The next time a conservative complains about welfare and the redistribution of wealth, point out that blue states have been subsidizing red states for years.
What’s the difference between a conservative and a liberal in the United States? The former will often say that they believe in tradition, small government and the free market, whereas the latter are godless socialists. Conservatives pride themselves on strong work ethic and self-reliance and abhor the government redistribution of wealth – supposedly.
There is mounting evidence that most conservative (red) states receive much more money from the federal government than they contribute in taxes, whereas most blue states are net contributors to the federal coffers. Blue states are effectively subsidizing red states.
Republicans have been complaining about welfare for decades. Reagan popularized the term “welfare queen”, which became a sort of code word for the urban black poor who were exploiting government programs. Newt Gingrich even referred to President Obama as the ” welfare president”. These demeaning references ignore the billions in federal assistance that go to rural America and the root causes of the current poverty (pre-Obama policies) that have driven so many people onto public assistance. I am sick and tired of listening to the conservative rhetoric machine that tries to convince the country that they represent the hardworking “real” America that isn’t interested in any handouts.
There are certainly disparities in federal taxation and spending, but its the red states that gain the most. I’m not an opponent of redistribution, but I am opposed to blatant hypocrisy and finger pointing.
- New York Times: Red Moochers
- Tax Foundation: Federal Taxes Paid vs. Federal Funding Received by state, 1981-2005
- Reason magazine: The Reb/Blue Paradox
- Politifact: Republican-leaning states get more in federal dollars than they pay in taxes
- Slate: How Blue States Are Subsidizing Red America
- Salon: The Red State Model is (also) Broken
- Mother Jones: Most Red States Take More Money From Washington Than They Put In
- New York Times: Even Critics of Safety Net Depend on It