Following the Money
The blue bar graph lists each state’s per capita tax burden (left hand scale). The median lies between Oregon and Kansas, about $5,600 per person. 17 of the 25 states above the median (68%) voted for Kerry, while 23 of the 25 states below the median (92%) voted for Bush.
The red line is even more interesting. That’s the return on investment that each state enjoys due to federal taxes. Oregon seems to have it just about right on both scales. A 100% ROI (right hand scale) represents a perfect balance of paying taxes and receiving benefits. If we think of states as citizens, then the “good” citizens might be the ones who pay more than their share of taxes to support their less fortunate fellow citizens. Or, if you’re a Republican, you may think that those state-citizens are naive patsies who don’t stand up for themselves–losers according to the wisdom of the political marketplace, like someone who lets the tougher kids take their lunch money.
Of the 16 states that pay more taxes than they receive in benefits, 13 voted for Kerry (81%). Of the 33 states that receive more than they pay in, 27 voted for Bush (82%).
The data suggest that those pulling more than their share want to do more, while those doing less than their share want to do even less, and are happy to bankrupt a system that they apparently don’t feel responsible for.
A PDF of the graph is available here.