Of all the nonsense Texas Governor Rick Perry spews about states' rights and the tenth amendment, his dumbest is the notion that states should go it alone. "We've got a great Union," he said at a Tea Party rally in Austin in April 2009. "There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.[...]
Perry doesn't like the Federal Reserve Board. He hates the Internal Revenue Service even more. Presumably if he had his way taxpayers would pay states rather than the federal government for all the services and transfer payments they get.
This might be a good deal for Texas. According to the most recent data from the Tax Foundation, the citizens of Texas receive only 94 cents from the federal government for every tax dollar they send to Washington.
But it would be a bad deal for most other red states. On average, citizens of states with strong Republican majorities get back more from the federal government than they pay in. Kentucky receives $1.51 from Washington for every dollar its citizens pay in federal taxes. Alabama gets back $1.66. Louisiana receives $1.78. Alaska, $1.84. Mississippi, $2.02. Arizona, $1.19. Idaho, $1.21. South Carolina, $1.35. Oklahoma, $1.36. Arkansas, $1.41. Montana, $1.47, Nebraska, $1.10. Wyoming, $1.11. Kansas, $1.12.
On the other hand, fiscal secession would be a boon to most blue states. The citizens of California -- harder hit by the recession than most -- receive from Washington only 78 cents for every tax dollar they send to Washington. New Yorkers get back only 79 cents on every tax dollar they send in. Massachusetts, 82 cents. Michigan, 92 cents. Oregon, 98 cents.
There is nothing new in Reich's observation, but the question is: why, when the facts are widely available, do conservative red staters persistently imagine that they're getting screwed, when they are, in most cases, the ones on the transfer payment dole? I plan to take up this question in a future post, but feel free to offer your own thoughts.
It's really astounding. The red staters constantly ridicule California for its fiscal difficulties, while Californians feed conservatives at the red state troughs. As a blue state resident, I'm actually fine with the wealthier states helping out the less wealthy states, but I do get annoyed when conservative red state residents point at us and rage about looters and socialism. If they don't like it, they can call their representatives and ask them to stop taking our blue state money. Specks and planks, you know.