which begs the question why is that?

    Also, again, just because you are the mother of five doesn’t make you a better candidate than a single person, nor Ive-League education, as the last 8 years have shown. Again, it seems that some are deliberately confusing valid criticism with “trashing”.

    And it was and is the country that has an African-American President. It takes more than just “liberals” to elect anyone to the office.

    Monte Says: And by a long shot! Trying to pin criticism of Jindal on Democrats certainly turns a deaf ear to the scorching that Republicans gave him. David Brooks called his make-government-smaller pitch “nihilism.” Seems like there’s a game of “pretend” going on: Right-wing Republicans must believe that Americans just haven’t heard their message, so they send more people saying the same thing, hoping this time …, ignoring the fact that America heard it all and quite consciously voted it down.


    February 26, 2009 at 10:17 am

  16. So criticism is “cruxification”?

    Monte Says: Hardly, eh? I discovered while preaching years ago (to my embarrassment) that the weaker my case, the more exaggerated the words I used to insist it were true.
    Thanks for coming by – you are much admired here!


    February 26, 2009 at 10:13 am

  17. good post! We all thought Jindal was an odd choice, too. Glad to see the stats!

    Monte Says: Thanks, Lynne, for the encouragement!


    February 26, 2009 at 8:32 am

  18. What is it that Mark Twain said about lies and statistics?

    Let’s be honest about the “subsidies” that red states get. Many of them are for things which actually (or in theory, at least) benefit all states: highway funds (for the flyover/interstate trucking states), military bases, farm funding, anything dealing with commerce along the Mississippi, national forest money, etc. Yes, you can say that the federal money went to that state, and, proportionally, the state’s X number of people got a certain amount per individual, but that’s the wrong analysis.

    Don’t forget: a huge portion of many red states, like Alaska, are owned and controlled by the federal government, for the good of the entire country. It’s the environmentalists in the blue states who want everyone in red states to have cactus preserves and polar bear ranges.

    Finally, look at the people and groups who get the money. As I pointed out above, a lot of the federal funds go for things that benefit the entire country. A lot of other federal funds go to the liberals in those states – i.e. welfare. (Don’t forget: the welfare classes vote D. Strongly.) Even though the majority of the state is red, a blue-voting minority often receives a lot of welfare.

    So yes, lies, d-mn lies, and statistics. Keep trashing the Ivy-League educated minority man, the same way that you trashed the mom of five who is a governor. Name of the game: search and destroy all those who aren’t white males and have the audacity to voice a conservative opinion.

    Monte Says: Theo, I’m glad for your comment. Thanks for coming by.

    Alabama and Mississippi are two of the highest recipients of federal money, and traditionally Republican states. If, as you suggest, they have a high percentage of welfare recipients, why is that? Why have Republican leaders failed to move Mississippi out of 50th place educationally? Why have conservative policies failed so dramatically to bring prosperity to their state?

    Second, I wonder why you think that I “trash” “all those who aren’t white males” who are conservatives. Do you really think disagreeing with Gov. Jindal is the same as trashing him?

    By contrast, suggesting that I am a racist and a sexist is qualitatively different. That’s trashing, friend. That’s how hatred gets stirred up, and I hope you’re not making such accusations frequently. They’re bad for America, they weaken your argument, and they degrade anyone who puts them out – right or left.


    February 26, 2009 at 2:28 am

  19. Jindal for President 2012. You liberals are so strange. You have your African-American as your President now. But now, you have the GOP, which now has a minority as a front-runner for the nomination for President, and now you are trying to crucify this man. This is why I can’t stand liberals.

    Monte says: Debbie, thanks for your comment. I certainly don’t want to be crucifying anyone. Can you show me what you think is unfair?


    February 25, 2009 at 9:03 pm

  20. Preach it, brother; preach it! I cannot believe the response Jindal gave, but I am glad to see it being roundly criticized by both Democrats and Republicans.

    Monte Says: Thanks, old friend! The criticism from so many quarters does indeed appear to be undertaken in the finest spirit of bipartisanship!

    Tom Lippert

    February 25, 2009 at 8:43 pm

  21. […] Posted by honestpoet on February 25, 2009 My dear Monte (you’ll find him in the blogroll under Christians Worth Knowing) made this excellent post. […]

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