[url=http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/05/which-states-are-givers-and-which-are-takers/361668/#disqus_thread]For my money, one of the more interesting maps appearing recently came from the personal-finance website Wallet Hub. Analysts there set out to determine how states compare in terms of their reliance on federal funding. The states deemed "most dependent" by the analysis are bright red on the map, those "least dependent" are bright green.[/url] (The map is interactive in the article.)
[quote]Part of the explanation for why southern states dominate the “most dependent” category is historical. During the many decades in the 20th century when the South was solidly Democratic, its congressional representatives in both the House and the Senate, enjoying great seniority, came to hold leadership positions on powerful committees, which they used to send federal dollars back to their home states in the form of contracts, projects, installations.
Another part of the explanation is easier to discern. The reddest states on that map at the top—Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, New Mexico, Maine—have exceptionally high poverty rates and thus receive disproportionately large shares of federal dollars. Through a variety of social programs, the federal government disburses hundreds of billions of dollars each year to maintain a “safety net” intended to help the neediest among us. Consider, for example, the percentage of each state’s residents who get “food stamps” through the federal government’s SNAP program.
[b]Alternatively, we could use the "state dependency" map as an opportunity to reflect on a different paradox—the longstanding role of the far-away federal government as an agent of community. Because of federal programs, people in places like South Carolina and Mississippi are getting a helping hand not from their neighbors a few blocks away or in the next county over, but from residents of Delaware, Minnesota, Illinois, and Nebraska. Whether you like that idea depends, in part, on how you personally reconcile the tension between two long-cherished, core American values—our passion for individualism and our regard for community—and whether you see "community" as encompassing the whole country. [/b]
That's a far more interesting thing to think about (though perhaps less viscerally satisfying) than which states are moochers or freeloaders and which are getting fleeced. [/quote]