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Which States Get The Most Federal Tax Dollars?

August 10, 2011

Interesting question isn’t it?  It must be a liberal state like California, damn hippies, land of fruits and nuts for sure.  Or maybe it is one of those pointy headed liberal blue-blood states on the east coast, like Connecticut, or New York – yeah, I bet it is one of those 0ver-educated states.  Maybe it is Washington State, that place is full of Democrats, two of them female Senators…

The redistribution of federal taxes from state to state in the US. Most people don’t understand that the federal government doesn’t really take taxes to put in a gilded room in DC to buy teak desks for Senators. Rather, much of the federal government’s operations are a pass through program, meaning taxes taken today are sent out to program beneficiaries today. Both Social Security and Medicare work this way, for example—and that’s over 40% of the US budget. As it happens, it is usually the case that the citizens living in a state do not receive the same amount in total benefits and other federal spending as they contribute. The citizens of some states—the ones in various shades of green in this map—pay more in taxes than they receive. The ones in red receive more federal tax money than its citizens pay. While the pattern is not perfect, a few things stand out here. First, many “conservative” states are in fact net tax recipients—e.g., they get more than they pay. Many such states have lots of poverty, farms, military bases and retired persons, and such persons and programs get lots of federal tax support. Another thing that stands out here is that, in general, the “rich”—or net tax contributing—states are those with the United States’ major cities: NY, California, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, etc. (The latter two are exceptions to the “conservative = welfare states point I made above.) So as an Illinoisan watching all those conservative states demand that the federal government stop abusing their citizens with all these taxes, I ask only one thing: Can I have my money back? azspot:  America’s fiscal union: The red and the black Wait a minute, this map doesn’t make sense!  From the look of this map I see a lot of red and pink/orange in mostly Republican states.  How can this be?  How can it be that in the land of “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” they are taking in more Federal tax dollars then they contribute!!!  Aren’t these the states that HATE anything to do with the Federal Government?  Hypocrisy anyone!

From the article accompanying the chart:

The redistribution of federal taxes from state to state in the US.

Most people don’t understand that the federal government doesn’t really take taxes to put in a gilded room in DC to buy teak desks for Senators. Rather, much of the federal government’s operations are a pass through program, meaning taxes taken today are sent out to program beneficiaries today. Both Social Security and Medicare work this way, for example—and that’s over 40% of the US budget.

As it happens, it is usually the case that the citizens living in a state do not receive the same amount in total benefits and other federal spending as they contribute. The citizens of some states—the ones in various shades of green in this map—pay more in taxes than they receive. The ones in red receive more federal tax money than its citizens pay.

While the pattern is not perfect, a few things stand out here. First, many “conservative” states are in fact net tax recipients—e.g., they get more than they pay. Many such states have lots of poverty, farms, military bases and retired persons, and such persons and programs get lots of federal tax support.

Another thing that stands out here is that, in general, the “rich”—or net tax contributing—states are those with the United States’ major cities: NY, California, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, etc. (The latter two are exceptions to the “conservative = welfare states point I made above.)

So as an Illinoisan watching all those conservative states demand that the federal government stop abusing their citizens with all these taxes, I ask only one thing:

Can I have my money back?

I realize that I am being a bit flippant with this post but the irony here is simply amazing.  Republicans are constantly screaming about government spending, but when you “peel the onion” and look at what states get the most Federal money, the Red States are the ones who have their hands out.  Go figure.

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