Who Benefits Most From Federal Dollars? Red States

Some of the memes of rural Republicans include: “the government is taxing us to death,” “we’re paying for other people’s programs” “where’s the benefit to the working man person?”.  Tea Party protests against government are being held on sidewalks, streets and in parks designed, paid for, cleaned and lit  by- you guessed it- the very taxes they’re protesting. Irony is begging for attention here.

Especially- according to the following article- in the red states:

It’s no secret: The federal budget is expanding faster than tax revenues, a trend that’s been fueled by the rapid growth of entitlement programs and exacerbated by the recession. As a recent New York Times article documents, even as fiscally conservative lawmakers complain about deficit spending, their constituents don’t want to give up the Social Security checks, Medicare

benefits, and earned income tax credits that provide a safety net for the struggling middle class…

States receiving the most federal funding per tax dollar paid:

R >20 R 10–20 R 3–10 R <3 to D <3 D 3–10 D 10–...

Image via Wikipedia

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

Read the full article (with interactive maps) here.

The Irony Of Rehberg’s Labor Day Column

…is not lost on Mr Pogreba:

Contrary to what subdivision ranchers in Congress might think, Labor Day is not the culmination of a month-long taxpayer funded vacation, but a celebration of the importance of the union movement and workers in this country. As the Department of Labor notes, the day is “dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

And that’s what makes printing Rehberg’s pablum today so absurd and so offensive. Throughout his career in government, Rehberg has been hostile to the unions and workers today is meant to celebrate.

And, oh, so much more…. For some fun facts, statistics and scathing analysis, read the rest here.

This Socialism Thing Has Got To Go

This originally appeared on Facebook and was written by my friend and Carroll College classmate, Joey Laythe in answer to the question “If America is going Socialist and Socialism is bad–then what is the solution?” Brilliant.

My Cure To End Socialism by Joseph Laythe, Ph.D
If we truly want to go to a “free-market” economy and do away with government interference, we will have to do the following:
  1. End FDIC and pray our banks don’t collapse as they did by the thousands during the Great Depression. In 1932 alone, over 2000 banks closed their doors and, in doing so, closed off access to their depositors $1.7 bill in assets. Bankers will do what’s in the interest of the consumer? Maybe we should be smart and keep our money in our mattresses.
  2. End FDA and pray that our local butcher can handle the new traffic. Please re-read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle for more about the horrors of the meat packing industry. Food manufacturers should be focusing on profit not on government regulations. Maybe some of us like fingers and rat tails and feces in our meat.
  3. End the EPA and re-start the polluting of the environment with industrial waste, by-products and toxins. Corporations should be free to do with their goods as they damn well please.
  4. End the era of a mandatory Minimum Wage. If a worker wants better pay, let them find another job. We need to compete with Malaysia.
  5. End U.S. Postal Service. Let UPS and Fed Ex do the work, we can afford that. Who cares about security and privacy—we want it privatized. I resent the fact that a uniformed representative of the federal government comes to my door anyway— now that’s intrusiveness.
  6. Let the Federal Interstate system go private. Only wealthy tourists and corporations are using it anyway. Make it one giant corporate toll-road system.
  7. End Anti-Trust Laws. If corporations want to use their leverage against the American consumer, so be it. We can always boycott items. And what’s so wrong with a monopoly—isn’t that the point of capitalism—make more money than the other guy and drive him out of competition?
  8. End safety regulations. If I want to drive without my seat belt and I have an accident and my body flies around in the car and kills other people safely strapped inside, maybe they should have thought twice before getting in the car with me. Oh, and car seats for kids—overrated.
  9. End universal health care. Who gives a rat’s ass about the schmuck in East St. Louis who can’t afford preventive health care even though he’s worked hard his entire life. Maybe if he had been born into a middle class family, he’d be better off. Get born under better circumstances, dude. Let the hospitals and health care companies take care of our pocket books like they are supposed to.
  10. End federal college loans. After all, the only folks worthy of a college education are those whose parents make enough money to send them off on their own. Federal loans simply enable smart kids to get smarter—and we need to stop enabling people.
…and this FEMA thing has to go…let the folks move to higher ground.
And for even more irony, read this.

Gays, Welcome To The Tea Party?

I was the first blogger to break the news of the hateful dialog in which Montana Tea Party president Tim Ravndal was caught. In short, he appeared to advocate the torture/lynching of gay people, conjuring up the disturbing image of Matthew Shepard. And yet, as a gay man living in the West, I couldn’t help but be surprised and somewhat impressed with the official response of the Big Sky Tea Party leadership in announcing Ravndal’s termination:

“We continually make it known that we will not tolerate bigoted dialog, behavior or messages at our functions, our meetings or within our ranks. “If a person demonstrates bigotry relative to race, sex, ethnicity, etc. they are not welcome in our organization. The Tea Party movement is about standing up for individual freedom for everyone,” said chairman Jim Walker.

Wow. Not bad.

So I naturally have to ask myself, “Is the Tea Party officially more gay-inclusive than the Republican Party?” Let me explain.

The Montana Republican party has in its platform plank (as, similarly, does Texas) explicit language calling for the criminalization of homosexual acts:

We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal.

As a party that touts its tolerance, this seems to me to be quite intolerant. In fact, the Big Sky Tea Party now comes across as much more inclusive, less bigoted and homophobic than the Montana GOP, whose official platform (since 2008) clearly is loaded with prejudice, bigotry and intolerance.

I want to be clear- I am not a Republican, a conservative or a Tea Party member. I am an Independent, liberal, gay man living in Montana. But I can’t help but be struck by the diplomacy of my so-called right-wing adversaries vs. the silence and established prejudice of the Grand Old Party.

Which brings me back to the question, “Is the Big Sky Tea Party more supportive of basic human rights than the Montana GOP?”

I find it amusing that we even have to ask the question- and yes, I can honestly appreciate the full-on irony of this moment. But still, no major Republican or Republican groups (even the gay one) has denounced this plank publicly, or even made any semblance of a fuss. Hell, the Democrats haven’t even said anything officially- maybe because it’s too easy. Whatever. It’s just been a few gadflies with an outraged sense of injustice.

So, the answer to the question, on paper anyway, seems to be “Yes”.

Tea anyone?

Update:
Jay Stevens has a more in-depth analysis on Left In The West. Thanks Jay!