Bean: States as 'welfare queens'

Bean: States as 'welfare queens'

July 2nd, 2014 by Pam Sohn in Opinion Columns

Alabama is a low-tax state, but 37 percent of the state's government revenues are federal funds. Similarly, 46 percent of Mississippi's state revenues are federal funds, while in Louisiana the federal gift is 44.3, in Tennessee it's 41.3, in Missouri 40.8, while Georgia ranks eighth at 38.9 percent.

All of the top five "welfare queen" states are Republican-dominated.

Of the top five states that get more dollars from the federal government than they send to Washington, four are in the South. South Carolina gets $7.87 for every dollar its residents send to Washington, Louisiana gets $3.35 for every dollar, Alabama gets $3.28, and Mississippi gets $3.07. Tennessee gets $1.64 and Georgia receives $1.05. Republican-dominated states have the lowest tax rates but, are the most dependent on federal spending, while returning the least to Washington in the way of tax dollars. In the old Confederacy few states pay more in taxes than they receive.

Dependency on the federal government doesn't stop just at taxes. Georgia's bank failures 2007-2013 cost the FDIC over $9.8 billion. Eighty-five banks based in Georgia have failed as of March 2013 -- the most in the United States.

Of the 10 states with the biggest federal dependency gaps, seven -- Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, South Dakota and Tennessee -- have decided not to expand their Medicaid programs, even though the funding would have been 100 percent paid by the federal government for the first three years.

But, how would you have known where nine of the 10 unhealthiest cities in America are? They're in the South, among the states that decided not to expand their Medicaid programs or set up the Affordable Care Act exchanges. They are mostly Republican-dominated states. Among the unhealthiest states, 11 of the top 17 are in the South.

Louisiana and Mississippi are tied at No. 1; Arkansas is No. 3; South Carolina, No. 4; Alabama, No. 5; Kentucky, No. 6; Texas, No. 10; Tennessee, No. 11; Georgia, No. 14; Florida, No. 16; and North Carolina, No. 17.

According to AARP, the Southeast has the highest percent of people over 65 who rely on Social Security for 90 percent of their income. Georgia is among the four highest. The states are mostly Republican-dominated and have had income inequality forever. Some 53 percent of Georgia's workers in the private sector were not offered retirement plans in 2012.

Hate the federal government and want to secede from the United States? Don't let the door hit you in the wallet on the way out.

The point is: Conservative or Republican leadership has failed in the South and continues to do so.

David K. Bean, of Chatsworth, Ga., is a retired public education science teacher who has additional degrees in history and political science.