This article from the New York Times was a most interesting and perplexing one. The states and voters that receive the most aid tend to be the ones that support spending cuts, tax cuts, and deficit-reduction. So-called red states that receive the most aid are also the most conservative and suspicious of “Big Government.”

“Dean P. Lacy, a professor of political science at Dartmouth College, has identified a twist on that theme in American politics over the last generation. Support for Republican candidates, who generally promise to cut government spending, has increased since 1980 in states where the federal government spends more than it collects. The greater the dependence, the greater the support for Republican candidates.

Conversely, states that pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits tend to support Democratic candidates. And Professor Lacy found that the pattern could not be explained by demographics or social issues.”

Mother Jones points out  that most red states receive more money from the federal government than they pay in taxes.


1. New Mexico: $2.63
2. West Virginia: $2.57
3. Mississippi: $2.47
4. District of Colombia: $2.41
5. Hawaii: $2.38
6. Alabama: $2.03
7. Alaska: $1.93
8. Montana: $1.92
9. South Carolina: $1.92
10. Maine: $1.78

With the exception of New Mexico, most of these states tend to vote for Republicans, who have made clear that they want to cut most of these services, reduce taxes on the wealthy, and place a “fair share” of the tax burden on those who “pay nothing” into the system. The GOP is crystal-clear in their agenda, but many of the most conservative voters are the very ones who will suffer should these draconian cuts be made. Are they simply delusional, or do they truly have no idea how much they actually are benefitting from these government programs?

Should voters get what they are asking for? Cut the earned-income credit, reduce Social Security benefits & Medicare coverage? These are the “problem areas” when it comes to spending. (Other than The Untouchables: Defense-spending, and subsidies, loopholes and breaks for corporations & the wealthy). The greatest recipients of “welfare” are the Middle Class, the elderly & disabled, and children. If we are brave enough to actually follow through with courage of conviction, we would have to be stoic about the havoc it will wreak in these populations. To think that private enterprises will step in to save the weakest among us is to ignore history and human nature.

5 thoughts on “Many Red States Receive More in Federal Aid Than They Pay in Taxes

  1. Wow. Sharp analysis. Except that DC is controlled by Democrats. As is Hawaii. And West Virginia. And Montana. And Maine. So 5 of 10 are controlled by Democrats. What is point of article again?

    1. The point of the article is to say that red states use the safety net as much or more than blue states. The list is the top ten in federal dollars received, not a list of red states. We already know that liberals are a bunch of freeloaders who love free stuff, but don’t seem to realize that red states are just as in love with their entitlements. If you follow the link to the article, you will read that 86 percent of states that voted for McCain in 2008 receive more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes versus the 55 percent of states that voted for Obama. A better measure is the county by county vote. The counties who depend most on federal aid voted overwhelmingly for McCain, giving lie to the notion that so-called moochers only vote for liberals. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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