Two common threads that runs through media coverage are this: 1) Conservatives mostly pay for public goods, while liberals mostly use public goods. and 2) Americans are driven by self-interest.
But Minnesota 20-20 and the noon-partisan Tax Foundation are the most recent groups to point out a phenomenon that calls both pieces of conventional wisdom into question. They looked at states that are net givers, or states that pay more in federal tax than they get back in federal benefits, versus states that are net receivers, or states that pay less in federal taxes than they get back in federal benefits.
One of the most curious things about modern American politics is this: For the most part, the states that receive the most net government benefit are the least supportive of funding government, while the states that receive the least net government benefit are the most supportive of funding government.
In other words, giver states, like Minnesota, usually vote to give more government support, to their financial detriment. At the same time, receiver states, such as Mississippi, usually vote to give less government support, to their financial detriment. It’s the opposite of what you would expect, if self-interest were driving voting decisions.
Which leads me to wonder, is America a nation of altruists, or self-mutilators?