An Interesting ‘Factoid’

According to Wallet Hub, a personal finance site

When Barack Obama won Indiana’s electoral votes in 2008, it was an anomaly: Indiana, which went Republican in every presidential election from 1968-2004, is one of the most conservative states in the Midwest and is much more Republican than Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois or Michigan. Pundits have often said that when it comes to politics, Indiana is “more southern than the South.” But the disdain that Indiana Republicans often express for “big government” rings false because according to Wallet Hub, Indiana receives $2.01 from the federal government for every federal tax dollar it contributes and receives 33% of its funding from Uncle Sam. Indiana Republicans can hate coastal Democrats all they want, but without the federal tax revenue Democratic areas generate, Indiana would have a hard time functioning.

It reminded me of this exchange from The West Wing (a show that has to rank as one of the all-time greats), during a Presidential campaign debate:

Governor Robert Ritchie, R-FL: My view of this is simple: we don’t need a Federal Department of Education telling us our children have to learn Esperanto, they have to learn Eskimo poetry. Let the states decide, let the communities decide on health care, on education, on lower taxes, not higher taxes. Now, he’s going to throw a big word at you – “unfunded mandate.” He’s going to say if Washington lets the states do it, it’s an unfunded mandate. But what he doesn’t like is the federal government losing power. But I call it the ingenuity of the American people.

Moderator: President Bartlet, you have 60 seconds for a question and an answer.

President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet: Well, first of all, let’s clear up a couple of things. “Unfunded mandate” is two words, not one big word. There are times when we’re fifty states and there are times when we’re one country, and have national needs. And the way I know this is that Florida didn’t fight Germany in World War II or establish civil rights. You think states should do the governing wall-to-wall. That’s a perfectly valid opinion. But your state of Florida got $12.6 billion in federal money last year – from Nebraskans, and Virginians, and New Yorkers, and Alaskans, with their Eskimo poetry. 12.6 out of a state budget of $50 billion. I’m supposed to be using this time for a question, so here it is: Can we have it back, please?

If Hoosiers had to give back the excess funds we get from the Feds, we’d be up that proverbial creek without that equally proverbial paddle….

 

9 thoughts on “An Interesting ‘Factoid’

  1. In receiving more federal money than it gives, Indiana is also like a Southern State.

    But, for some reason, I had thought we were closer to 1:1. But, it’s been a long time since I looked that up.

  2. I personally do not know a conservative who arrived there as a well considered rational conclusion. Well, perhaps William F. Buckley, a long time ago. Today’s variety have been led there by the handful of oligarchs who believe that wisdom is proportional to wealth and therefore America is stronger with them in charge.

    Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Bros, Sheldon Adelson, Grover Norquist, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, etc feel beknighted and entitled by their power to buy public opinion through mass media because they can, and more wealth and power would be further evidence of their God given superiority.

    Unfortunately our democracy and the magic of a Supreme Court majority appointed because they agree with that allows that deviousness.

    The only obstacle between them and full control are we, the people as voters and consumers and investors.

    Can a majority resist their siren song?

    I don’t know. I just don’t know.

  3. In watching a recent panel discussion on Scottish cessation, the same anti-government sentiments were sometimes expressed. Finally one panelist summarized it this way (paraphrased) – we Scots want all the benefits of U.K. government (national health care, national defense, stable monetary system, etc.) but we don’t want to pay for them.

    Politicians, pundits, and journalists spend an inordinate amount of time on complaints about government but little on what is necessary and working well. For instance, how many daily newspaper readers saw any report that the administrative costs of the government’s Medicare program are about 1/8th the administrative costs of private insurance?

    Unfortunately the media today too often interpret the ‘public’s right to know’ as what’s sensational rather than on news you can use to make informed decisions. That’s why I’m thankful for folks like you Sheila.

  4. I personally do not know a conservative who arrived there as a well considered rational conclusion. Well, perhaps William F. Buckley, a long time ago. Today’s variety have been led there by the handful of oligarchs who believe that wisdom is proportional to wealth and therefore America is stronger with them in charge.

    Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Bros, Sheldon Adelson, Grover Norquist, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, etc feel beknighted and entitled by their power to buy public opinion through mass media because they can, and more wealth and power would be further evidence of their God given superiority. It is they who feel that not only do they not need government, it stands in their way of domination.

    Unfortunately our democracy and the magic of a Supreme Court majority appointed because they agree with that allows that deviousness.

    The only obstacle between them and full control are we, the people as voters and consumers and investors.

    Can a majority resist their siren song?

    I don’t know. I just don’t know.

  5. Indiana actually used to be a “maker” state for many years, a term recently used by the author of this blog to erroneously describe the fiscal relationship between Indianapolis and the rest of the state. In 1981 Indiana received only 81 cents in federal spending for every dollar its citizens and businesses sent to Washington. But by 2005, this deteriorated to $1.05, and throughout the Daniels and Pence administrations it is now in the neighborhood of $1.81-$2.01 depending on whose numbers you use. That is, we spend between $1.81 and $2.01 out of the federal budget for every dollar we send to the US Treasury.

    The single biggest contributing factor of course is falling median incomes and the loss of thousands of middle class jobs. THAT, unfortunately, is the real underlying characteristic that we share with Southern states, which have traditionally had far lower incomes than the Eastern, Midwestern and Far Western states since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. So, as a result of Indiana’s full tilt participation in the “race to the bottom”, our leaders and their economic development minions can confidently trot off on another junket to China and Japan and beg, plead and bribe them to locate their manufacturing facilities in Indiana.

    So, where does all that Federal money go once it’s become 33% of Indiana’s budget? That’s harder to discern, but it certainly isn’t military bases, nor NSA data centers. The big three state spending categories are Education, Social Services, and Infrastructure (roads). If you have more people among the ranks of the the working poor and just plain poor than you did before, then the Fed is likely sending more Title I Education dollars our way, as well as TANF, SNAP and a host of other grants to support a range of services to needy families (including, belatedly, the extra $2M released by Pence from his budget reversion policy). The higher concentrations of Hoosiers in those categories are in the urban centers: namely Indianapolis, Gary, South Bend/Mishawaka/Elkhart, Ft. Wayne, Terre Haute, Evansville. As for roads, Indiana has in recent years outspent many states largely due to the windfall from leasing out its toll road for 75 years. All but $500M of the $3.8B one-time lease payment has already been spent or committed to contracts. Most of that money was matched 80% by USDOT funds for major projects that will benefit mostly people that live in or near Indianapolis, such as: the I69 connection from the North side of Evansville to nowhere, the conversion of I37 to I69 that is not necessary, the fixing and widening of I65 into Indianapolis from both the North and the South, the building of two major interchanges onto I465 on the North side of Indianapolis for the needy citizens of Fishers and Carmel, the widening of I69 on the North side of Indianapolis to something like 20 lanes now, and the widening of US31 into and out of Indianapolis.

    Hoosiers across the state are happy that so many of our central Indiana citizens can enjoy not living in Indianapolis but still work and play there and not have to pay the cost of doing so.

    http://taxfoundation.org/data-taxtopic/883

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_taxation_and_spending_by_state

    http://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-least-dependent-on-the-federal-government/2700/

  6. In reading these remarks, I think we need to tell the states yearning for secession that we will try a five year experiment with them: they totally run their show and the Fed totally pulls out all funding and support services. After all that’s what they have been yelling for. The states should be third world nations after a month or two.

  7. If you’ve ever wondered why the Republicans have so knowingly warned us about the “takers”–now you know. They’ve been doing it for years. To be fair, state legislators of all stripes and in many states have been siding with the rural and suburban “takers” to the disadvantage of the urban “makers” for decades.

    Sorry, those terms have me sounding too much like Mitt Romney – whose father knew better.

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