Red States are Welfare States

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Republicans portray themselves as strong, self-sufficient individualists with little need for government, and certainly no need for government welfare. Democrats, in contrast, are supposedly weak, dependent collectivists who do need such welfare.

In response to these pernicious memes, some Democrats have pointed to analyses, such as those of the Tax Foundation ("Federal Taxing and Spending Benefit Some States, Leave Others Footing the Bill"), which show that states that tend to support Republican presidential candidates (red states) also tend to receive more from the federal government than they send in taxes. Thus red states are welfare states.


--This title is a fraud, because most people on welfare in red states are minorities, especially blacks in the South. TANF Table 21 on the HHS website Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Percent Distribution of TANF recipients by Ethnicity/Race shows in nearly all southern red states blacks (voting 85-90% Democrat) make up 60-85% of welfare recipients. In Mississippi, in 2007-08, 87.1% of those on welfare were black. In Louisiana 78%, in Georgia 81.2%, in Arkansas 60.9%, in North Carolina 63.9%, in S. Carolina 71.7%, in Virginia 61.1%, in Tennessee 58.2%. On top of the racial basis for proof that it's mostly Democrats in those red states on welfare, the poor as a whole nationally voted about 3/4 Democrat in 2008. QED

--Drew 20:00, 9 Jun 2004 (PDT) This meme is problematic, as its thrust reinforces another Republican principle: those who benefit from taxes should be those who pay taxes. Few Democrats would agree with that.

--Joshyelon 12:00, 9 Jun 2004 (PDT) I'm not so sure that this is a bad meme.

--Kitchentable 13:52, 9 Jun 2004 (PDT) I worry that this is a bad meme for a different reason- it's weak and silly. My guess is that a lot of that so-called welfare is accounted for by farm subsidies. If we come out as the enemy to farmers I might have to start a third party.

--Ohwilleke 17:05, 9 Jun 2004 (PDT) I am concerned about this meme as it may be preceived as racist by core Democratic constituencies or as divisive by independent voters. Red states are typically show extreme block voting on racial lines. Many of these states also have very large percentages of African-Americans who are core Democratic supporters. The programs known in popular culture as "welfare" (and more broadly social programs) are used more by African-Americans (as a percentage of the African-American population) than by the non-Hispanic white population in those areas (on the same basis). The move to cut welfare has been to some extent a hot button code word issue in hte South designed to race bait. Many people would look as this meme an implying that welfare in its common sense and more generally social programs for low income people who support Democrats anyway should be cut to cause welfare to Red states to cease.

--Pyrrho 17:14, 14 Jun 2004 (PDT) putting this meme in the "memes that backfire" section raises some interesting questions. I do see how this meme doesn't really "work" from a liberal perspective... it's criticism of something we don't need to criticise... which is the need, in those states, for federal subsidy. HOWEVER: memes are replicating ideas... what that really means is they appeal to the set of people within which they replicate. I think it is a rude awakening and appropriate for Republicans to realize that states which are a net cost to the federal government are voting Republican. It's fitting exactly in the short and simple thought process of people that are against such subsidy. It means something to THEM, it's a meme for them. This is a group of people that call Massachusetts Taxachusets. From THAT point of view this meme says, "either lighten up on judging federal cashflow or face the facts that the blue states are those that pull their own weight". Besides this particular meme I think this raises a strategic meta-issue. I think we have to choose memes based on how they work and how they work in the target audience, not purely from a rational analytic point of view. If this meme is fair (that is, based on accurate statistics), which I understand it is, then I think it might not be in the right category on the main memetank page.

--DfwMom 17:44, 4 Aug 2004 (PDT) Citizens of red states would be nervous to have attention focused on the amount of money they receive from the federal government for fear that if too many questions are asked, those funds could be cut. This argument might curry favor among blue states, but could easily disimprove relations with the red states in the process.

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