They say he is a panderer, that he is just telling people what they want to hear, and yet there was Mitt Romney in South Carolina last night, vowing to prevent America from becoming a "European social welfare state," promising to end an unjust system "where government takes from some and gives to others."
He is, in effect, saying to the people of South Carolina: no more handouts for you.
Because South Carolina is a welfare state, a federal teat-sucker of the first order.
According to figures from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, for every dollar South Carolinians pay in federal taxes, they receive $1.35 back. In other words, in 2005 (the last year for which comparable data is available) every single person in the state received $2,196 that he or she never earned. (Thanks to Obama's fiscal wastrelry, the handout is even greater today.)
Of course, this free money isn't welfare in the demagogic sense, i.e. a sop to the greedy needy. Gov. Nikki Haley, the Tea Party's reigning princess, managed to cut $29 million from the state's welfare budget last year, trimming fatty $270 monthly checks to families with two children down to $216. This year the state is projecting a $913 million increase in revenue, but Haley declares there will be no retreat to the charitable ways of the past. The extra money, she said last week, "should either go to tax relief, debt relief or back to the taxpayer."
That would be the taxpayers of New Jersey, presumably. For every dollar they send in to the federal government, 35 cents doesn't come back. It goes to some shiftless state unwilling to pull its own weight.
To be sure, South Carolina is hardly the shame of these states; it is only the 16th most freeloading. Mississippi leads the list, with a more than double return on its federal investment; Alaskans, who pay no state income tax, got an extra $6,563 in federal alms in 2005, successionist and successionist-leaning alike.
When these figures first became available, some left wing lunatics at communist nests like the Washington Post noted a curious concordance between states opposing the federal government and those suckling it. Five years on the relationship is worth revisiting, because as the hue and cry against wealth distribution has reached its most enthusiastic levels, so naturally has the hypocrisy.
Based on the most recent presidential polling data, 22 of the 33 beggary states would vote out Obamasharing today, while of the tax-soaked states, only one, Texas, is red (and it is 17th, kicking in only three cents of its federal dollar to the pot.)
A couple of weeks ago, Rick Santorum told a group of federally dependent Iowans, "I don't want to make [disputed word, either "black" or "blech"] people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money."
They cheered, sacrificially.
Originally published in a slightly different form at Time.com, January 17, 2012