12 December 2010


Paul Rosenberg writes in Red State Moochers -- Federal Taxes Favor Those Who Complain About Federal Taxes that there is a strong and consistent correlation between the amount of federal financial support a state receives, and the amount that state pays in federal taxes. But the correlation is the reverse of what one might expect. States which receive more federal aid are more likely to vote for conservative candidates for national office, an apparent disconnect between Republican rhetoric calling for less federal intervention in voters' lives, and the largesse which Republican voters receive from that same federal government. Stated another way, "In a paradox of the Electoral College, Republican presidential candidates since 1984 have won most of the states which benefit from federal spending, while Democrats have won most of the states which bankroll the federal government."

Rosenberg's suggestion -- if you are upset about government spending, just stop using it in your personal life. It is a fair conclusion, but one that Red State (conservative) voters are unlikely to heed. Clearly those voters place their own self-interest ahead of the welfare of the nation as a whole. But then, this is hardly surprising, given those same voters' refusal to support social programs in general. Rosenberg's article comes with supporting statistical evidence and analysis.

The map above depicts a summary of results from the 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 presidential elections, with red states and blue states showing a regional pattern of distribution -- Republican candidates do well in the South, Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, while Democratic candidates do well in Northeast, Great Lakes, and Pacific Coast states.

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