Two different "unions"

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Submitted by harvey on May 9, 2012 - 7:48am

This is an interesting take on the difference between the EU and our own union:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arch...

What is also interesting is the correlation between the political leanings of various states vs. how federal money is transferred between them.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychar...

Perhaps instead of "red state" and "blue state" we should be saying "in the red" and "in the black."

It is hypocrisy on a trillion-dollar scale.

Submitted by briansd1 on May 9, 2012 - 9:20am.

Yep, I've been saying that.

I think that, us progressives, should just give the conservatives what they want. Let's get rid of regulations that provide services to the less populated states.

Economic distribution should be based on efficiency, economies of scale, and maximum profits. It's all about FREEDOM.

Submitted by harvey on May 9, 2012 - 10:02am.

I have no problem with many policies that transfer money from the rich to the the poor, including the rural poor.

But let's at least represent it as what it is.

A lot of folks in Mississippi are going to be in for a rude awakening if the Tea Party types get their way.

Submitted by briansd1 on May 9, 2012 - 10:28am.

harvey wrote:
I have no problem with many policies that transfer money from the rich to the the poor, including the rural poor.

But let's at least represent it as what it is.

I feel the same as you do. But...

harvey wrote:

A lot of folks in Mississippi are going to be in for a rude awakening if the Tea Party types get their way.

... if that's what they want, let them have cake.

Tea Party types are gaining in the heartland.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-...

One type of wasteful government spending I'd support getting rid of immediately is subsidies for airports. It should be about the number of passenger flown and supply and demand. Why are we funding airports that get only a couple flights a day? Those passengers should be driving.

Come to think of it, why are we funding roads that only get a few drivers per day? Those roads are white elephant projects that are sucking off our money.

Submitted by AN on May 9, 2012 - 10:51am.

briansd1 wrote:
One type of wasteful government spending I'd support getting rid of immediately is subsidies for airports. It should be about the number of passenger flown and supply and demand. Why are we funding airports that get only a couple flights a day? Those passengers should be driving.

Come to think of it, why are we funding roads that only get a few drivers per day? Those roads are white elephant projects that are sucking off our money.


The same reason why CA is going to have a high speed train?

Submitted by briansd1 on May 9, 2012 - 11:17am.

AN wrote:

The same reason why CA is going to have a high speed train?

Yep, pretty much the same reason.

But I believe that high speed rail is block grants to the states.

On the other hand, Federal airport subsidies are budget items which are renewed year after year. And remember all those TSA agents we pay to sit around doing nothing because there are so few passengers at rural airports.

Submitted by ocrenter on May 9, 2012 - 12:49pm.

The issue at hand is we may be looking at law of unintended consequence here.

walfare seemingly protects the poor, but it also breeds dependency and entitlement as well as paradoxical anger at the hands that feed them.

The classic example is the homeowner living rent free for the last 3-4 years as they fight foreclosure. The system is giving them a handout in the form of free rent. but these guys are sicker and angrier the longer they stay in the pending foreclosure. in the end, they hate the bank even though they got tens of thousands of benefit in free rent.

I agree with brian, let the Tea Party get their wish. it is what is right and it is what is just.

Submitted by jstoesz on May 9, 2012 - 1:13pm.

The colors on the map seem to have more with where there are major metropolitan areas, big cities tend to allow people to make big bucks. Because top earners pay the lion’s share of taxes. There is no opportunity to make the big bucks in Albequrque, so they pay almost no federal income taxes. My guess is this isn’t a redstate blue state issue, it is a progressive income tax issue. Half of all households don’t pay federal income tax, you have to have some serious high earners to make up for that. The rural republican states just don’t have that high income tax base that major metropolitan states have.

Maybe this is an argument for flattening the tax base…

This is not the whole reason, but I would suspect it’s a biggie.

Submitted by briansd1 on May 9, 2012 - 1:45pm.

jstoesz wrote:

Maybe this is an argument for flattening the tax base…

And where will the shortfall in revenue come from?

I think that we should cut expenses before we cut revenue.

Too bad that the post office is not fully closing the 3000+ rural post offices they planned to. But the new plan of partial hours is better than nothing.

It if makes it less convenient for the rural voters to vote by mail, then tough luck. As far as I know, convenience is not written in the Constitution.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/arti...

Also, if we allow the telcos to operate based on market forces and shutdown unprofitable areas, the rest of use would enjoy cheaper service. It about the freedom that job creaters have to operate based on profits.

Submitted by Allan from Fallbrook on May 9, 2012 - 1:58pm.

briansd1 wrote:
jstoesz wrote:

Maybe this is an argument for flattening the tax base…

And where will the shortfall in revenue come from?

I think that we should cut expenses before we cut revenue.

Too bad that the post office is not fully closing the 3000+ rural post offices they planned to. But the new plan of partial hours is better than nothing.

It if makes it less convenient for the rural voters to vote by mail, then tough luck. As far as I know, convenience is not written in the Constitution.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/arti...

Also, if we allow the telcos to operate based on market forces and shutdown unprofitable areas, the rest of use would enjoy cheaper service. It about the freedom that job creaters have to operate based on profits.

Uh, Brian, is that you, or did someone steal your handle? You're advocating market forces and profitability as being a determining factor in decision making? You know where all this might lead, don't you?

Submitted by AN on May 9, 2012 - 2:34pm.

briansd1 wrote:
AN wrote:

The same reason why CA is going to have a high speed train?

Yep, pretty much the same reason.

But I believe that high speed rail is block grants to the states.

On the other hand, Federal airport subsidies are budget items which are renewed year after year. And remember all those TSA agents we pay to sit around doing nothing because there are so few passengers at rural airports.


Makes no differences how the wasted money get wasted. It's still wasted. Although I would be one of the user of said bullet train, so I hope this money will be wasted for my own selfish usage.

Submitted by harvey on May 9, 2012 - 2:55pm.

jstoesz wrote:
The colors on the map seem to have more with where there are major metropolitan areas [...]

Looking at the list of states in the Economist article, it appears that there's more than one major influence.

Delaware is the biggest "loser." I suspect this is because many big companies are incorporated in the state, so it is a bit of an anomaly.

There is a some trend, but not a very strong correlation between "big city" states and transfers. For example, Pennsylvania is neither a winner nor loser but it has much bigger cities, many more people, and likely a higher income base than Arkansas who is a "loser."

Another thing to consider is that not all transfers are due to welfare type programs, as not all federal spending is welfare. Some states have more federal activities like military bases, a higher concentration of defense contractors, infrastructure projects, etc. For example I know the federal government spends a lot of money on flood prevention on the Mississippi river. Military spending may explain New Mexico, since there is a high proportion of bases there, and welfare programs probably explain why states like West Virginia are the biggest "winners."

But for whatever the reasons, states who are generally against "big federal government" are the ones who benefit from it most.

Flattening the tax base would not remedy this problem (if it even is a problem), and the only effect would be that the government would have less revenue. "Tax the poor" is a mathematically infeasible solution for any of our budget woes.

Once again, the Daily Show brings clarity:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-au...

And for those that take themselves too seriously to see the credibility in the Daily Show, try this:

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=vie...

Submitted by mike92104 on May 9, 2012 - 2:59pm.

Allan from Fallbrook wrote:
briansd1 wrote:
jstoesz wrote:

Maybe this is an argument for flattening the tax base…

And where will the shortfall in revenue come from?

I think that we should cut expenses before we cut revenue.

Too bad that the post office is not fully closing the 3000+ rural post offices they planned to. But the new plan of partial hours is better than nothing.

It if makes it less convenient for the rural voters to vote by mail, then tough luck. As far as I know, convenience is not written in the Constitution.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/arti...

Also, if we allow the telcos to operate based on market forces and shutdown unprofitable areas, the rest of use would enjoy cheaper service. It about the freedom that job creaters have to operate based on profits.

Uh, Brian, is that you, or did someone steal your handle? You're advocating market forces and profitability as being a determining factor in decision making? You know where all this might lead, don't you?

I think it's more about strategically cutting off and disenfranchising the rural republican vote.

Submitted by briansd1 on May 9, 2012 - 3:06pm.

AN wrote:

Makes no differences how the wasted money get wasted. It's still wasted. Although I would be one of the user of said bullet train, so I hope this money will be wasted for my own selfish usage.

So you support the train because you would use it. Makes perfect sense to me.

The problem I have is with people who are against programs that benefit them, which is a general theme of this thread.

Submitted by AN on May 9, 2012 - 3:43pm.

briansd1 wrote:
So you support the train because you would use it. Makes perfect sense to me.

The problem I have is with people who are against programs that benefit them, which is a general theme of this thread.


Yes, I support it because I'd use it. I know it doesn't pay for itself through ridership, but I only have to pay a tiny portion of it. But I'm also selfish.

WRT to hypocrisies, I'm sure there are hypocrisies from everywhere you look. Hypocrisies just doesn't exist in rural area. One example would be people who buy hybrid to be green, but then also buy a mcMansion far away from work, which require them to commute further and complain about traffic. Or how about people who are pro-choice, saying women should have the right to do whatever they want with their body, but then turn around and be anti prostitution.

Submitted by all on May 9, 2012 - 3:46pm.

briansd1 wrote:
And remember all those TSA agents we pay to sit around doing nothing because there are so few passengers at rural airports.

It takes only one terrorist to take down an airplane.

Submitted by poorgradstudent on May 9, 2012 - 4:11pm.

Bottom line, a big part of why California has such "Budget Problems" is the Federal Government takes from California and gives to sparsely populated, historically Republican states like Mississippi, who then complain about the size of the Federal Government.

Submitted by jstoesz on May 9, 2012 - 4:30pm.

poorgradstudent wrote:
Bottom line, a big part of why California has such "Budget Problems" is the Federal Government takes from California and gives to sparsely populated, historically Republican states like Mississippi, who then complain about the size of the Federal Government.

There's a good argument for a limited federal government...

A lot of people feel this problem is the fallout of the 17th amendment. Senators were no longer beholden to state financial constraints.

Submitted by enron_by_the_sea on May 9, 2012 - 4:41pm.

AN wrote:

The same reason why CA is going to have a high speed train?

For every $1 that Feds give to CA for HSR, we will have to spend something like $9 to build this white elephant. I would rather not have that type of generosity from the feds!

Submitted by jstoesz on May 9, 2012 - 4:47pm.

I agree with much of what Brian and Harvey/pri said. Although, I do think the wealth disparity of cities vs country has much to do with the problem (unlike pri), I agree that it is not everything. And Pri’s point is solid that not all federal outlays in states are due to welfare, such as army corps or engineering/defense work, although I have no idea what percent of federal spending that stuff is and how it fits into the whole picture.

Another thought I had which goes to what brian was talking about, is related to the cost associated with low population density. I would assume federal highway funding for a state like S. Dakota is quite high on a per capita basis compared to Rhode Island, but it is beneficial for the whole nation to have I-90 and I-94 running through its borders. Similarly, Farm subsidies are definitely a benefit to rural states, but those subsidies are also a benefit to everyone who buys their product by providing cheaper food (albeit to a lesser degree, and I am no friend of farm subsidies). Etc, etc. It is not immediately apparent what level of federal outlays benefit the nation as a whole, and what level are only useful to the states themselves.

My only point in all this is to show that the map doesn’t really tell you a whole lot. Or at least it is not as hypocritical after first blush.

Submitted by no_such_reality on May 9, 2012 - 9:49pm.

ocrenter wrote:
I agree with brian, let the Tea Party get their wish. it is what is right and it is what is just.

Ironically, that's why I say we need to turn the democrats loose in California with a 2/3rds majority.

IOW, tune in next month to see the future written in Greek.

Submitted by harvey on May 10, 2012 - 6:25am.

jstoesz wrote:
It is not immediately apparent what level of federal outlays benefit the nation as a whole, and what level are only useful to the states themselves.

And that's exactly why gross generalizations like "we need smaller federal government" are useless.

ALL of government is a redistribution of wealth, no matter what level (federal/state/local.)

The whole point of ANY government is synergy - the idea that everyone is better off when we do certain things collectively.

Simply calling for "leave it to the states" on every issue ignores the whole point of government. Maybe some things are better at the state level, maybe not, but each has to be addressed individually.

And, even within states, we have similar transfers of wealth. You live in Northern California, right? Did you know that us "southlanders" take all of your water?

Submitted by jstoesz on May 10, 2012 - 9:00am.

Pri, I agree with you. It is all about striking the right balance. We may differ on the balance here and there...

Libertarians and socialists are both painfully naive. They believe their own Reductio ad absurda.

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