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Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

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gov is the problem!


no wonder local voters say they hate big gov

no, wait

(MitchM's Kentucky is as much a ward of the state as East Germany or southern Italy)


  • I-R-O-N-Y.
    The Electoral College is facilitating the minority in letting the tail wag the dog.
  • Where are we going with this ? None of it makes any sense. Smells bad someone please flush the stool. Yada Yada Yada
  • Just a simple assertion. The "gov't haters" are the ones benefiting the most from gov't outlays on a State by State basis. Hypocrites. Can you spell R-e-p-u-g-n-a-n-t P-a-r-t-y? I just KNEW you COULD.
  • "Part of the explanation for why southern states dominate the “most dependent” category is historical. During the many decades in the 20th century when the South was solidly Democratic, its congressional representatives in both the House and the Senate, enjoying great seniority, came to hold leadership positions on powerful committees, which they used to send federal dollars back to their home states in the form of contracts, projects, installations. "

    I spell that D-i-x-i-e-c-r-a-t-s with a side of p-o-r-k (the other white meat loved by voters in every state).
  • The rest of the article, for example the SNAP graph, seems to me to make clear how inapplicable that historical origin story is now, of 'dollars ... in the form of contracts, projects, installations'.

    Interesting that Ohio is a giver, wonder if still true. What's with Oregon's 20% of population on SNAP. And what is his concluding point about SC residents not getting a helping hand from neighbors? 'Because' of federal programs, he writes. Huh.
  • The rest of the article, for example the SNAP graph, seems to me to make clear how inapplicable that historical origin story is now, of 'dollars ... in the form of contracts, projects, installations'.

    Let me see if I've got this right. If the federal government pours money into a state via corporate tax benefits, that counts as subsidies. It affects the balance of payments. But when the government pours that same money into a business it has socialized (e.g. the military), that doesn't count.

    This seems to be saying that to reduce state subsidies to the states, the federal government should socialize, or if you prefer, nationalize industries. That way, even though it will be spending more money directly, the subsidy total will go down.

    If instead you'd care to back out all the indirect subsidies, I'm happy to read the data. I have to assume the graphic you presented includes those expenditures since you gave no source or context.

    Regarding context, while it shows federal expenditure rising in a few states, it doesn't show whether that growth was higher or lower than the national average. Perhaps more importantly, it doesn't show the poorest states, but just cherry picks some poor states. What about, say, Louisiana, with the highest poverty rate in the country?
    It's got a $200B GDP and a net balance of payments that's about 9% of that (i.e. just half as high as the states in the graphic).


    Nor does your graphic provide context by showing some non-poor states, like Virginia. First in the nation in balance of payments (inflows), both in total dollars and in dollars per capita. An arguably blue state (or so this 2016 WaPo opinion piece argues), to boot.

  • I’d like to see how these dollars break down. Is the Federal feed into states Soc security, military bases, military research, military retirees, NASA? It’s all those and more, but how does it break down?

    I think the fact that the senators or house members back in the ‘40s were Democrats is irrelevant. Cold War bases & spending had to go somewhere, somewhere with a port, with available land, with fresh water.

    Also, to put it at ground level - let’s assume I get both a military pension and soc security, is it wrong for me to vote Republican? (BTW, none of those are true of me)
  • How does it break down? Excellent question. Unfortunately all that we have in this thread is a decontextualied graphic. One that doesn't explain what "poor" means, what "payments" are counted, what large means, or one that just scales the data based perhaps on population, or on national averages, or whatever.

    If one is truly interested in hard data, it's not hard to find. For example :

    FWIW, almost ⅔ of Kentucky's per capita excess balance of payments (i.e. per capita amount above the national average) comes from contracts and other Federal procurements.

    As far as military spending in general goes, pick a party, any party. They're all opening the military spigot. Forbes: House And Senate Democrats Vote Overwhelmingly For $716 Billion Military Budget

    But when it comes to military pensions, that's determined by inflation. "Things have been that way for decades."
  • The original PBS graphic had to do w '81-'17 growth.

    Here are some attempts, still high-level, at breakdowns:
    with interesting errata


    No mil-related breakout, although there are CBO and Census links I have not followed yet; the focus is federal grants, of all sorts.
  • this dives deeper

    NY state, the largest net contributor of all the states:
    and their report does, partly and in spots, break out defense spending:

    table 6 shows top five and bottom five states, 2017, helpfully noting:
    The four major categories of Federal spending examined and used in the balance-of-payment calculations are:
    • direct payments for individuals under programs such as Social Security and
    • Federal grants to state and local governments;
    • contracts and other Federal procurement; and
    • wages of Federal workers.
  • IIRC, Oregon has less stringent asset tests to receive SNAP. For example, balances in stocks and bonds and annuities are not considered when applying for Oregon SNAP, per the Oregon SNAP website.
  • thanks, fascinating
  • The original PBS graphic had to do w '81-'17 growth.

    Growth of what? Apples into oranges?

    Even the twitter feed from which you snarfed the graphic acknowledges that the 1981 and 2017 figures may be incompatible. "I'm not sure how well the methodologies compare, so use some caution with the comparison." "As I said, I'm not sure I trust the data comparison."

    Given that the Rockefeller Institute was cited, it seems reasonable to view its graphic (below) illustrating which states get the most money from the Federal government. Poor people in poor states on food stamps? Hardly. The largest payments per capita are going to some of the wealthiest states - in the northeast, on the west coast, Alaska.

    Along with those states, we mustn't forget Old Dominion. As I've already noted, it's the biggest sponger of them all. Who thinks that most of that money is going to southern, red Virginny, and who thinks that it is more likely going to more affluent places like Fairfax County up north?

    Spin is all a matter of how you pick and choose your data.


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