top of page

Time To Throw The Bums Out?

I guess at the time-- when the conservative slave states wanted to break away-- holding the union together was a good idea. And giving them another chance, instead of hanging all the leaders, might have been a decent idea too. But now, the burden of supporting the reactionary beggar states is not especially defensible and it may be time to begin to look seriously at letting them go their own way. They are undemocratic, politically and socially backward, and filled with lazy, entitled, uneducated, superstitious people. They want to go? Let them. In fact, maybe we should encourage and incentivize them to go. America doesn't need them and they're holding us back as a nation.

Rump states South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho and West Virginia have fewer people, combined, than Massachusetts (less than 6 million people vs over 7 million people). Residents of Massachusetts are hard-working, educated and product and support these lazy, worthless right-wing domestic terrorists. The 5 of them together have 10 senators to Massachusetts' 2, an outrageous, anti-democratic relic from another day with very different problems.

Of the dozen most federally-dependent states, 10 are hopelessly red, one, Arizona, is a recovering swing state and one, New Mexico, is blue, its financial dependency on the federal government due primarily to the unjust way Native Americans on reservations have been oppressed for 2 centuries. These are the state governments most dependent on federal taxes paid by other, non-free-loader, states-- from bad to worst:

  • West Virginia

  • Indiana

  • Missouri

  • Tennessee

  • Kentucky

  • Arizona

  • New Mexico

  • Wyoming

  • Alaska

  • Mississippi

  • Montana

  • Louisiana

Just over a year ago, Laura Schultz, Director of Fiscal Analysis and Senior Economist, Rockefeller Institute of Government, writing for US News and World Review reported that "When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, expressed reluctance to fund coronavirus relief for hard-hit cities and states, suggesting they would be "blue state bailouts," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had a quick retort. 'We put into that pot $116 billion more than we take out,' Cuomo said. 'Kentucky takes out $148 billion more than they put in.… Senator McConnell, who's getting bailed out here?' The debate sparked a furor on social media and has generated a great deal of discussion about a report published by my team at the Rockefeller Institute of Government, the public policy research arm of the State University of New York System. The annual report tracks federal revenue and spending in each of the states, showing which states send more to the federal government than they receive.

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Minnesota and Colorado all pay in-- in that order-- much more than they take out of the system. They are paying for the states that are heavily on the government dole: Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Alabama.

The majority of the money flowing into federal coffers comes from taxes paid by state residents and businesses.
About 90% of federal revenue comes from individuals' income taxes and payroll taxes for social security, Medicare and unemployment insurance. Corporate income taxes and excise taxes represent the rest.
When money flows back out of the federal government as federal spending, it's through four channels: The first and largest is direct payments to individuals through programs such as Social Security and Medicare. The second largest are grants to state and local governments to fund programs such as Medicaid, highway spending, education, and other social safety net programs. The final two are contracts and federal wages, which are distributed more heavily to areas where the federal government is a major employer.
The difference is known as the balance of payments.
A positive balance of payments means the state's residents, businesses and municipalities receive more in federal government spending than they pay in taxes. Our report refers to these states as the "getters."
On the other end are "giver" states whose residents and businesses pay more in taxes than the state receives in federal spending.
Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a New York Democrat, introduced the balance of payments calculation in 1977 to demonstrate that his state was being shortchanged in federal spending.
Two years earlier, President Gerald Ford had threatened to reject federal funding to help New York City stem a financial crisis, inspiring the famous newspaper headline: "Ford to City: Drop Dead." He later signed legislation approving federal loans, which the city paid back with interest.
...The biggest givers in our latest report, based on 2018 data, were New York, which paid in US$22 billion more than it received; New Jersey, which paid $12 billion more;Massachusetts, which paid $9 billion more; and Connecticut, which paid $8 billion more than it received.
Combined, these states paid over $50 billion more in taxes than they received in federal spending. For each dollar workers and businesses paid in taxes, the states got an average of 90 cents back. (When Cuomo cited the differences between New York and Kentucky, he was looking at four years of data.)
That negative balance of payments in the Northeast is driven by the large concentration of high-income residents.
The U.S. has a progressive income tax structure, and individuals in these state have a higher income-tax burden. As a result, the revenue side of the states' balance of payments calculation is higher than the spending side.
The getters can be broken down into two categories: those with both high incomes and high levels of federal spending, and those with low incomes and high federal spending.
Virginia and Maryland are two high-income states with higher than average per capita tax burdens, but they also receive high levels of federal funding because they are adjacent to Washington, D.C. and benefit from contract spending and federal worker wages.
The low-income states that receive a lot of federal spending per person are primarily in the Southeast and include Kentucky, West Virginia, Mississippi and Alabama.
With lower-than-average income levels, residents in these states contribute less through income taxes. They also receive higher-than-average levels of spending from programs such as Social Security, Medicare, social assistance grants and contracts.

I had dinner last night-- vegan Ethiopian-- with an old friend who is also one of the best known cognitive neurologists in the world. I wound up complaining to him about how there's no way to correlate IQ with propensity towards fascism (or support for Trump and his party). We kicked it around for a while and he agreed there really is no way to do it reliably, although he suggested for a very, very rough estimate I contrast the percentage of college graduates in a state with the percentage of Trump voters in that state. These are the 15 states with the highest percentages of graduates of 4-year colleges (and their 2020 Trump percentages). One caveat: I've known plenty of people who didn't go to college who are very intelligent and plenty who did go to college when seem pretty stupid. But I never met a Trump voter with any intelligence (although I've heard from reliable sources that are a few here and there.

  1. Massachusetts- 44%

  2. Colorado- 41%

  3. New Jersey- 40%

  4. Maryland- 40%

  5. Connecticut- 39%

  6. Virginia- 39%

  7. Vermont- 38%

  8. New York- 37%

  9. New Hampshire- 37%

  10. Washington- 36%

  11. Minnesota- 36%

  12. Illinois- 35%

  13. California- 34%

  14. Oregon- 34%

  15. Rhode Island- 34%

And these are the 15 states with the lowest percentages of graduates of 4-year colleges (and their 2020 Trump percentages).

  1. Idaho- 28%

  2. Ohio- 28%

  3. South Carolina- 28%

  4. New Mexico- 27%

  5. Indiana- 27%

  6. Tennessee- 27%

  7. Wyoming- 27%

  8. Alabama- 26%

  9. Oklahoma- 26%

  10. Nevada- 25%

  11. Kentucky- 24%

  12. Louisiana- 24%

  13. Arkansas- 23%

  14. Mississippi- 22%

  15. West Virginia- 21%

Now, keep in mind that this is a really crude way to draw any conclusions. For example, Wyoming is extremely red and very uneducated. A greater percentage of voters in Wyoming were taken in by Trump than in any other state; 69.94% voted for him, many of them extremely low intelligence voters. But in the most highly educated county in the state, Teton County, the landslide was reversed. Trump only managed to pull a meager 29.6% of the vote in the county to Biden's robust 67.1%. So even in Wyoming, not everyone is a low IQ fascist moron.

That said, it's worth considering that according to a new Harris X poll for The Hill a full 30% of self-identified Republican voters think Trump is likely to be reinstated as president this year! And you wonder who the GOP has morphed into a QAnon party or how hopeless morons like Lauren Boebert, Mad Cawthorn, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Louie Gohmert and Andrew Clyde were ever elected to Congress-- not to mention Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)? Trump knew exactly what he was doing when he thanked "the poorly educated" and said he loves them on the night of his unlikely 2016 election.


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page