Tell us again about red-state self-reliance

A new study confirms that a lot of red states live off the largess of their fellow citizens.

By Tim Grieve
March 16, 2006 7:07PM (UTC)
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We would never do anything to inflame the passions of the red-state/blue-state divide. It would be wrong. And besides, it's isn't really a fair fight anymore. According to a SurveyUSA poll out this week, George W. Bush now has majority support in just three states: Utah, Wyoming and Alabama.

But if you just can't help picking a fight with your red-state friends and neighbors, here's some ammunition you might use the next time one of them starts talking about the virtues of personal responsibility and self-reliance. In a study released today, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation reveals that -- to a much greater degree than their azure kin -- red states continue to rely on the largess of the federal government.


The top seven charity cases -- and 13 of the top 15 -- are states that cast their votes for Bush in 2004. First in line for handouts is New Mexico, which scores $2 for every buck it sends to Washington, The rest of the top 15: Alaska -- thanks for the bridge, guys! -- West Virginia, Mississippi, North Dakota, Alabama, Virginia, Hawaii, Montana, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky and Maryland.

And which states are the real bastions of up-by-your-bootstraps self-reliance and compassion for the least among us? Well, the top five giving states are ones that John Kerry carried in 2004: New Jersey -- which got 55 cents for every dollar it gave to Washington -- followed by Connecticut, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Illinois.

What about Californians and New Yorkers, those coastal snobs who are so self-absorbed that their skin has turned blue? It turns out that they can take care of themselves and a whole lot of other Americans, too. They're eighth and ninth on the most-charitable list, getting back just 79 cents of each dollar they send to Washington.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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