It’s not my deFault.

Okay, today’s news is filled with discussions of Republicans suggesting that we don’t actually have to default after October 17th.
Rand Paul says a default is just “balancing the budget” – yeah, by not paying the mortgage!

“It really is irresponsible of the president to try to scare the markets,” said Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky. “If you don’t raise your debt ceiling, all you’re saying is, ‘We’re going to be balancing our budget.’ So if you put it in those terms, all these scary terms of, ‘Oh my goodness, the world’s going to end’ — if we balance the budget, the world’s going to end? Why don’t we spend what comes in?”
“If you propose it that way,” he said of not raising the debt limit, “the American public will say that sounds like a pretty reasonable idea.”

Well, now some Rs are saying it’s not just about Obamacare but all the deficit and national debt…
So here’s a few numbers to play with.
According to much economic research, there is a correlation between states that mooch off the Federal deficit and states that vote Republican. Slate has an excellent analysis. Now, comparing this data with the election maps shows a pretty clear connection.

Looking at the numbers (2005 is the latest available here), cutting off just the excess payments to the worst ten states (per capita) would save about $125 billion per year. That’s not cutting off all payments, just the excess above what those states pay in federal taxes.

This is a sum greater than the “sequester” cuts, which Republicans would say didn’t hurt anybody.

Unfortunately, a great deal of that excess payment money (Slate, again) is anti-poverty payments. Yes, the poorest states are also the most conservative. Or maybe, the most conservative states are also the poorest – you make the call.
So, do the red-state, tea party types hate spending because it largely flows to the poorest in their communities? Is spending on the poor more visible in the very poor states, and thus an easier target?

Maybe they are actually compassionate, caring people in their own lives. But they don’t seem to be willing to be compassionate to the strangers in their midst.

Here’s another story – this time from The American Conservative (from September 2012) looking at the number of people in each state who don’t pay Federal income tax (the infamous 47%). Turns out, 47% is pretty high. The states with the most “non-payers” have about 40% non-payers; the states with the fewest are around 30%. (Wait, who files a return and has no tax liability? Poor people, mostly, whose deductions outweigh their tax liability. Most of them file to get their withholdings back.)
Again, it’s the poorer, more conservative Deep South states that have the most zero-liability returns. Except for a few Rural West states (ND, WY, AK), most of the highest-liability states are “blue states”.

All in all, I think Albert Alligator explained it best:

Pogo by Walt Kelly, April 14, 1956 found at

This is not an overly coherent post. Busy week. But, some interesting tidbits. I just double-dare Obama to say that debt service comes first, poverty relief second, and any other payments to states, or military bases & contractors located therein, whose senators and/or representatives vote for default get lowest priority.


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