Republican-leaning states are far more dependent on the federal government than Democratic-leaning ones.
That’s according to a recent analysis from the personal finance site WalletHub, which crunched federal tax and spending data and ranked states based on how much they rely on the federal government to support their state finances.
The results showed that states most likely to espouse anti-government sentiments — i.e., Republican-dominated states — are the most dependent on federal spending, while returning the least to Washington in the way of tax dollars.
To calculate states’ dependence, WalletHub analyzed three metrics: how much each state gets in federal funding per every dollar it pays in federal income taxes, the percentage of state funding that comes from the federal government and the number of federal employees per capita, both military and civilian.
Check out the map below to see how dependent your home state is compared to the rest of the country. The most-dependent states are shaded white, and least-dependent states are shaded blue. A ranking of 1 indicates least-dependent, while 50 represents most-dependent.
As you can see, New Mexico is the most-dependent state in the U.S., according to WalletHub’s data. The state gets $2.19 in federal funding for every dollar paid in federal income taxes. In contrast, New Jersey, which is the least-dependent state, gets only about 50 cents in federal funding for every dollar paid in taxes, WalletHub calculated.
The analysis found that red states, or those that voted Republican in the 2012 presidential election, were much more likely to depend on the government than blue states.
That’s somewhat ironic, considering the Republican Party’s general reluctance to support federally funded initiatives like Medicaid expansion, and its long-term dedication to crushing, across-the-board budget cuts to slash the federal deficit — just look at the recently-released GOP budget plan for 2016.
While the rankings are obviously somewhat arbitrary — one would get different results using different metrics — they do broadly correspond to patterns of poverty. States like Mississippi and Alabama, which are hugely dependent on federal tax dollars to help feed, clothe and shelter their citizens, are among those with the largest deficits, in terms of what they get in federal help versus what they give back in tax dollars.
More importantly, though, analyses using different metrics have found strikingly similar results. While individual state rankings may shift, the overall pattern remains the same: many of the areas most dependent on government benefits are also the most Republican and anti-government.
In fact, the numbers, for decades now, have been quite clear: With some exceptions, what we regard as red states are sent a whole lot more of your hard-earned tax dollars than the traditional blue states. In effect, supposedly indolent, “tax and spend” liberals actually subsidize the individualistic, “bootstraps” mentality of our conservative neighbors..