For the past four years, weve heard a lot of whining about the federal deficits and debt, primarily from red states. Although quiet during the prolific spending spree of the Bush administration, once President Obama took office, Teapublican anger swelled throughout the old South and in states like Arizona.
Ironically, many of those who scream the loudest receive Social Security and Medicare. And many others take advantage of other federally-funded social programs such as food stamps, unemployment insurance and the GI Bill.
That caused me to wonder how the contributions of the most vocal states stack up compared to the largess they receive from the federal government. Certainly, given their angst, you would expect that they pay far more in federal taxes than they get back.
You would be wrong.
In 2007 (the most recent data I could find), Arizona contributed $35,485 million in federal taxes and received $48,012 million back in federal spending. So the state received $1,976 more per person than it contributed. In other words, its a state of takers.
In fact, of the 28 states that receive more than they contribute, the vast majority are reliably red!
On the other hand, the vast majority of the giver states are reliably blue. The top five (Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York) are all blue states, contributing $4,500 to $12,285 per person more than they receive.
Of the 22 states that pay in more than they get back, only Arkansas, Georgia, Nebraska, and Texas are red states.
So heres my solution for the federal deficit: Lets give red state Teapublicans what they want. Lets balance the federal spending in those states to the amount they pay in federal taxes. All states can share the cost of national defense, natural emergencies, etc. But when it comes to the cost of highways, roads, bridges, universities, health care and retirement programs, each state is on its own. That means red states will have to raise taxes or dramatically cut services.
Then well see if they still think the federal government is the enemy.