Sunday, June 13, 2010

How Republicans could cut federal spending

"Voter Concerns Over Federal Spending Propels Conservative Candidates, Analysts Say."

This predictable headline comes from a Fox News piece by Jim Angle published  two days after the June 8 primaries. From the article:
"Debt, spending and taxes. There is more unanimity in Republican and Tea Party ranks about those issues than anything else," said Larry Sabato, director of University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

"Taxpayers are fed up," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. "They want us to stop spending their money, and I think it's time for Congress to listen to the American people."
I read the article right after I had looked at a report called Federal Spending in Each State Per Dollar of Federal Taxes, FY 2005. The report lists the 50 states in order of how much they get for their tax dollar. New Mexico, the biggest recipient of federal funds, gets back $2.03 for every $1.00 paid in taxes; while New Jersey gets back only 61 cents. The average return was $1.15 spent for every $1.00 received, which supports the contention that the federal government is spending too much.

I then went to a map of the 2008 election results to see if there was any correlation between federal benefits and taxpayer anger. Yes, indeed, there was a very strong - and very strange - correlation. The angriest taxpayers are the ones who are getting the most for their money.
  • Of the 10 states that received the most federal money per tax dollar, 8 voted Republican in 2008.
  • Of states 11-20 in the ranked list, 7 voted Republican.
  • Of states 21-30, 5 voted Republican.
  • Of states 31-40, 2 voted Republican.
  • Of states 41-50 - that is, the 10 states that received the least money back from the government - none voted Republican.
In other words, states that voted for McCain - Palin received far more federal money for their tax dollar than states that voted for Obama - Biden. Republican states averaged $1.40 on the dollar, while Democratic states averaged 99 cents. McCain's home state, Arizona, got back $1.19 on the dollar, and Palin's Alaska got back $1.84. By contrast, Obama's Illinois got only 75 cents, and Biden's Delaware got 77 cents.

The loyal opposition is right to point out that the government can't continue to spend more than it takes in. Here's a suggestion that should appeal to everybody - Republicans and Tea Party adherents and Democrats alike. Let's make it illegal for any state to get more money back from the federal government than it pays in federal taxes.

That would mean a drastic reduction of federal spending in 21 of the 22 states that voted Republican in 2008, and it might be really hard on Alaska, but hey - it would go a long way toward balancing the budget. And that's what Republicans want, right?

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

You go, girl! This is a great analysis.