Earlier this week, CNN's Glenn Beck got together with the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore to talk about the migration of blue-staters to red states. Allow me to quote some of this balderdash at length:
GLENN: All right. So you have a piece coming out in The Wall Street Journal that talks about the red states and the blue states.
GLENN: And how people are moving away from blue states.
MOORE: Yeah, by what's going on, I mean, it's an amazing migration that's happening in America where the liberal states, the states of the Northeast, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, the places you normally hang out in, Glenn and, you know, also California for the first time in 100 years is actually losing people. And where are all these Americans going? They are going to the southern states like Alabama and Tennessee and Virginia and they are going to the Western states like, you know, Arizona, Idaho, Utah and so the states that are losing population are the high tax and spend states like New York and California and the states that are gaining people are the states that keep their spending and taxes and regulations under control. I know it's a shocking finding.
GLENN: Yeah. Well, you know what? But here's something that I found in Philadelphia. People are actually moving and they are taking their voting practices with them, though.
MOORE: Well, that's --
GLENN: They are going out and they are voting for the same kind of stuff.
MOORE: Well, we found that to be true, for example, in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is the one little foothold of freedom in the Northeast. They call it the "Live free or die" state. What happens is because they have no income and sales tax in New Hampshire, it's a very attractive place to live. So all these liberals from Massachusetts are leaving you know "High Tax Chusetts" but then they are voting for high taxes in New Hampshire.
GLENN: It's crazy.
Aw, shucks, guys! You talk about all of this as if it were a bad thing! I, myself, live in the great Commonwealth of Virginia, and, if I could join in this reindeer game of gross oversimplification, I can attest to the fact that blue-state migration is awesome.
See, here in Virginia, we used to be pretty reliably red, and let me tell you, it was no picnic. Some of the lowlights included a crazy Senate run from Oliver North, and a wacky plan to ruin the entire state by inviting Disney to desecrate all of our state's hallowed history. And don't get me started on that time our governor attempted to eliminate the "car tax!" Turns out, that bonkers plan ended up not being a tax cut at all, and it led to a $6 billion hole in the state budget. At the time, people warned that there was no such thing as a free lunch - turned out the GOP's crazy "no car tax" plan was a lunch that actually managed to devour the diner.
Well, fortunately for Virginia, that all changed. And there clearest sign of the change occurred in the 2006 election, where voters traded in a football-toting doofus named George Allen who liked to dress up like a cowboy in public and unleash long-forgotten racial epithets at people, with Jim Webb, a Democrat with a fantastic service record who actually manages to speak in complete sentences. I don't know to what extent the migratory patterns of blue staters helped to bring this about, but this Virginian is going to err on the side of gratitude and say, "Thanks, blue-state transplants!"
But let's leave aside Virginia's extraordinary gains in representation (which are bound to continue as former governor Mark Warner faces off against Jim Gilmore - author of the aforementioned bonkers car tax plan - for the Senate), let's get into the issue of taxes. An organization called the Tax Foundation has been tracking the ratio of Federal taxes paid versus Federal spending received by state for many a year now, and the trends they have tracked are very instructive. In 2005, here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, we spent $1.51 for every dollar in Federal money we received. Wow! Can anyone say WELFARE STATE? Who's been footing our bill during this time? As it turns out, it's largely been the generosity of blue states such as New York ($0.79), California ($0.78), and Massachusetts ($0.82), among others.
Naturally, there is an underlying electoral trend to be divined here: in 2000, Bush carried 25 of the 33 "taker" states, while Gore carried 12 of the 16 givers. But more importantly, it helps to make whatever migratory trends exist look perfectly sensible. Blue-staters have given a lot of money to states such as Virginia - why shouldn't they come here and enjoy the fruits of their investment? Maybe, once enough of them are here, their values will rub off on my handout addicted state.
What can I say? Viva blue-state migration!