Have you heard rumblings of a counter tea party movement afoot in the land which calls the tea party "the bite the hand that feeds you caucus?" A rogue e-mail making the rounds called the movement: "free loading, progress-blocking, benefit grabbing,resource sucking, violent and hypocritical."
Southern politicians in particular complain about BIG GOVERNMENT and TAXES because it resonates easily and conforms to the post civil war self-perception of that region as victims of northern conspiracies.
However, as it turns out, in spite of their persistent anti-government rhetoric, Southern politicians are complety comfortable accepting the last line of Tennessee Williams' play, "A Streetcar Named Desire": "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." Down South it has become habitual to do just that. Southerners get back a whole lot more than they give in taxes.
America's wealth is indeed being redistributed -- from what the independent Tax Foundation calls the "giving states" of New York, New Jersey, New England, most of the northeast and California --- to the receiving states" consisting of all of the south and ironically, Alaska.
For example, those poor socialists in New Jersey only get back 56 cents on the tax dollar. But for every tax dollar Mississippi sends to Washington they get back $2.02, more than doubling their money! That's a Madoff return paid by the "giving states". Same for Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, West Virginia, Rand Paul's Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina. Then of course, there is Alaska.
The South gets the re-distribution of federal tax money because it seems least capable of helping itself out, It has:
* The lowest per cap % of high school diplomas.
* The fewest college degrees per capita.
* The highest rates of adult illiteracy and often their illiteracy rate exceeds their unemployment rate. E.G. in Mississippi, adult illiteracy is 16% and unemployment is 11.5%. Illiteracy in Alabama is 15% and unemployment is 11%. These means that Southern states have may adults working who cannot read beyond the 5th grade level. THUS ---
* The highest poverty rates and the lowest average household income in the nation.
* The highest percentages of citizens without health insurance yet most likely to call health care reform "socialism."
* The most unhealthy region in the nation, leading in obesity, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, cancer deaths per 100,000 while managing to excerise the least.
* The most violent region in the country being a majority of the top 18 states states in deaths by firearms. (Louisiana - 19.5 firearm deaths per 100,000. Mississippi, 17.3 deaths per 100,000 etc. as oppposed to New York with 5.1 per 100,000 or Massachusetts with 3.1 per 100,000 etc.)
* With 35% of the population, the South has created only 17% of the nation's patents over the last 25 years. California alone with 10% of the national population, has nearly 20% of the patents over the last 25 years.
* Louisiana is a special welfare case having a long established dysfunctional dependence on the oil industry in its economy, its politics, in its winking willingness to debase the environment all combining to create an oil based modern plantation mentality. They attack the federal government on the national news everyday for being slow or for failing to act to "restore our way of life" after the BP disaster as if American taxpayers are morally obligated to maintain the oil plantation to which Louisianans' sold out long ago.
Now some Southern public office holders and seekers from Tennessee to Texas are directly or indirectly talking about sucession and this has many others wondering if that is a threat or a promise.
Redistribution of wealth? The South appears to be on the dole and things there have a way of never managing to get any better. Perhaps our Southern brethren should stand up for their outspoken beliefs and send the money back. Or perhaps they should consider jumping on the "Street Car Named Get Serious".