New York’s The Street is about what you’d expect for a publication with that name — they’re all about that money, and they don’t delve much into cultural politics that don’t affect their bank accounts. That’s not to say The Street is out of culture entirely; you’d probably recognize one of its founders, hedge fund manager James Cramer, from the first Iron Man movie. He had a brief cameo, screaming from a television set, smashing coffee mugs and advising stockholders to “ABANDON SHIP!” from Stark Industries.
But aside from underestimating Robert Downy Jr., Cramer’s people generally stay out of politics. Well…except for this time. Just for fun, The Street writer Kurumi Fukushima recently compiled a list of the ten most and least socialist states in the country.
Of course, we’ve known for some time that the biggest Federal welfare queens are red states, Walmart and Exxon. In the former case, red states almost without exception get more money from the federal government than they pay in taxes; despite accusations about maker and takers, the reality is that the blue states are almost universally paying to support the red. That much isn’t news.
But, turns out, there’s another, more Wall Street-y way to verify the biggest moochers below the federal level. That is, the most hand-out-friendly states in the country, apart from federal welfare.
Kurumi observed that one of the telltale indicators of a socialist state is the amount of money the state spends on things in the state versus the amount of money it makes. Highly socialist states spend a lot more of the money they make on social services, welfare, healthcare, infrastructure and doing all the things that government is supposed to do. You know…Big Government stuff. Less socialist states spend less on those things as a proportion of their gross domestic product.
First, the Ten LEAST socialist states, according to this metric. These are the keepers, the ones offering least out of their total cashflow to the population and function of government. A few of these are pretty surprising, at least if you believe the political maps. In order, from No. 10 to No. 1 least socialist (blue states bold, swing states italic):
Illinois, Georgia, Utah, Indiana, Florida, Missouri, Washington, New Hampshire, Nevada and Texas.
Indeed, only our of the ten least socialist states are even remotely red. It seems as though Republicans as a rule aren’t exactly in a hurry to give up their commie comforts, while those lazy, unemployed, Big Government Democrats seem pretty comfortable living in the cold, hard world.
Unlike some, anyway. Here’s the list of the MOST socialist states. The takers, the lazy bums grasping for the wealth of their social betters with grubby, outstretched hands. You might notice kind of an odd split, yea about the middle of the list. See if you can spot a subtle pattern emerging among among The Top Five Most Socialist States in America.
Hint: This is red for a reason.
#10 Most Socialist State – Wisconsin — Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 16.2%
SWING STATE, leaning BLUE — Though you wouldn’t know it, considering how red the mid-terms went this year.
#9 Most Socialist State – Rhode Island — Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 16.3%
DEEP BLUE — For a long, long time now.
#8 Most Socialist State – Hawaii — Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 16.5%
BLUE — Obama’s home state, when he’s not from Kenya. Job situations and opportunities are terrible on this far-flung Pacific Island chain. People help each other, or they starve.
#7 Most Socialist State – New Mexico — Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 17.2%
BLUE — Expected to go blue in 2016, and has gone blue three out of the last four presidential elections.
#6 Most Socialist State – Vermont — Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 17.9%
BLUE — Though Bernie Sanders alone probably turns the whole place slightly pinko.
#5 Most Socialist State – Arkansas — Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 18.6%
RED — Republicans have carried Arkansas in every single presidential election since Clinton left office.
#4 Most Socialist State – Mississippi — Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 20.0%
RED — Has been hard red since the last of the Dixiecrats died or took flight to the GOP.
#3 Most Socialist State – Wyoming — Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 21.8%
HARD RED — If the Neo-Confederates didn’t prefer the weather in Florida, they’d live in Wyoming. This state is about as hard right as it gets.
#2 Most Socialist State – Alaska — Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 23.6%
RED — Number two on the list of most socialist. Blame proximity to Canada and Russia, which we hear Sarah Palin can see from her house. Alaska’s had a temporary blue swing, but is expected to go full crimson next election.
#1 Most Socialist State – West Virginia — Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 34.1%
RED — And our winner for this year’s Lenin award is…WEST VIRGINIA! This most Appalachian of states has gone red in every presidential election since 2000. But that wasn’t always the case; unions have long been a driving force in West Virginia, and its swing to the Red side has only been fairly recent. Locally, West Virginians tend to vote Blue; it’s at the Federal level where they fight back agin’ th’ gummint.
That probably has something to do with the fact that most of the state’s economy is based on coal, and Big Coal’s been buying a lot of GOP lately. It’s likely West Virginians vote federally to secure their energy and economic interests, but locally to secure their personal interests in terms of employment and government benefits.
But you know the old corporate conservative motto: “Socialism for us, capitalism for everyone else.”