Red-Blue Divide ___ Time to Secede
Yet more reasons for Cascadia and other "blue" states to leave the United States of Red State Welfare.
While doing my routinely search on the blood draining of Cascadia by vampiric corporate plutarchists in the Bush mafia I came across these articles which demonstrate that the so called "blue states" are feeding into a welfare system that only benefits "red states" and the Fascists. In the article below look how much Oregon and Washington lose for every dollar sentto Washington DC. Image what we could do with all the money we waste to support Fascist elite, corporate welfare and imperial campaigns to occupy foriegn lands rich with oil and narcotics. Think about the cuts in social services, communications, regional infrustructure, schools, police, fire departments, cities, pollution control, alternative resources, environmental management and all the other things that create a "civilization".
Sunday, February 13, 2005
P-I Focus: Red and blue and the color of money
Only five blue states are net recipients of federal subsidies; only two red states are net payers of federal taxes
By ERIC SCIGLIANO
November's presidential election sparked a boom in amateur political geography. You remember the maps that flew like rumors of war over the Internet. First, there was the plaintive spectacle of the election outcome: the blue-tagged Democratic states clinging to the Pacific, Great Lakes and North Atlantic shores, beachheads of civilization wrapped around a vast red wilderness.
One version showed how closely today's blue states matched the free states and territories before the Civil War while the red matched Dixie and the slave territories. Another, weighted for population, showed the red and blue turfs nearly equal (just like the Bush-Kerry vote), with populous blue states such as New York and California swollen like balloons, squeezing the shriveled red strongholds of the Plains and Rockies.
Another showed the United States broken up, Yugoslavia-style, into the various cultural and ideological divisions that this election seemed to reflect: Cascadia, Dixie, Yankeeland. One even showed the blue states as southern arms of a "United States of Canada," with the red bloc renamed "Jesusland."
Even as they chuckled over these maps, blue Americans fumed in ways once reserved for Dixiecrat rebels, neo-Nazis fleeing to Idaho and other fringe separatists. You probably heard the grumbling; perhaps you even vented a little yourself. In 2000, you could blame the outcome on butterfly ballots, Ralph Nader and the "compassionate conservative" stealth campaign. But November 2004 offered fewer excuses, and it posed the question: What if a large section of this country really cares more about putting God in government, keeping gays out of marriage chapels and cutting rich folks' taxes than about fiscal, environmental and geopolitical sanity? What if what we've got is what they actually want? And what if the country's relatively liberal, cosmopolitan and secular regions are paying through the nose to be captives in a political madhouse?
Follow the money, in this as in all touchy issues. Regional inequities -- who pays and who gets -- go back far and deep in U.S. history. One-way taxation without representation made the colonies rebel against Britain; the fight over whether the slave-holding South or anti-slavery North would prevail in the Western territories led to the Civil War. Discontent has bubbled up since then, whenever this state or that region lands in disfavor for federal spending, taxes and tariffs. But it's reaching a new boil now, thanks to two trends.
One is the way that the newest federal pie, Homeland Security funding, has been divvied. The likeliest terror targets are blue coastal cities -- New York, Seattle, Los Angeles (where al-Qaida was stopped from striking in 1999) and underprotected seaports generally. But that's not where the money's gone. A stock formula allocates 40 percent of funding equally to each state. So Wyoming, Dick Cheney's off-and-on home state and about as tempting a target as Baffin Island, gets seven times as much funding per capita as New York. When Homeland Security responded to criticism by trying to place a little more money where it's actually needed, Republican lawmakers snarled about favoring "Democratic cities."
Homeland Security is just a small slice of federal spending. But the big picture looks the same. Each year the National Tax Foundation, a flat-tax society that could hardly be accused of liberal bias, tallies the federal taxes coming from each state and the federal expenditures going to each. Harvard's Taubman Center for State and Local Government does firmer tallies, from confirmed data, periodically; its last report goes back to 1999 data, but it jibes generally with the Tax Foundation's findings. And these findings are not what a lot of people expect.
"There's a general perception out there that the blue states are big net recipients of federal subsidies," says Harvard business professor Herman "Dutch" Leonard. And there's a corollary perception that, in contrast to these welfare-queen states, the inland and Southern states are a heartland of self-reliance and private initiative, less dependent on federal spending. As Leonard says, "That historically hasn't been the case." And it's becoming less and less so.
In 2003, the top subsidy-sucking state, in percentage terms, was red-lite New Mexico, which received $1.99 in federal money for every dollar it sent to Washington, D.C. All the next eight net recipients of federal spending were redder yet: Kentucky, Virginia, Montana, Alabama, North Dakota, West Virginia, Mississippi and Alaska, which received $1.60 to $1.89 back for each tax dollar.
The list of net losers in the state-federal exchange, by contrast, reads like a Who's Who of Blue. Two of the top 14 were traditionally red Western states that are starting to turn purple, Colorado and Nevada. The other 12 are all blue: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, Wisconsin and the biggest chump of all, New Jersey, where the federal government spends just $.57 for every dollar it collects. Clearly Tony Soprano did not negotiate this deal.
Only five blue states were net recipients of federal subsidies. Only two red states were net payers of federal taxes. Washington, despite its large military presence and big defense contractor The Boeing Co., received just 90 cents on its federal tax dollar. Oregon and swinging Florida are perfect washes: They received one federal dollar for every dollar they paid in taxes.
The reasons for those disparities are many. Military spending favors base-rich states such as Hawaii, by far the biggest per-capita net recipient among the blues. Crop subsidies favor Plains and Midwestern states (as well as California, which is nevertheless a big net payer to the federal government). Medicare and Social Security payments flow disproportionately to Florida, Arizona and other Sun Belt retirement meccas. Maryland, Virginia and New Mexico are big net recipients because of their outsized federal work forces (as is Washington, D.C., a special case that's off the charts).
But according to the Tax Foundation, the main reason so many blue states pay so much more than they get back is that their residents tend to earn more money and pay more income tax. William Ahern, the editor of the foundation's reports, argues that if blue-staters voted their self-interest, they'd join his group in supporting Bush's efforts to undo the United States' progressive tax structure and eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax, a backstop designed to catch upper-income tax avoiders. And red-staters, who are less well off, would stop supporting Bush and instead defend the progressive taxation that favors them. Not likely, Ahern concedes: "It appears they'll follow President Bush wherever he leads them" while Democrats will "obey their instinct" and battle Bush.
But you can look at this topsy-turvy lineup another way. Blue-staters earn more on average and pay more in taxes, because they are better educated, more productive, less likely to be retired or disabled and generally healthier; rates of obesity, smoking and alcoholism (not to mention divorce and suicide) all peak in the South or West. The highly educated have always been healthier and earned more but more of them used to vote Republican; as the two parties have switched identities, these voters have gone Democratic.
What is not a factor, Ahern declares, is the greater political clout of the Republicans, who now control every branch of federal government for the first time since Reconstruction. But the numbers suggest that pork may play a part. The biggest recent losers in this sweepstakes, those whose balance of payments has improved most, tend to be red: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia. The biggest losers, those that are paying more and getting less, are blue: California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York.
Already, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vowed to pry more federal money loose for Democratic California. You can bet House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and his posse, who have pressured K Street lobbying firms to hire Republicans rather than Democrats, look for ways to feed the red and starve the blue.
The results, when you crunch the fragmented state data, are striking. In 2003, according to the Tax Foundation data, the blue states contributed $966 billion to the federal Treasury and got $830 billion back. The reds paid $697 billion and received a whopping $909 billion. Welfare queens, indeed.
What if Red America and Blue America split up and each had to live according to its means? Secession talk is of course idle fantasy; a national breakup might be the only way to achieve the "humbler foreign policy" that candidate Bush promised in 2000, but it's a daydream that would prove a nightmare. Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union could dissolve peacefully, but the United States would not; look what happened the last time a region tried to break away. Still, if the blue states could cut loose from the reds (granting the South the divorce it sought 144 years ago), they'd start out $136 billion to the good.
Seattleite Eric Scigliano's next book, "Michelangelo's Mountain," is set in Italy, which is neither red nor blue.
(found at http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/211080_sciglianomoney.html)
_____earlier related articles of interest_____
State Ranking of Per Capita Spending, Per-Capita Tax
Burden and Return on the Federal Tax Dollar: Fiscal 2003
(found at http://www.nemw.org/fundsrank.htm)
A Dichotomy in Two Colors
by Christopher Westley
[Posted November 19, 2004]
A Dichotomy in Two Colors
by Christopher Westley
[Posted November 19, 2004]
Call it the mystery of the red and the blue.
After the presidential election, many have noticed the
irony of how some of the more conservative, culturally
red states seem to receive more in federal spending
than they pay in federal taxes. Meanwhile, some of
the more liberal, culturally blue states seem to
receive less in federal spending than they pay in
You'd think the supposedly anti-Washington reds should
be blues and the supposedly pro-Washington blues
should be reds. After all, the red states seem to
benefit from federal spending, while the blue states
seem to be harmed by it.
Don't believe me? The Northeast-Midwest Institute,
which computes the state-by-state ratio of federal
spending to federal taxes every two years, is agnostic
on the causes of these trends. But according to its
own data of the top ten states that receive more in
federal spending than they pay out in federal taxes,
only one (Hawaii) voted Democrat in the 2004
presidential election. These states could be
considered the top net tax consumers.
According to this data, for every dollar New Mexicans
sent to the feds in 2002, they received back $2.34.
Or for every dollar Alabamans sent to Washington, they
received back $1.64. More precisely, the loot was
returned to the politically important groups in those
states. But on these terms, New Mexico is the winner
of the federal wealth transfer sweepstakes.
Now consider the data for the bottom ten states—those
that receive the least in return compared to how much
contribute to the federal coffers. These states are
Here, all voted for the Democrats in 2004, with the
exception of Nevada and Colorado. On these terms,
New Jersey is the greatest loser of the wealth
transfer sweepstakes: for every dollar it sent to the
feds, it received back a whopping $0.66.
The results seem to contradict conventional wisdom.
The states that benefit the most from federal wealth
transfers are generally populated with people who
agitate against such transfers, while the states that
are more hurt by wealth transfers are generally
populated by people who have not only come to terms
with Leviathan, but sort of like it too.
What gives? The answers are not clear and somewhat
complicated, especially since the Republican Party,
the choice of the reds, is far from a party of small
government. What follows are some conjectures that
attempt to explain this dichotomy of the red and the
One factor lies in the fact that states with large
populations that resent Washington are more likely to
receive funding from it if only to buy them off. By
creating dependencies of whole states, popular
resentments can be quelled. This explains why of the
top ten net tax consumers, three states were members
of the Confederacy (during the War of Northern
Aggression), while of the top ten tax payers, seven
were members of the Union (during the Civil War).
This buy-off factor helps the State maintain support
while creating a hypocrisy of sorts when enemies of
the transfer state find themselves in regions that
receive the largest allotment of other people's money.
(This also illustrates how adept both parties have
become in buying constituencies.) It is not uncommon
in the South to hear someone rail against Washington
while tempering his remarks with exceptions for
needless military bases that have become important to
many local economies or universities whose research
facilities serve to place grits on many tables.
While such investments are made today in most every
state, they take on added importance in the red states
where the anti-Washington culture is based on a
history of being independent from it. It is no
surprise that all of the top ten net tax consuming
states achieved statehood sometime after the
establishment of a United States, or that five of the
top ten net tax paying states were also members of the
original 13 colonies.
Another factor is that recipients of federal largess
may know that such dependence is not such a good
thing. On one level, it is far better for a state to
pay out more in federal taxes than it receives because
economies in these states are less dependent on the
federal appropriations process than the net tax
consuming states. Base closures and realignments or
shifts in the political power base in DC have much
less social ramifications when your economy is less
dependent on wealth transfers from the federal trough.
The red-tax consuming states know this, dislike the
implications, and vote accordingly. Some of their
resentment doubtlessly stems from the politicized
culture that emerges when much of their economic base
results from wealth transfers (and not wealth
creation). The irony is that the blue-tax paying
states could secede, maintain all federal spending
commitments in their states, and have money left over,
while their red counterparts would pay a higher
economic price for pursuing a similar course—at least
in the short run.
But secession seems a far way off—just like it did in
the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Until then, the
country will remain divided, a landmass of blue Peters
robbed to pay red Pauls. Don't think that our pols in
Washington aren't concerned about this development.
In his victory speech on November 3rd, President
George W. Bush acknowledged his "duty to serve all
Americans. And I will do my best to fulfill that duty
every day as your president." On the same day,
Democratic nominee Sen. John F. Kerry spoke of "the
danger of division in our country and the need—the
desperate need—for unity, for finding common ground,
and coming together. Today, I hope that we can begin
But the unity they crave is not the kind of unity that
reflects a free and independent republic. If both men
were sincere, they'd advocate the tearing down of a
destructive welfare and warfare state that will
collect and redistribute over $2 trillion in 2005 and
that institutionalizes resentment in society.
Why? Because thou shalt not steal—even if the
stealing can be classified as legal plunder. By
remembering this part of the natural law, and the
consequences that come with violating it, one can
understand the mystery of the red and the blue.
Christopher Westley teaches economics at Jacksonville
State University. See his Mises.org Daily Articles
Archive. Send him MAIL. Comment on this article on the
(found at http://www.mises.org/fullstory.aspx...)
Bush cuts hit Democratic states, analysis finds
By Susan Milligan, Globe Staff | February 12, 2005
WASHINGTON -- Massachusetts and other traditionally Democratic states would see their share of federal grant money shrink under President Bush's 2006 budget, compared to Republican states in the South and West, according to a Globe analysis of funding projections compiled by the White House budget office.
Critics and defenders of the president's $2.6 trillion budget say they do not believe the budget proposal represents a deliberate attack on states that voted for Democrat John F. Kerry, but rather that Bush's budget priorities tend to hurt those states that rely more on the health, community development, and housing programs that are targeted for reductions.
The result is that the highest percentage increases in state and local grant money would go to Arkansas, North Carolina, Arizona, and Missouri, while New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Hawaii, and Vermont would be among the states with the smallest increases. Massachusetts -- with a projected 1.9 percent increase -- is tied for 35th, while liberal-leaning California and Washington state (along with conservative-leaning North Dakota) would see a reduction in federal grants next year.
With the proposal to eliminate or reduce funding for home-heating assistance, the Northeast would be especially hard hit by the president's budget-cutting, said Senator Jon Corzine, Democrat of New Jersey.
''People will ask me whether I think it's political or not," Corzine said. ''I think it's just the philosophy of this administration not to have the government involved."
Representative Barney Frank, a Newton Democrat, said that while the budget may not have been designed to hurt Democratic-leaning ''blue" states, ''they can do it without trying," because many of the budget cuts tend to hit urbanized areas. ''It's not just red state/blue state, but blue communities within the red states," he said. ''Their ideology reflects that."
Chad Kolton, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget, said much of the trend is due to demographics. ''It's not a reflection of any political decision, by and large, because these tend to be mandatory [funding] programs," such as Medicaid, he said. Kolton and independent budget analysts also noted that the funding projections do not include Bush's proposed cuts in farm assistance, a highly controversial idea that -- if approved by Congress -- would probably hit rural, Republican-voting states with large grain farms the hardest.
But representatives of Northeastern states note that the funding projections also do not include the proposed elimination of Amtrak funding -- which they say could hurt the Northeast where the train service is most popular -- or increases in defense spending, which tend to favor the South and West because of the large number of military bases in those regions. In all, they say, the budget heavily favors Republican-leaning ''red" states, which constitute 19 of the top 25 states to receive the biggest percentage increases.
(this part found at http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2005/02/12/bush_cuts_hit_democratic_states_analysis_finds/)
Bush cuts hit Democratic states, analysis finds
February 12, 2005
Page 2 of 2 -- Northeast and industrial states historically have benefited from the types of programs that Bush wants to cut, such as urban block grants, home-heating assistance and Medicaid, said Matt Kane, an analyst with the Northeast-Midwest Institute, a nonpartisan group that advocates for the region in Washington.
Community Development Block Grants, one of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development's oldest programs that helps distressed communities with economic development, have helped the Northeast, since funding relies partly on the age of a city's infrastructure. That and other factors have tended to steer money to cities like Boston, which this year got $23 million.
Under the Bush budget, block grants would be combined with 18 other community development initiatives, and overall funding would be cut to $3.7 billion from $5.4 billion. Boston would lose an estimated $8 million, according to projections by the staff of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts.
Further, the formula would change, directing aid toward high-poverty areas and making it harder for relatively prosperous Massachusetts to get money, Kane said.
Kolton said the block grants were being cut because too much of the money was going to prosperous areas that did not need it. He said the scaled-down program would help bring the program back to what it was meant to be -- aid to struggling communities.
Brian Reidl, a budget analyst with the conservative Heritage Foundation said the block-grant program has been expanded to win the support of more members of Congress, and should be targeted more closely to help the poor. The program ''ends up funding wasteful projects local governments wouldn't dream of wasting tax dollars on," he said. ''It's not as much of a poverty program as it is a pork program."
Meanwhile, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, a loan program that helps states improve their wastewater treatment systems, would be trimmed to $730 million from $1.09 billion. The OMB, in its budget summary, said that no more money is needed, since loan repayments have kept the fund flush. But Kane said the cutback would be especially hard on the Northeast and Midwest. Massachusetts would lose an estimated $12.2 million if the proposal is approved, he said.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps pay for home heating for needy families, would be cut to $2 billion from $2.2 billion.
The program, which the Northeast-Midwest Institute says is reaching only 20 percent of eligible families, is especially weighted to states with colder weather like the Northeast.
The administration also has proposed ending federal subsidies for Amtrak, which critics say is inefficiently run and should be profitable. While Amtrak serves the entire country, the Northeast is particularly reliant on it, with its heavily traveled Northeast Corridor serving Boston, New York, and Washington.
''We are the United States of America, not a series of red vs. blue states," said Kennedy, who said he will fight the proposed cuts. ''Unfortunately, the president's budget divides America by undervaluing our cities and demonstrating that education and health care are not national priorities."
But even the feared elimination of Amtrak funding might ultimately help the Northeast, Reidl said, because the routes there are more commercially viable. The service in the West, for example, is more likely to die if it stops getting federal funds, while the Northeast Corridor service has a better chance of making it on its own, he said.
The Northeast is likely to benefit from one formula change: homeland security money would be allocated according to where the risk is highest, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill assume that large cities will benefit. Further, Democratic states would not be hit as hard as Republican states if the reduction and change in farm aid is approved.
That proposal would cut farm aid by 5 percent, and cap the amount a farm can receive. However, the plan faces a wary audience on Capitol Hill, because lawmakers mulling a presidential run in 2008 would need to explain to voters in Iowa -- who are first to vote in the nominating process -- why they voted to trim the aid.
Bush's budget director, Joshua Bolten, said support for the changes in farm assistance will come ''probably not from members who are in, or will be visiting, farm states. . . . Are we going to get everything we asked for? No. But I think we will get a lot of this."
(found at http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2005/02/12/bush_cuts_hit_democratic_states_analysis_finds...)
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