Republican states generally pay less in federal taxes than they get back in federal spending


One of the dirty little secrets of American politics is that the states where Republicans rule the roost are more dependent on income redistribution than the states where Democrats predominate.

Putting it another way, Republican states are more likely “taker” states, while Democratic states are more likely “giver” states.

The giver states are those that pay more in federal taxes than they get back in federal spending. The taker states are those that get back more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes.

For example, here in Illinois, a Democratic state, we get 92 cents back from the feds for every dollar we pay in federal taxes. Mississippi, perhaps the most solidly Republican state in the nation, gets back $2.73 for every dollar it pays. Hence, Illinois is a giver state while Mississippi is a taker state.

Now, let’s look back to the 2008 presidential election campaign. You may recall that Republican John McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, ran around the country warning everyone that Barack Obama’s tax plan amounted to a socialistic scheme to take money from certain groups of people and give it to certain other groups. They called it “income redistribution,” and they likened it to Marxism.

Ah, but when the votes were all counted, an interesting pattern emerged. The Republican ticket carried 22 states, 21 of which were taker states. Obama carried 11 taker states (about half as many as McCain), but he also carried 16 of the 17 giver states.

Looking at it another way, 139 of McCain’s 173 electoral votes came from taker states while 243 of Obama’s 365 electoral votes came from giver states.

Similarly stark patterns pertained in the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004. George W. Bush won most of his electoral votes from taker states while Al Gore and John Kerry won most of theirs from giver states.

So, there you have it. Republican presidential candidates, with all their scary rhetoric about the Democrats’ socialist agenda, do much better among voters in states that reap the lion’s share of benefits from the federal government’s redistribution programs. The conservative states generally are leeching off taxpayers in the more liberal states.

How’s that for hypocrisy?



  1. Pat Cunninghams twisted point of view;
    Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery..”– Winston Churchill These are possibly the 5 best sentences you’ll ever read:
    1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity, by legislating the wealth out of prosperity
    .2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
    3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
    4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it
    .5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them; and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work, because somebody else is going to
    get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation

  2. diana: What does any of that have to do with the fact that Republican states get more back from the federal government than they pay in?

  3. By the way, diana, lest anyone get the notion that those five sentences come from Winston Churchill, they don’t.

    They’re from a preacher named Adrian Pierce Rogers, who also once said this:

    “I believe slavery is a much maligned institution; if we had slavery today, we would not have this welfare mess.”

    He also stated that the institution of capital punishment is spiritually ordained, and he supported a boycott of Disney because of the company’s perceived promotion of homosexuality.

    Sounds like a wonderful guy.

  4. Pat, I am drawing a disconnect in your conclusion… Are you saying that the hypocrisy is from the voters? So the majority of them in a particular State voted Republican, but their candidate lost. And they are hypocrites because a Congress (with a minority from those States) decides the payouts that should go to them as well as the other States…?
    I just feel like you’re drawing an imaginary, meaningless connection.

  5. Jared: I’m saying that it’s hypocritical of politicians to complain about income redistribution when their own states get more back from the feds than they pay in income taxes.

    What this means is that the people of Mississippi, for example, are leeching off the people of Illinois while the politicians from Mississippi are bitching about income redistribution.

  6. Pat , What you are trying to have people believe is that the republican state s are just republican , no democrats, does the size of these states have an effect on the statistics???

  7. shawnnews

    Diana’s first sentence was the supposed Churchill quote.

  8. You’d used this “hypocritical” argument against Ron Paul once before too. Ron Paul argues that the rules (budget/law) should be different and votes against, but loses the vote. So you think that he should boycott those rules and play the game by his own rules even when he was voted down…? No, you gotta play by the rules established, while continuing to try to change the rules in the future.

  9. 20% of federal spending is on defense. Those states with large military bases and defense industries benefit from this.

    Another 20% goes to Social Security. Retired folks often move to areas with warmer climates. The chance of somebody working in Illinois and retiring in Arizona is much greater than the other way around. A further 21% goes to Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP. Again this skews to the states who are disproportionately seniors.

    And the quote was from Winston Churchill, as quoted in The New American Newspeak Dictionary (2005) by Adrian Krieg, p. 96

  10. The First Joe

    Texas is a pretty massive exception to your observation.

  11. Brian Opsahl

    Republicans have made it a point to critize these so called Takers….Well those are the very same folks who live where its proven that their State is taking more than they pay in. and in Fact its most of those Red States….If your NOT smart enough to see the Hypocracy in those statements i’m betting your news source is the liars at FOX… 10,000 Rick !!

  12. Rosemary Campbell

    Please let us know how much nationwide Republicans pay in Federal Taxes and how much Democrats pay. I’m sure there are Republicans living in Democratic state and vice versa.

  13. Peter calamusa

    this articles statistics are bogus…. its not a matter of red state vs blue state every state has it’s blue and red areas. it’s a matter of conservative individual vs liberal individual and the closest statistics we have to that is a breakdown of urban counties which almost always vote democrat vs rural areas which almost always vote republican. The statistics show that Urban areas receive way more federal funds per capita then Rural.


  14. Peter calamusa

    Now I find that even the state by state statistics are bogus. There are two types of libs the ones who put out the propaganda and the ignorant ones who believe it.

    Red State, Blue State: Which States Have Received the Most Federal Funds Since 2000?


  15. Dan Albertson

    MN ranks 49th in federal money received for every dollar we pay out. That will change to 50th place when the new medical

    equipment federal tax takes effect because we

    create about 25% of the US made medical


  16. Peter, I live in New York City, about as urban an environment as you can find. We contribute taxes from the highest incomes in the country (I paid nearly $90,000 in Federal taxes last year). And we get back little more than squat from the Feds. I am not a taker.

  17. Craig Knauss

    Peter says “The statistics show that Urban areas receive way more federal funds per capita then Rural.”

    Sorry Peter, but that’s total nonsense. The country’s largest military and defense facilities are almost exclusively in rural areas. Look where places like the Hanford Site, Idaho National Lab, Los Alamos National Lab, Oak Ridge National Lab, Savannah River Site, Nevada Test Site, and the huge military facilities, such as White Sands, Fort Benning, and Redstone Arsenal, are located. None of them is in an urban area and that’s due to the amount of land they occupy. Hanford Site is 560 sq. mi., Savannah River Site is about 630 sq. mi., and Idaho National Lab is over 900 sq. mi.

    I don’t know what the annual budget is for most of those places, but for the Hanford Site it is over $2 billion per year for just the site cleanup and maintenance. (Production has ceased.) That’s one hell of a lot of money being spent in a rural area.

  18. Great start–can you tell us what the definition of federal spending is?

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