From Michael Lind:
The citizens of red states like Texas can enjoy lower state and local taxes in part because of the success of their elected representatives in Washington in redistributing income from the blue-state rich to red state social programs.
This is not new information, but it does irritate the bleep out of me. And then you’ve got California, which is not necessarily a “red state” but which has put itself into severe financial jeopardy because it refuses to tax itself enough to pay for its own government services.
This is a situation that the Founding Fathers didn’t envision, I don’t think. And as Lind points out, the “moocher” states also are stealing jobs from the “benefactor” states by offering business cheaper labor and lower environmental regulations. Oh, and tax cuts. The federal taxes paid by union workers in the north are helping to ship union jobs to moocher “right to work” states. So, the moocher states are mooching wealth out of the whole country in more ways than one.
I have a fantasy solution that will never happen: Attach some strings to federal tax dollars given to states. Require states to levy some minimal rate of taxes on income and investments before they can receive federal tax money. This would not affect federal benefits going directly to citizens, and I would also not include Medicaid in this. Genuinely poor states would not have to match the amount of revenue collected with that of wealthier states, but wealthier states would not be able to let its citizens skate while leeching money from everyone else.
When conservatives scream bloody murder, show them the Laffer curve. Tell them that according to their own theories, cutting taxes grows tax revenue. So, why do they continue to need federal subsidies that other states are not getting? If they are running short of funds, they can just cut taxes more!
The downside of this is that a lot of citizens of moocher states would genuinely suffer, for a while. But maybe they’d finally get off their butts and get to a voting booth and throw the bums out. Call it tough love.
The Lind article is pretty good. A little more:
Donâ€™t be fooled by talk of the â€œlibertarianâ€ West. Red state America is really just the former Confederacy, including Texas, with some over-represented, low-population Mountain and Plains states thrown in. The social ideal of the neo-Confederate right can be summed up as follows: voters who donâ€™t work and workers who donâ€™t vote.
Ever since the federal government deprived them of their slaves, the Southern elite has sought to create the functional equivalent of slavery, by creating a low-wage work force stripped of bargaining power and voting rights. Until the civil rights revolution, the neo-Confederates did this on the economic side by creating unfree labor systems like tenant farming and the convict-lease system, as well as â€œright-to-workâ€ laws to stifle unionization in their region. Keeping welfare benefits low, and controlled by local elites, forces Southern workers to accept jobs on the terms offered by Southern employers. On the political side, Dixieâ€™s politicians used poll taxes and residency requirements to strip poor blacks and poor whites of the right to vote.
Some of Lind’s carping at “Starbucksy neighborhoods with subsidized mass transit for credentialed hipsters in brick-walled lofts” is unjustified, but otherwise he makes some good points.