Eleven US States Have More Government Takers Than Private Sector Makers


I know, I know. We’re not supposed to talk about the “47%.” But how can this be anything but an alarming statistic indicative of a nation that is, increasingly, placing far too little value on individualism and self-reliance?

Eleven states, including California, have more residents who draw money from the government—as employees, pensioners, or welfare recipients—than people employed in the private sector. This means that roughly one-third of Americans live in states where more people receive tax dollars than pay taxes on non-government income.

“Most of these states’ preferred solution to fiscal woes has been to raise taxes on the dwindling number of rich residents,” writes Walter Russell Mead at the link. “Attempting to raise more and more money from a shrinking subset of the population is setting these states up for serious trouble in the near future.”

That seems to be exactly what’s happening in California, where tax hikes on the rich have resulted in dropping revenues (via the headlines).

California State Controller John Chiang has announced that total state revenue for the month of November 2012 fell $806.8 million, or 10.8%, below budget.

Democrats thought they could hammer “the rich” by convincing voters to pass Proposition 30 to create the highest state income tax in the nation. But it now appears that high income earners have already “voted with their feet” by moving themselves and their businesses out of state, resulting in over $1 billion shortfall in corporate and income taxes last month and the beginning of a new financial crisis.

Meanwhile, at the national level, we’re supposed to believe that immediate tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans (coupled with relatively minor spending cuts spread out over the course of a decade) are the solution for our fiscal crisis. But those tax hikes, much like they have in California, will only inspire “the rich” to invest and spend less, which will hurt our economy and overall tax revenues.

The best way to lift America out of this fiscal crisis, and economic malaise, is smaller government (including fewer citizens on the take) and fewer restrictions on economic activity.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Roy_Bean

    It appears as though we have finally reached the point where 51% of the population has voted to eat the other 49%, or at least eat off their income. Does that make private sector workers some kind of minority that should be protected?

  • WOOF

    Who wields the hammer, is the maker.
    Why do you hate veterans and grandmas ?

    “Lord, I knew you that you are a hard man,
    reaping where you did not sow,
    and gathering where you did not scatter.
    Matthew 25:23:

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I thought you’d like that Soviet-looking hammer, Poodle.

      And nobody “hates” grandmas and veterans. And I won’t accuse you of hating younger Americans who are on the hook for all this debt we’re ringing up.

      • WOOF

        Grandmas, grandpas , veterans and orphans
        are the pensioners etc receiving money.
        Money they worked for.
        I’d put that hammer image on my wall
        next to the autographed Che poster.

        • banjo kid

          You have a stack of money and two people , one and only one put the money in the stack, and worked really hard doing that . both people take from the stack, One day the one putting the money there decides to retire because they are old and can’t work any more so they go to the stack of money to get what they worked so hard for but alas the money has been spent by someone who has not contributed one red cent . I equate the one putting the money in the stack to a social security fund for their retirement, and the taker to one who has not worked a day in their life but has lived off the one who provides the money to the fund. Now we have two people who have nothing and no way to make it because there is no money left . You are refusing to face reality when you think that this will work out to the benefit of all . We are in danger of no one getting a supplement to their retirement because the takers have lived off of another’s retirement fund by the same account (social security) . The social security fund has been used for many items and is in danger because of that .

          • WOOF

            70 years and the actuaries say going strong.

      • Snarkie

        Stop blowing all that defense money. Imagine what the numbers would look like if we counted all private workers at companies who contract almost exclusively with the gov’t? There would be even more red states on the list.

        So… you want us to bomb Syria? Iran? Somalia? Chad? Who’s on the list?

  • Wordchipper

    North Dakota must be on the list of “takers.” For every $2 we send to Washington, we get $3 back. Been that way for decades. Has a lot to do with super-rich North Dakota farmers yelling they’re Tea Partiers on one hand, while the other hand is taking all it came in subsidies.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      You’re not wrong, though I’d point out that most of the agri-pork these days goes to big business. The “family farmer” is a prop.

      Welcome to the conservative movement, where you’ll be accused of hating food and old people if you think maybe too many people are dependent on the government.

    • splined

      The clueless and or corrupt congress ever fixated on re-election has chosen to be oblivious to the economic carnage it is creating with the unfair and inequitable crop insurance schemes. It should be obvious to everyone that targeting the largest and most profitable farm businesses with the largest investment and income guarantees grants these operations with an overwhelmingly competitive edge in a highly competitive business. It should be noted that many of these operations have little or no land costs and that government has no business guaranteeing ever increasing land values with insurance schemes that cover land costs. It should also be obvious that smaller farm operations targeted with no or minimal government benefits have little or no chance of competing in such an economic environment. Considering the stratospheric levels to which land values have escalated it should be obvious to all that extreme government income and investment guarantees are capitalized into land values and that government has no business targeting the wealthiest with multimillion dollar business benefits and billions in insurance subsidies.

    • Thresherman

      Why do you insist on demonizing farmers? I know a great many and while they are now doing well wth commodity prices up, not too long ago things were far from rosy. Super-rich? Like Donald Trump or Bill Gates super-rich? Not hardly. Or is super-rich a term you use to reference anyone with more than you? Farming has become a high capital business, so do not confuse massive investments in land and or equipment as indicative of profit. Additionally, since all this has to financed, very few could withstand a couple of bad crop years in a row.
      Farming has alway been a high risk investment, but the thing that gets me is that many had no problem when farming was a high risk, low return investment but when it becomes a high risk, moderate return one, out come the knives.
      Additionally, farmers have always been the whipping boy for the $2 dollars sent and $3 back refrain. One would think that supposedly informed and informed people would not fall for such an obvious canard. Fact is, for the last couple of Farm Bills, there has been very little in the way of subsidies for ND farmers, yet as we can see here, in the opinion of many, this matters not at all.
      But even if farmers were getting subsidy payments, placing all the blame on them would be incorrect, if not idiotic. We have as many or more miles of Federal highways to support ande maintain as more populous states as well as 3 Indian Reservations, 2 Air Force Bases and an Air Guard base, all which receive vast amounts of Federal dollars which puts a thumb heavily on the scale when compared to our small population. Additionally our cities receive Federal monies for roads and bridges as well as Federal assistance when areas that they allowed to be developed in flood prone areas are overrun by river waters. Fargo is seeking billions in Federal aid to build a diversion that will drive farmers from their homes that have never seen a flood to protect the investments of a few thousand, who in truth, chose their property poorly. Institutions of higher education in our cities also receive Federal grants for various purposes and many home buyers in our cities have their mortages underwritten by federal agencies. None of this is new, but in spite of all this, to many the imbalance is the fault of the farmer. This is neither truthful or fair and shows that, at least here in ND, the wealthy are not the only subjects of class warfare.

      • splined

        You haven’t kept up with the latest government schemes to subsidize farmers. Most of the subsidies now come by way federal crop insurance schemes via multimillion dollar and smaller government investment/profit guarantees and government payments to the 14 or so companies that sell these farmer financial security blankets as payments for nearly all or most of the premiums for these investment/profit guarantees. To say that most land and machinery purposes are financed is a case of being uninformed.

  • WOOF

    Wanted to see if I could post an animated gif.
    Can’t seem to delete it so Title it
    Take that Grandma

    • banjo kid

      That is exactly what the left is doing by misuse of social security funds via welfare for generation after generation . a hand up not a hand out would be what it should be .

  • Riverdweller

    Interesting how the headline says ELEVEN states, yet the only state mentioned is California.
    SO, what are the other TEN ????

    • Spartacus

      Follow the link. Once there and you read that article you’ll see another link, follow that one. Yeah, I could have saved you the effort and just copied that link into this comment but if I’m going to work for it so should everyone else that wants to know.

    • Derp

      Instead of pointing out that you do not have the acumen to figure out how to click a hyperlink and then another one to find the Zero Hedge article that is the original source, then making this into a joke about how you possibly vote Democrat which only furthers your learned helplessness I will simply provide you with the link: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-12-04/11-death-spiral-states

      • Dean Gilbert

        Can we call you….Mr. Perfect know it all? Quit being so damn sarcastic. If you want to inform, then inform in a decent sort of way or just say nothing.

      • USAForever48

        I didn’t know how to find out what the other 10 were either. Thanks anyway for the assistance. Back to sleep, Mr. Know-It-All.

    • Old_Gringo

      Mexifornia is the prime example. No need to mention the other ten, although I, too, am curious as to who they are.

      • Esther

        from RayfromNY above a copy paste, see his post for more:

        The Eleven staring at a ratio of 1 to 1 and up to 1.53. California is 1.39:

        OH, HI, IL, KY,SC,NY,ME,AL,CA,MS,and NM at 1 maker and an astounding 1.53 takers. It was also just reported that those receiving government benefits of all kinds per household are averaging $172 per day for a total benefit package of $61,320 pa.

    • Esther

      .from RayfromNY above a copy paste, see his post for more:

      The Eleven staring at a ratio of 1 to 1 and up to 1.53. California is 1.39:

      OH, HI, IL, KY,SC,NY,ME,AL,CA,MS,and NM at 1 maker and an astounding 1.53 takers. It was also just reported that those receiving government benefits of all kinds per household are averaging $172 per day for a total benefit package of $61,320 pa.

    • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

      I would bet you any money that they’re blue states. California, New York, Michigan, Illinois etc.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    the great ObamaDepression is coming soon enough
    that should wake the nation up

    • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

      Wait till the federal government runs out of rich people’s money to steal…. What’s happening in Michigan, Wisconsin and other places is just the beginning. The 47-51 percent of the country is going to riot and burn their cities down.

  • 2War Abn Vet

    Britain’s Oxford University Press crowned the word “Omnishambles” as the word of the year 2012. It is defined as: a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.

    I truly believe the word “Obamashambles” will be word of 2013, or, certainly no later than later than, 2014.

  • RayfromNY

    The Eleven staring at a ratio of 1 to 1 and up to 1.53. California is 1.39:

    OH, HI, IL, KY,SC,NY,ME,AL,CA,MS,and NM at 1 maker and an astounding 1.53 takers. It was also just reported that those receiving government benefits of all kinds per household are averaging $172 per day for a total benefit package of $61,320 pa.

    Working households are averaging $137 per day household income or $50,005 per year. Tell me now we are not on the eve of destruction. Welcome to Obamanation where food is free, health care will be free for the poor and non citizens, telephones are free even if you are using them to sell drugs, housing is free and birth control will be free, as will abortions, I guess, and gays will marry everywhere and if you have rental property, you will have to rent to them even if the rental is in the same structure you reside in. Explain them to your children.
    Why would anyone even want to work? Just stay home and make babies and let welfare pay for them.
    Argentina, here we come. Dictatorship will not be far behind.
    Constitution? Are you serious?
    Enjoy the rest of your so called life and pray for an early death. God, yes God help our children and grand-children.

    • Esther

      Thank you for sharing the details.

  • BabaNette

    So, why don’t you name the other ten states? I think we all know California would be one, but I read this on purpose to find out which other states are in the eleven

  • reggiec

    I don’t know about the other 10 but if they are like California they are in big trouble.
    The government does not create wealth. They are absolutely dependent on the private sector to generate wealth they can tax in order to operate. If they insist on operating beyond the ability of the private sector to support them for any length of time; the eventual result is economic Armageddon.
    “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
    The ideological bubble some on the left insist on surrounding themselves with, destroys their ability to deal with reality. Time after time their answer to out of control government spending has been to just tax the rich to a greater degree and all others who are successful to a lesser degree. What they fail to realize is that if success is punished the successful will find somewhere else to do business. You need to look no further than California to demonstrate the result of punishing success. Some reports indicate that close to 2,600 businesses have left the state, taking over 100,000 median income jobs with them since 2007.
    California is rated as close to the worst state for economic freedom and business tax climate. Recently this has accelerated the flight from California. In 2009 about one business per week decided to abandon California. In 2010 the exodus increased to close to four a week and in 2011 between five and six per week pulled up stakes and took their jobs with them.
    California’s economic woes can be placed directly at the feet of liberals that created the business atmosphere that now exists in that state.

  • Amy

    I agree with 95% of what is written on this blog, but this post doesn’t sit well with me. The way the statistics are being used is offensive. We are a military family and we don’t consider ourselves “government takers”, lumped in with the “47%” OR with the gov’t bureaucrats who are doing a job that is NOT legitimized in the Constitution.

    • medic2003

      Being a Military family does not make you a taker. Our veterans are volunteering to do a job in which they are paid. If they are wounded in that service they should receive compensation and care. If they spend their entire working life in that career then they should receive a pension for that service. The wages they make are taxed so how are they takers?

      Anyone who lumps vets in the taker category is just being an idiot. Im a paramedic employed by the County ambulance district. It is in part funded by county tax dollars as well as billing collected for services rendered. Does that make me a taker? I work, I pay taxes, and in fact pay taxes into the county fund that are in some small part used to pay me and operate our service. My father worked his whole life, paid taxes, paid into social security and medicare, at the age of 60 a heart condition forced him onto disability. Does that make him a taker or someone who paid into the system for 40 years and finally has to reap some of that? He pays taxes on that money too by the way.

      There is a difference between people who pay in most of their life an expect to get some of it back, and people who never work and expect government handouts because they can figure out a way to game the system and get them are takers. People and organizations that get grants for projects they in no way need, an if they wanted could pay for it themselves are takers.

      There are a lot of examples of true, real takers but Amy you are not a taker.

      I just needed to get that off my chest. I dont think the writer here believes that you are either, stats being used are the ones the GOVERNMENT and the politicians use.

      It is a crooked class warfare scam our government and the politicians try to throw on us.

      • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

        Sorry, there’s no way around it. You either accept the premise of this story and lump military families in with the rest of the government workers or you write off the entire story as a bunch of bullshit. But it doesn’t work that way in republican echo chambers, because all military conservatives think they are above the fray…..but they aren’t. Most conservatives live off the government while screaming about government being too big……that’s just the way it is.

        In the meantime, there are people who have never taken a dime from the public sector, nor collect fat pensions from the government for their desk job in the military…..and they get the honor of being called moochers, because they believe in voting Democrat to care for those families who are struggling. Sorry, but Amy’s part of the takers.

        • Onslaught1066

          Anyone who lumps vets in the taker category is just being an idiot.

          Hi there, idiot.

          You may now return to the irrelevance of your sandbox and continue to bob for Tootsie Rolls™.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            Only in your upside down, inverse reality could a public funded organization not be a public funded organization. You probably collect a government check.

          • Onslaught1066

            Hi there, idiot.

            You may now return to the irrelevance of your sandbox and continue to bob for Tootsie Rolls™.

  • Esther

    Obama et al have been deaf to the warning given by responsible persons about this inevitability. Let’s see now that one of his favorite states is in deep, he will have to make a decent plan one would hope.

  • guest

    Article doesn’t go far enough. Sets the over/under bar at $0. It SHOULD set the bar at state spend per capita and see where the numbers lie. That’s the true break-even point.