Mitt's Red State Freeloaders

Apparently, Mitt Romney really wants to have this conversation:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Yes, let's talk about all those red state freeloaders. Mitt's wrong about one thing; the majority of non-income taxpayers are red staters, as the map above demonstrates. So let's talk about what a tremendous failure Republican economic policies are. Let's have that conversation.

It wouldn't be the first time I've brought it up. I covered it way back in 2009. And it's not a conversation a Republican will walk away from looking good. Observe:

Let's get right to the point. The five poorest states in the nation are Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Kentucky. The five wealthiest states are Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland. Those are the numbers from the US Census and they tell us a lot about the partisan divide in America. Of the five poorest states in the union, five are Red States that went for McCain in 2008. On the other hand, of the five wealthiest states, all five voted for Obama -- see for yourself. In other words, the anti-tax, screw-the-poor, federal-government-isn't-the-answer crowd comes mainly from the poorest states and are, therefore, among the most lightly taxed. They're the ones who seem most likely to benefit from federal government money. In terms of federal taxes spent in their states, Mississippi gets 202% of every dollar they pay, West Virginia get 176%, Arkansas gets 141%, South Carolina gets 135%, and Kentucky gets 151%. The only state in the five wealthiest that receives more than they pay out is Maryland, at 130%. People marching around in angry little circles with signs showing President Obama with a Hitler mustache haven't been paying their fair share. Kind of makes their concerns about the deficit a little hard to take, doesn't it?

So, in terms of who's not paying taxes and who they vote for, Mitt's got it exactly wrong. The fact is that Republican governments use social issues like abortion and gay rights to distract voters from the fact that their economic policies are failing all but the top 1%. If we really have this discussion about who does and doesn't pay income tax, Mitt's going to have to explain why it is that Republican-dominated states are so damned poor. He'll have to explain why he wants to pursue economic policies that are proven failures year after year after year. He'll have to explain to red state voters how he wants to screw them even more. I'm guessing that's really not the conversation Romney wants to have -- which explains why his comments were made in private to millionaire donors.

I want to have that conversation. And I'm guessing Mitt Romney only wants to pretend to have that conversation.


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