A Nation of Hypocrites?

People who promote smaller government live in areas that are more dependent on Federal spending.hypocrisy_meter

Looking at data on Medicare enrollment made me wonder about the dependency of different states on Federal spending.

The states with the highest percentage of their population on Medicare are largely traditional GOP bastions.  quote-sincerity-makes-the-very-least-person-to-be-of-more-value-than-the-most-talented-hypocrite-charles-spurgeon-176105

  1. Maine                      23.1%
  2. West Virginia       22.7%
  3. Vermont                 21.0%
  4. New Hampshire  20.0%
  5. Arkansas                19.9%
  6. Alabama                 19.9%
  7. Pennsylvania        19.8%
  8. Florida                     19.5%
  9. Kentucky                 19.4%
  10. Montana                  19.3%

With the exception of Florida, the proportion on Medicare exceeds the proportion of the population that is age 65 or older — meaning that these states are relatively heavy users of Social Security Disability and children’s’  and dependents’ benefit programs.

WalletHub reported its own calculations on “Federal Dependency” in March 2016, with similar results.

The top 10 states in terms of the dependency of state government on Federal dollars are

  1. Mississippi
  2. Louisiana
  3. Tennessee
  4. South Dakota
  5. Missouri
  6. Montana
  7. Georgia
  8. New Mexico
  9. West Virginia
  10. Maine

The top 10 states in terms of residents’ dependence on Federal spending are

  1. North Dakota
  2. New Mexico
  3. Hawaii
  4. South Carolina
  5. Alabama
  6. Maryland
  7. West Virginia
  8. Alaska
  9. Virginia
  10. Kentucky

The last list is heavily skewed by direct Federal employment and spending with Defense contractors.

The ultimate paradox is that the states supporting Federal spending are actually subsidizing the states that oppose it.  The Huffington Post pointed out in 2014 that Mississippi and New Mexico actually receive $3 from the Federal government for every $1 they contribute in taxes.  The net loser are the big coastal states such as New York and California.

One could conclude that a lot of US voters are hypocrites.


Hallman, Ben, “GOP States Are The Most Dependent On Government,” Huffington Post, 03/26/2014 01:27 pm ET | Updated Mar 24, 2015.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/26/republican-states-most-dependent-government_n_5035877.html

Kiernan, John, “2016’s Most & Least Federally Dependent States,” WalletHub, 29 March 2016.  https://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-least-dependent-on-the-federal-government/2700/

Dyrda, Laura, “Medicare beneficiaries per state for all 50 states & Washington DC,” Becker’s Hospital Review, 12 September 2016.  http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/medicare-beneficiaries-per-state-for-all-50-states-washington-dc.html

Census Bureau, US Population by State, 2016 estimates

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