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Saturday, November 13, 2004

Larry O'Donnell's "Unproductive" Baloney

Power Line has an interesting analysis of "You're a Liar" Larry O'Donnell's contention that the more "productive" Blue states were somehow cheated of electoral victory by the Red states. Apparently using data like that developed by the Tax Foundation (available here), O'Donnell tries raise the ire of the Blue states. While there are an incredible number of flaws in Mr. O'Donnell's approach, let's just look at his underlying premise - that the "overpayer" states were taken advantage of.

According to the chart, 31 states and the District of Columbia receive more dollars from the federal government than they send to the federal coffers in taxes. Two states are revenue/tax even (Florida and Oregon- 1 Red, 1 Blue). The remaining 17 states pay more to the feds than they get back.

However, not every state that was Blue in this election falls under Mr. O'Donnell's broad "more productive" measure. In fact, of the 21 states and district voting for Kerry, 6 states were in the "less productive" group. These "less productive" entities include Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia. The District, in fact, receives $60,109 for each man, woman and child living in it.

And, not every "overpayer" state was "Blue" - Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada and Texas are all "Red" states.

So. assuming that Mr. O'Donnell is suggesting that the "overpayer" Blue states secede, he's talking about twelve states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Washington and Wisconsin. Here's the percentage of votes President Bush got in each of those states:

California 44.29%
Connecticut 44.99%
Delaware 44.51%
Illinois 44.73%
Massachusetts 36.95%
Michigan 47.94%
Minnesota 47.62%
New Hampshire 48.98%
New Jersey 46.47%
New York 40.49%
Washington 48.72%
Wisconsin 49%
CNN election results

Mr. O'Donnell conveniently ignores these voters in broadly applying his biased brush to paint the election as unfair. There is little reason to believe the majority voters in these 12 states are the most productive residents. As Power Line notes,
Unfortunately for O'Donnell, however, there is no evidence that the most productive elements of our society favored Kerry over Bush. The president captured 51 percent of the vote. Does O'Donnell think Bush did that well among unemployed voters? Among the increasing number of voters who pay no federal income taxes? Among government workers? Among those earning below average incomes? Unless he is prepared to make these highly implausible claims, O'Donnell has no basis for implying that Bush's victory represents the triumph of the less productive elements of society, or that the voters who re-elected Bush, as a group, were voting against their economic interests.


In other words, in order for Mr. O'Donnell to make his case, we would have to examine the income status of both the majority and minority voters in each state to see which group actually pays the most in taxes to determine whether or not the majority of the money voted "Blue" or "Red." Given the Democrat's argument that the Bush tax cut favored the "rich" I think we can assume that the money vote did not go "blue."

More baloney from Mr. O'Donnell.

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