Front page
Silflay Hraka?

Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar is.
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

bigwig AT

Friends of Hraka
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
Fragments from Floyd
The Feces Flinging Monkey
the skwib
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
The Greatest Jeneration
Ipse Dixit
Blog On the Run
Redwood Dragon
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Bo Cowgill
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Northwest Notes
The Blog from the Core
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Sasha Castel
Susskins Central Dispatch
Josh Heit
Aaron's Rantblog
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
Single Southern Guy
Jay Solo's Verbosity
Snooze Button Dreams
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
Geekward Ho
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
The Biomes Blog
See What You Share
Blog díElisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Pajama Pundits
Goddess Training 101
A & W
Medical Madhouse
Slowly Going Sane
The Oubliette
American Future
Right Side Redux
See The Donkey
Newbie Trucker
The Right Scale
Running Scared
Ramblings Journal
Focus On Reality
Wyatt's Torch

July 08, 2002

The Top 15 State Welfare Queens

One of the most consistent and logical argument against welfare boils down to "if you give poor people money with no strings attached, what you get is more poor people". Welfare reform was predicated on that basis. Try to improve your lot, or you lose your funds. Improve your lot enough, and you no longer need funds. And it's been working.

But there are other types of welfare. Tariffs on foreign steel are welfare for the steel industry. Paying farmers not to grow crops is welfare for farmers. Each of these have many detractors and few advocates, yet they remain in the budget year after year. Mohair anyone? Corporate welfare is as bad, if not worse, than funding the "Welfare Queens" of a generation ago.

But there's another large group of recipients for the federal largess, the states. This post grew out of a comment that I made back on Bill Quick's site a month or so ago. I don't remember the specific post, but the comment I made dealt specifically with the "pork" in the federal budget. Pork is universally decried, yet still ubiquitous in the yearly federal budget. Robert Byrd is known primarily as the master of pork barrel politics, as the inordinate number of things named after him in West Virginia testifies. But has anyone actually ever looked at the effect federal monies have on a state? If pork is good, then West Virginia ought to have one of the most potent economies ever. But no, West Virginia's economy has been in the dumps for quite a long time, and it's not getting any better. So could pork just be welfare for states, with all of the expected consequences?

For those of you who just want the shocking conclusions without all the dry and extremely boring explanations of how I crunched the numbers, here it is.

Not really. California consistently gets the most money from the government, year after year, and it consistently has the largest gross product, year after year. It also ranks consistently among the top 12 states in per capita income. A better argument might be Alaska, which rules the roost as far as average dollar amount sucked from the federal teat per person each year. Over the eleven years that I have data for, Alaska got an average of over $6400 for each an every citizen. On the opposite end of the scale is Wisconsin, managing to bring in only a measly $3303 for each of the cheeseheads. Alaska makes the top 10 as far as per capita income goes. Wisconsin doesnít even crack the top 20.

But wait!. There is a way to see which states are pulling their own weight, and which ones arenít. There are states that consistently get large amounts of money from the government, yet have crappy gross domestic products, and low, low, low per capita income. These are the welfare queen states, the parasites on the body politic, the free cheese eating, unemployable baby machines that the rest of us support. So, without further ado, here are the Top 15 Welfare Queen states.

1. North Dakota
2. Montana
3. West Virginia
4. Idaho
5. South Dakota
6. New Mexico
7. Mississippi
8. Utah
9. Arkansas
10. Vermont
11. Wyoming
12. Maine
13. Kentucky
14. Oklahoma
15. South Carolina

North Dakota, obviously a drunken wife-beater of a state, consistently ranks in the top ten of federal dollars pulled in each year, about $5200, yet has an economy that consistently ranks last or next to last. The numbers crunched here donít include 1998 or 1999, since I canít find anything listing how much each state pulled down from Uncle Sugar after 1997, but North Dakota continued its stellar trend of pulling up the rear economy-wise, finishing ahead of only Vermont. The unhardy Dakotans also have a per capita income ($17,581 average) that dwells in the bottom 10 states. Maybe we should just give it back to the Indians.

Then thereís Montana, where people donít want government in their lives unless the government shuts up, bends over while Montana does its business and then pays Montana for the pleasure. Which it does, granting the Big Sky Country an average of $4662 a year for every one of its cowpokers, good for the top ten. Montanaís gross domestic product? Fourth from last. Per capita income? An average of $17,060 - 7th from last.

Conversley, since there are states that should probably be given back to the Indians, there are others that do more than earn their keep. Upright, sturdy citizens with a sense of community, who go to work sober each day, and give to charity until it hurts. They are thrify, brave, clean and reverent. Here are the top 15 Boy Scout States of America.

1. New York
2. New Jersey
3. California
4. Illinois
5. Massachusetts
6. Maryland
7. Connecticut
8. Pennsylvania
9. Florida
10. Virginia
11. Michigan
12. Ohio
13. Washington
14. Minnesota
15. Texas

New York, despite not cracking the top twenty for federal largess, has an economy second only to Californiaís and a per capita income ($25154 average over the 11 years) in the top five.

There seems to be a trend here. Of the bottom 15 states, the Screeching Welfare Queens, 12 voted for Bush in the 2002 elections, including the top (bottom) five. Of the Boy scouts, 11 of the top 15, including the top 8, voted for Gore. I'll let you draw your own conclusions here. All economic analysis and no beer make bigwig a dull, tired boy, without his normal ability to create smarm out of nothingness.

If the federal government is going to hand out money, perhaps it should do so on the basis of a certain amount per citizen, call it $5000, for each of us. Once the total is calculated for a state, the government divides it up among the various channels it normally hands out money through. That way West Virginia and itís ilk will have to stop sponging off the rest of us, and Robert Byrd will have to figure out something that will help the people who elected him, rather than helping himself to whatever money is nearest.

The Boring Number Crunching Bit.
Yes, I know, like the previous parts were an edge of your seat thrill ride. I also know this is more boring because the wife said so. Sheís an accountant, and accountants know boring.

All figures below are taken from the time period of 1986 to 1997. I looked at the Gross domestic product (known as Gross state product, GSP) for each state yearly, the total population each year, the per capita income for the same period and the amount of money the state received from the federal government each year. All sources are available via the web. Here's a partial list. If you are unable to find the provenance for any of my numbers in the list below, let me know and I'll add more links.

Bureau of Economic Analysis - Regional accounts data
Gross State Product
The Book of the States 1991-92 Chapter 6
The Book of the States 1998-99, Chapter 6

For each year, I ranked the states 1 to 50 by GSP, by per capita income, and by dollars received from the federal government per person, which is calculated by dividing the total amount received by the population. To figure out the average ranking in each of these three categories over the 12 year period, I added all the rankings together, then divided by 12. To find the Welfare Queens and Boy Scouts, I then added the overall averages for GSP and Per capita income together and divided by two. North Dakota received the highest score, New York the lowest, for the period studied. Iíll add in more data as it comes in, but donít really expect the relative rankings to change that much. If youíd like a copy of the Access database and Excel spreadsheets I used, email me at the bigwig address.

Update: Reader response

Posted by Bigwig at July 8, 2002 11:18 PM | TrackBack
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.

Remember personal info?