We Are Socialist: And So Can You


I’m pretty free market.  I’m also of the mind that the best incentives are the ones that you remember your dad teaching you or that you teach your kids.  Hard work, eat your vegetables, save your money, do your homework….stuff like that.

I like to think that most America teaches these things to their kids.  And to the extent that some of us are better or worse, I guess that’s okay.  But the idea is the same.  This is a place where, if you work hard enough, you can have anything you want.  Which, I’ve always thought the inverse were then true as well.  This is a place where if you DON’T work hard enough, you can’t have anything you want.

So, I don’t like socialism.  Either as a way to teach our kids how to live or as an economic system where we organize our society.

But we are.

So it makes me giggle a little inside every time I hear folks cry out that we don’t want a socialist in the White House.  Or that Obama is a socialist!  Not that he isn’t, he clearly, very clearly is, it’s that the people yelling and screaming aren’t very aware that in  many ways, THEY are socialists as well.

One of the best examples of this was the Tea Party protestor carrying the sign or screaming the words:

Keep the government away from my Medicare.

Classic example of what I talk about.

But I didn’t know how distressing it was until I saw this report from the Economist:

SOME American states receive more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes; others receive less. Over twenty years these fiscal transfers can add up to a sizeable sum. From 1990 to 2009, the federal government spent $1.44 trillion in Virginia but collected less than $850 billion in taxes, a gap of over $590 billion. But relative to the size of its economy, Virginia derived a smaller benefit from America’s fiscal union than states like New Mexico, Mississippi and West Virginia, where the 20-year transfer exceeded 200% of their annual GDP. Transfers to Puerto Rico, which is a US territory not a fully incorporated state, exceeded 290%. Where did these transfers come from? New York transferred over $950 billion to the rest of America’s fiscal union from 1990 to 2009. But relative to the size of its economy, Delaware made the biggest contribution, equivalent to more than twice its 2009 GDP.

Pictorial:

I think this graph is cool on two levels:

  1. The geographical organizing.  The takers seem to be in the southeast, the central plains, the mountains and the southwest.
  2. The most liberal states seem to be givers.

Here are the details:

I don’t know what it means.  It could mean that the Liberal policy seems to work.  Or, it could mean that the takers are agrarian states that have not yet made the transition to more advanced economies.  It could mean that rich people tend to live in Liberal states.  Or it could mean that more minorities live in poorer states.

I dunno.  But I think it’s a cool study.

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6 comments
  1. Delaware leads because it generates a ton of dough from corporations. Corporations pay Delaware a ton of money because Delaware makes it really easy to do business there.

    • pino said:

      Corporations pay Delaware a ton of money because Delaware makes it really easy to do business there.

      Sure….should have thought of that. A classic example of how to tune your corporate tax rates.

  2. nickgb said:

    I’m glad that this chart showed up, it used to be produced by some think tank or another, and the red/blue pattern of taker/giver states has pretty much stayed the same as long as I remember. You can take it to support liberal policies, but I prefer to think of it as showing the hypocrisy of the anti-government, anti-tax redstaters. Get rid of taxes and the federal government, and the blue states are going to mostly be much better off.

    • pino said:

      I prefer to think of it as showing the hypocrisy of the anti-government, anti-tax redstaters. Get rid of taxes and the federal government, and the blue states are going to mostly be much better off.

      I agree. Though I would like a breakdown of the spending even within the states.

  3. dedc79 said:

    Not surprisingly, I’ll second NickGBs point. I wish I could remember where it showed up, it may have been Think Progress, but there was an interesting study showing how many different forms of assistance people receive that they don’t realize/consider/acknowledge as government assistance.

    • pino said:

      there was an interesting study showing how many different forms of assistance people receive that they don’t realize/consider/acknowledge as government assistance.

      You must understand that this is what we object too. The fact that people no longer consider it a “hand-out”, “assistance” or “support”. That people simply accept that it’s part of life living such a life that other people labor for them.

      And then the program no longer serves it’s purpose. Now it’s a way of life and the incentive to get off is gone.

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