Our fave-blogger The Anchoress alerts us to this terrific column in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune by Meg Kreikemeier, a stay-at-home mom and former analyst for CNA Insurance. Kreikemeier takes on the latest liberal meme: that it’s the Dem-leaning “blue states” that are the most productive and tax revenue-yielding, whereas the Republican “red states” house mostly slackers and welfare recipients who take from the government instead of give.
The latest propagator of this meme is the ever-apoplectic MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell, appearing recently on “The McLaughlin Report.” Here’s what O’Donnell said:
“…[T]he segment of the country that pays for the federal government is now being governed by the people who don’t pay for the federal government.
“Ninety percent of the red states are welfare client states of the federal government. They collect more from the federal government than they send in. New York and California, Connecticut, the states that are blue are all the states that are paying for the bulk of everything this government does … and the people in those states don’t like what this government is doing.”
Of course this does contradict a wee little bit the usual Dem contention, most recently propagated by party chairman Howard Dean, that the Republican Party is the party of rich capitalists and coupon-cutters. So which is it? As Kreikemeier writes:
“For so long, Democrats have criticized Republicans as the party of the rich, and they still do when discussing tax cuts, budget deficits and Social Security. However, Republicans have now become the party of dishonest slackers who don’t contribute to the federal government and yet make demands of it.
“Republicans can’t be rich capitalists and people who don’t work at the same time.”
Kreikemeier’s real point, however, isn’t just that the Democrats are talking out of both sides of their mouth, but that they’re wrong on the facts. As she deftly points out, blue states such as New York, California, and Connecticut generate a lot of tax revenues because they house a lot of large corporations that pay huge sums in corporate income taxes. Red states generally house smaller businesses, so the total tax revenues may not be so high, but income-tax revenues, the measure of individual productivity, are often higher. She then analyzes her own state, Illinois, technically a blue state in the 2004–but only because the Dems carried populous Cook County (Chicago and its environs), while the GOP carried 85 of the 100 other Illinois counties. She writes:
“Chicago’s collar counties, such as DuPage, Lake and Will are generally prosperous. And while many of the counties to the south and west of the collar counties may not be as wealthy, they make up the breadbasket of the state and country.
“The Consolidated Federal Funds Report details federal funds allocated to counties in 2003. Dividing that number by each county’s population reveals that Cook County, on average, received more federal funds than DuPage, Lake and Will.
“In addition, the median household income in the three red counties was approximately $20,000 higher than in Cook County.
“All things being equal, this would imply that individuals in these counties, on average, likely pay higher income taxes than their counterparts in Cook County.
“Meanwhile, the crime rate, unemployment rate and the percent of the population below the poverty line were lower in the red counties. So by O?Donnell?s standards, does that mean that Cook County is a ‘welfare’ county, and that the red counties are, in fact, more productive and should dictate Illinois politics?”
This is a must-read. The Anchoress is also running links to a debate over whether higher education is “wasted” on women who eventually become full-time mothers and homemakers: My entry in that debate is Meg Kreikemeier. As the Anchoress writes:
“And respect the ‘Stay at home? mothers. Not only are they educated and watching what’s going on’they’re also the ones picking your kids up from the school nurse when you can’t get there.”