The Truth About Red State “Takers” vs. Blue State “Donors”
Democrats frequently say that red states are the biggest “takers”…
7 of the top 10 dependent states, dare I say ‘taker’ states, are red states. — Gavin Newsom
If you really believe that Americans with higher incomes shouldn’t pay for benefits provided to those with lower incomes, you should be calling on “donor” states like New Jersey and New York to cut off places like Kentucky and let their economies collapse. — Paul Krugman, The Moochers of Middle America
But first, let me appeal to the Left by asking… where’s your empathy, bro?
As the leftist American Prospect says,
When Democrats talk about ‘moocher’ red states receiving more federal benefits than they give in federal taxes, they reveal their elitism and reinforce ‘welfare queen’ rhetoric.
Second, let’s acknowledge there’s a subjective nature to being a “taker.”
I think someone who makes a lot of money rent-seeking on Wall Street or in DC is more of a “taker” than a small farmer, stay-at-home mom, or soldier.
After all, some of these states they consider “takers” have a large military presence such as Alaska so are Americans who are willing to put their lives on the line in defense of our country… “takers”?
Third, bearing that in mind, I think the evidence shows that conservatives disproportionally work in fields that lay much more of the foundation of civilization — farming, plumbing, construction, engineering, etc. — whereas liberals work in cushier jobs, which isn’t to say they’re unhelpful, but I think even when we look at the most profitable institutions those who do most of the real work are more likely to be either immigrants/centrists/conservatives — about 71% of tech employees in Silicon Valley are foreign-born — such as in the case with Twitter where after Elon Musk fired 80% of its staff the site now runs better.
In other words, if conservatives stopped working we’d all starve to death in our poop whereas if liberals stopped working we’d ummmm, wait, they work?
Fourth, but in all seriousness, those society tends to think of as the worst “takers” are Democrats, i.e. welfare recipients in the form of food stamps, housing assistance, Medicaid, and TANF…
Democrats are about twice as likely as Republicans to have received food stamps at some point in their lives. — Pew Research
Fifth, why is it that when Democrats talk about political solutions it’s almost always in terms of what they think the federal government should do yet only when they want to score political points do they bring up state differences? It’s because they would prefer to talk about individual differences, but they can’t because as it turns out Republicans have a higher median income, pay more in taxes, and give more to charity.
Sixth, their talking point basically boils down to wealthier states pay more taxes and receive fewer benefits, which right-wingers are usually the ones to highlight the progressiveness of our tax system in order to argue for making it flatter. But nevertheless, I don’t think it’s true because such a point doesn’t take into account inflation (regressive hidden tax) nor second-order effects in who ultimately bears the costs and receives the benefits, e.g. Apple’s HQ is in California, but since some of their taxation is embedded into their price then when Joe in Alabama buys a Mac he’s paying some of it; or how Walmart lobbies for a higher minimum wage because it’ll make it harder for their small business competition to stay open, therefore, the amount they’d lose in paying a higher wage is offset by their ability to raise prices on poor ol’ Joe.
Seventh, the study ultimately concluded “that states with higher per capita GDP are less dependent on the federal government,” but it should’ve looked at the per capita GDP growth over the time period it deemed those states to be red or blue because states like NY and CA achieved most of their economic growth when they were red and when they had such a libertarian-esque government it’d make your modern conservative blush where then only as these states grew in power did they become more leftist/statist, but looking at the end result and giving credit to nanny state policies is like looking at an 85-year old millionaire sleeping on a beach and assuming that’s what it takes to get rich. You’d be a fool at best, but more likely you know better, but you’re just telling people what they want to hear to get their support.
Eighth, since the study includes Social Security & Medicare are Democrats saying that the elderly are “takers” for collecting what they were told are insurances they paid for?
Finally, and perhaps most controversially, when Democrats are lampooning red states whether it be in regards to “federal dependency” or other frequently cited differences related to the murder rate, poverty, life expectancy, etc. they’re using a racist dog whistle (to borrow the vernacular of the Left).
Because despite voting 90%+ Democrat, black Americans disproportionally reside in red states, specifically the former Confederacy.
So after Democrats drove the region into the ground don’t you think it’s a bit unfair to blame Republicans for not pulling it up faster?
Red states also tend to be more decentralized therefore empowering Democrat town/city/county governments to run themselves… so are Democrats suggesting Republican governors should override the will of black communities?
In the end, I think the critique here isn’t that red states have been too conservative, but that they’ve been insufficiently so.
There isn’t enough daylight between red and blue states!
And red states should pick up their game by abolishing taxes on improved land values (aka land value tax), increasing school choice, cutting regulations/welfare/laws, and enforcing existing laws more in high-crime blue counties.
Overall, if Democrats genuinely think their policies are so much better then let’s decentralize power away from DC so we can really see the differences play out, but then again, by agreeing to this proposition would you even be a Democrat because Democrats will shut the federal government down if you so much as suggest not increasing federal spending by at least 3% a year, which from a political standpoint I can see why the DNC is all about centralizing control because when given the choice people flock to freedom.