Friday, November 16, 2012

What's The Matter With Kansas II: Takers, Moochers, & The 2012 Election

In 2004, the book What's The Matter With Kansas made quite a splash when it wondered why voters in one of our most Republican states were, in fact, Republicans when the actual policies the Republican Party pursued, and even how many were framed, were demonstrably counter the interests of the people of Kansas.  There has yet to be a satisfactory answer to that question, but the election just passed and some at least of the fallout from that election is demonstrating that many Republican voters in general seem to be as clueless as folks in Kansas.

One of the more memorable campaign moments was the captured video of Mitt Romney telling donors that 47% of Americans are moochers, paying no taxes and expecting "free stuff" from the government.  After not only losing the Presidency but watching many more liberal Democrats win both Senate and House elections, John Hinderaker admitted that "takers" had become a majority, winning the election over the "makers" or, as loser Joe Walsh called them in a debate with Tammy Duckworth, "the people who matter", "the job creators".  Adding Paul Ryan to the ticket, America received a lesson in the facile "philosophy" of Ayn Rand, who shares with J. R. R. Tolkien two things: their books are usually encountered first in high school; continued fascination with the books of both  writers in to adulthood usually results in people laughing at you.

Since the election, some bozos have started yelling "Secession!", and some have even been chuckling madly at the thought that states like New York and California and Illinois might starve because all those red states have all the farmers and food.

Real evidence - which has proved itself to be irrelevant to many in the Republican Party - indicates that, in fact, it was not the "makers" who lost last Tuesday.  The map below, copied from the linked article at The Economist (a well-known bastion of socialist thought) shows the results of 20 years of tax and fiscal policy on the fifty states.
Please note that the vast bulk of states that voted for the President - the "takers", according to Hinderaker - actually take in more in federal taxes than they receive in services from the federal government.  On the other hand, except for Texas, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Georgia, the states that went for Mitt Romney are welfare queens, receiving far more from the federal government than they pay in taxes.

As for the Blue States starving, well . . . according the the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture, the top five counties in the United States for agricultural sales in 2007 were all in California.  ERS also has a downloadable Excel spreadsheet (you can find it here) that ranks the states by net farm income.  Of the top five, only Nebraska voted for Mitt Romney.  California and Iowa are the top two; Illinois and Minnesota are four and five.  The spreadsheet also includes a listing of farming efficiency.  Of the top five states whose net farm income per acre are highest, only North Carolina (this time, and only just) went for Mitt Romney.  The top four are California, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut.  So, not only will the Blue States not starve.  Blue States are actually better at doing farming than Red States.

Another map, one that's been circulating on FB that purports to show that more people actually favor the Republicans and Mitt Romney, shows the voting breakdown by counties across the country.
I would suggest that this map is, what's the word I'm looking for?  Is it misleading?  Irrelevant?  Consider one county in New York.  New York County, the city of Manhattan, has a population of just over 1.6 million people.  That's just one county in New York.  The entire state of Wyoming has a population of 568,000.  Median household income in Wyoming in 2010 was $53,802.  New York County - just one county, mind you - had a median household income of $64,971.  So there are more people in New York County than the entire state of Wyoming.  They also make more money (one benefit of this map, beyond making the point that Obama won where there are actual people, is a person can use Census data to find out what the people who live in different places are like).

In other words, it was the moochers who lost.  Poor moochers, no less.

The thing that makes me go, "Hmmm", however, is "Why?"  The states the receive actual benefits from the federal government would prefer to have someone in office who would cut off the money flowing to them?  Folks in these states who are carrying on about secession would be severely hurt, both in terms of fiscal soundness as well as the availability of services, by secession.

I suppose it's simple ignorance: They have no idea how much they receive from the federal government, and how losing that would impact their lives.

Which is why, again, I think the Internet is wonderful.  It's just so easy to find out that millions of Americans are protesting against their own best interests.

Congratulations, Republican Party!  Please, don't change.

Virtual Tin Cup

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