Welfare States declare war on Donor States. But they have no money.
When you stop describing them as "red" states and "blue" states, the absurdity of the GOP's "civil war" talk is even more off the charts.
Image via Tracker Deep on X
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is stoking a new civil war, an actual military conflict with the federal government over control of the border. He’s using pre-Civil War legal theory and defying a Supreme Court ruling that allows federal law enforcement to remove razor wire barriers Texas had constructed on the border.
Coming to his aid are GOP governors across a large swath of Republican-dominated states that make up the Old Confederacy and more, what we might call New MAGAland. It comprises 25 in all, from Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi to Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Iowa.
Governors from those states, all Republicans, have vowed to send their state National Guard troops to the help the Texas National Guard battle the federal border patrol. Never mind that President Biden can federalize the National Guard in a second, taking away these troops from these states, which would be left to pledge local law enforcement to fight federal troops. It’s an absolutely insane moment.
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There’s been lots of discussion on how we got here and how these governors are tapping into an unconstitutional secessionist movement that includes armed extremists and white supremacists hell-bent on violence.
But there’s been less discussion about how these states are not only biting the hand that literally feeds them; they are the epitome of everything they claim to detest.
The great majority of them are what should be called Socialist Welfare States, completely on the dole of the federal government, unable to function without the federal taxation many of their politicians attack—let alone be able to fund a war and then live prosperously on their own. That’s because they contribute far less in federal taxes than they take in via federal programs, while Donor States are footing the bill, contributing far more money to the national pool than they take for themselves.
One of our readers of The Signorile Report, Jan Pfhul, who lives in the Donor State of California, has over a period of months brought together a lot of data in the comments on my weekend posts, and it had me digging into the research as well.
According to the Tax Foundation, in 2005, there were 19 Donor States. By 2019, there were just nine, with New York topping the list. Texas and Florida had fallen into the Socialist Welfare States group—yes, even as their governors rail against socialism—needing more federal dollars than they contribute, unlike California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.
To be fair, once-in-a-lifetime events can scramble this categorization temporarily, and the COVID-19 pandemic was such an event. Currently, post-pandemic, there are technically no Donor States in the U.S., per the most recent tax filings. That’s because every state needed federal money, and states with higher populations, and thus a greater COVID impact, actually needed more. So California and New York, for this short time, took in more than Wyoming did compared to what they paid.
But that’s a temporary blip. And even during the worst time of the pandemic, the blue Donor States saw huge increases in what they paid out in federal dollars. In 2019, California paid $14.2 billion in federal taxes, while in 2021, that had soared to $41.1 billion. New York’s tax bill rose from $24.5 billion to $33 billion, while Massachusetts went from $18 billion to $21.6 billion in 2021.
The Donor State/Welfare State status will most certainly revert back to what it was prior to the pandemic.
In 2019, the nine Donor States were New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, California, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Utah. All but one of them—Utah—blue states according their voting preferences in presidential elections.
Texas, which is the number two economy in the U.S. among the states (after California at number one), and Florida, which is at number four, have both nonetheless been Socialist Welfare States for several years prior to the pandemic, having once been Donor States. As Jan Pfhul stated in this newsletter’s comments, “Ron DeSantis has said he wants to make every state like Florida. Sure Ron, as long as there is a New York, California, New Jersey, etc., to pay for it.”
And the majority of GOP-dominated states have always been Welfare States for as far back as the data has been collected. South Carolina is typical. In 2019, South Carolina paid only $27.9 billion in federal taxes, while it took in $47.7 billion.
That’s not to say there are not Democratic states—like Maryland, for example—that have traditionally taken in more than they give. But their political leaders aren’t attacking socialism and now calling for civil war.
And it’s rich that the Welfare State governors are doing so by claiming they're going to use troops that aren’t really theirs and feed a complete fantasy that they’ll be able to fund a war and then economically survive. If the current group of states fomenting talk of secession and civil war actually did break away, they’d be flat broke, one big “shithole” country, as Donald Trump liked to say. And the rest of the states would comprise a fabulously wealthy new nation.
None of us, of course, should promote unconstitutional actions. And we do care about all those people trapped in the Socialist Welfare States who don’t agree with this lunacy and are terribly impacted by the GOP. But as a Donor State resident, you’re sure tempted to say to the secessionists: Be my guest! And, at the very least, to expose their gross hypocrisy.