Passing The Buck On Homeland Security
April 21, 2003 5:01 PM   Subscribe

I've written before about the myth of the heartland--roughly speaking, the "red states," which voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election, as opposed to the "blue states," which voted for Al Gore. The nation's interior is supposedly a place of rugged individualists, unlike the spongers and whiners along the coasts. In reality, of course, rural states are heavily subsidized by urban states. New Jersey pays about $1.50 in federal taxes for every dollar it gets in return; Montana receives about $1.75 in federal spending for every dollar it pays in taxes.

Any sensible program of spending on homeland security would at least partly redress this balance. The most natural targets for terrorism lie in or near great metropolitan areas; surely protecting those areas is the highest priority, right?

Apparently not. Even in the first months after Sept. 11, Republican lawmakers made it clear that they would not support any major effort to rebuild or even secure New York. And now that anti-urban prejudice has taken statistical form: under the formula the Department of Homeland Security has adopted for handing out money, it spends 7 times as much protecting each resident of Wyoming as it does protecting each resident of New York.


Paul Krugman, cited by Eric Alterman in regards to Jonathan Chait's The 9/10 President, a story we all seemed to have missed. Not long ago, the Washington Post carried Begging, Borrowing for Security.
Welcome to Trickle Down Homeland Security.
posted by y2karl (27 comments total)

 
The Economist compares New York City to Atlas, bearing the weight of the world on its shoulders. Already reeling from a massive deficit, declining income and the economic aftershocks of 9/11, the city must pay an estimated

$1 billion a year for emergency and counterterrorism costs. Bush could care less. After attempting to stiff New York entirely, Congress has finally agreed to kick in about $200 million, far more than Bush proposed. My shaken city can ill afford to make up the difference. It already has 4,000 fewer cops than it did two years ago but must assign more than a thousand of those remaining to the terrorist beat. It may shutter forty fire companies. Massive layoffs, tax hikes and cutbacks in every kind of social service are in the offing. And Gotham is hardly alone. Enhanced security measures cost the nation's cities an estimated $2.6 billion in the fifteen months after 9/11.

posted by y2karl at 5:06 PM on April 21, 2003


The whole "Homeland Security" and "War on Terror" things are both quite wild -- and loaded -- concepts. When Bush first busted out this never-ending war against a word, most on the left, including myself, freaked. When he shifted to conquering uninvolved (or, "optimistically", tangentially involved) states, many on the left countered with "what about the War on Terror and Homeland Security?"

This massive goof-out (for lack of a better term) actually fits well with my own thinking of late. Thousands of people died on 9/11, due in part to the failure of security appartus and maybe even outdated approaches. I want that addressed, but to do do in such childish terms just turns me off.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 5:16 PM on April 21, 2003


When talking about the news, it's always good to stay up to date:
WASHINGTON, April 11 — House and Senate negotiators reached agreement tonight on an aid package that would fulfill New York City's request for tens of millions of dollars to pay for antiterrorism efforts.

The city and New York State will draw money from a $700 million pot that both chambers of Congress are set to approve for states and cities believed to be the most vulnerable to attack.

... The security package for high-risk areas does not specify how much money will go to New York. But lawmakers here said the city and the state should get about $200 million.

New York City would get 80 percent of the money to cover its security costs, and the remainder would go to the state government in Albany.

New York lawmakers called the package a significant victory, saying that the president's original budget proposal shortchanged New York at a time when the city and the state together were spending more than $20 million weekly to secure streets, landmarks, subways, harbors, bridges and tunnels.

The original plan would have given New York about $32 million under a formula that allocates money to all cities and states based on their population, and regardless of their vulnerabilities.
(Not that this says anything about how much Bush's administration cares about New York; just for accuracy's sake.)
posted by mattpfeff at 5:23 PM on April 21, 2003


Only a fool would vote for Bush in 2004.
posted by the fire you left me at 5:27 PM on April 21, 2003


I am starting to think that this Bush guy really sucks.
posted by xmutex at 5:28 PM on April 21, 2003


war on terror? how about the war on cancer? 553,400 cancer deaths in the US in 2001. $ 5 billion for cancer. $ 287.5 billion for the "war on terror". if you know someone who has or is dying or has died from cancer you might ask what is going on in washington dc? - and ask yourself ... really ... what are more afraid of? a terror attack? or you or a loved one getting cancer? apologies for the derail ... i just discovered yet another vibrant young friend is losing her battle with this disease.
posted by specialk420 at 5:31 PM on April 21, 2003


I am still curious as to what terrorist threat Wyoming faces.
posted by y2karl at 5:39 PM on April 21, 2003


bisonsuckers?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 5:44 PM on April 21, 2003


Cattle mutilations! Damn, I forgot about that.
posted by y2karl at 5:54 PM on April 21, 2003


Is this going to be another "Bush sucks" thread?

Only it should be kinda obvious by now....
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:56 PM on April 21, 2003


I am still curious as to what terrorist threat Wyoming faces.

Coal miners? They're ruining more lives in the Powder Basin than al Qaeda ever will.
posted by homunculus at 6:03 PM on April 21, 2003


Think you used enough text there Butch?
posted by CoolHandPuke at 6:18 PM on April 21, 2003


Is this going to be another "Bush sucks" thread?

We shouldn't discuss national policy regarding terrorist threats,
you say? It's not like anyone's life is at stake, now is it?
posted by y2karl at 6:18 PM on April 21, 2003


Think you used enough text there Butch?

Not really.
posted by y2karl at 6:24 PM on April 21, 2003


We shouldn't discuss national policy regarding terrorist threats, you say?

Today is now officially ambiguous irony day.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 6:40 PM on April 21, 2003


In reality, of course, rural states are heavily subsidized by urban states. New Jersey pays about $1.50 in federal taxes for every dollar it gets in return; Montana receives about $1.75 in federal spending for every dollar it pays in taxes.

Here's a map of federal funding to taxes collectedper capita by state. Alaska, a hotbed of libertarianism in my experience, figures quite prominently--a fact I knew. I wonder if anyone has ever done a map of libertarians per capita by state. It would interesting to compare the two.
posted by y2karl at 7:01 PM on April 21, 2003


2000WordsKarl.
posted by nyxxxx at 7:29 PM on April 21, 2003


BigNaturalsnyxxx
posted by y2karl at 7:44 PM on April 21, 2003


Here's the Council on Foreign Relations report Alterman refers to: America--Still Unprepared, Still in Danger
posted by homunculus at 10:57 PM on April 21, 2003


specialk420 -- the majority of those dying from cancer are old. Because we're not evolved to live much past 18, problems keep piling up over the years; while a cure for cancer would be great, it wouldn't be quite as great as the numbers you quote seem to indicaate.
posted by Tlogmer at 12:17 AM on April 22, 2003


Thanks for the great links y2karl!
Please feel free to ignore the DOATDs (Defenders Of All Things Duhbya.)

This is a very critical issue for our country that isn't getting nearly the exposure it should. Damn liberal media!

Makes one wonder why the states of "rugged individualists" are the ones on the welfare teat.

You'd think they would spit it out and demand either higher taxes to pay their fair share of fewer benefits to balance their investment in our great country.

As for Wyoming, I hear they are deathly afraid of being attacked by Canada!
posted by nofundy at 5:11 AM on April 22, 2003


Tlogmer: Troll much? The key to your somewhat silly statement is "the majority." Children (who are definitely under your threshhold o' caring) also get cancer, in wide variety. Using your logic, wouldn't cures for Alzheimer's disease and other so-called "old people afflictions" be nice, but secondary in your eyes? Sheesh.

Back to the topic at hand. While I agree that Bush does seem to find ways to reward his boys, I'm not so sure that this inequity is as clear-cut as it seems:
- Spending in D.C. is ridiculously high (6.49 spent per capita for every 1.00 received)
- There is a minimum cost associated with keeping federal offices and resources at the state level available, regardless of population size.
- The states with an income tax also figure prominently; Connecticut, for example, has the lowest per-capita federal spending because, in part, it has one hell of an income and sales tax (I used to live there, long ago.) It doesn't need the money.

I hate reviewing statistics in isolation. Yep, rich states pay for poor states; isn't that how it's supposed to be? Otherwise, where's the equity in the system? Rich states get richer (as incentive encourages growth), while poor states get poorer (as lack of incentive discourages growth.)
I'd like to see this viewed alongside two other numbers:
- Population count
- Total federal spending per state
posted by FormlessOne at 6:17 AM on April 22, 2003


Ummm..so this was published on April 1, 2003 in the New York Times? Really?
posted by mooncrow at 8:18 AM on April 22, 2003


Also, let's not forget about federal farm subsidies. There's a reason that your milk and bread and fruits and legumes are priced low....the government pays farmers to keep them there.

And there are a LOT of farms in the red states. That's part of the reason they get more than their share of taxes. It's probably a fairly significant reason.

I've lived in FL and NJ, and I notice they're about average, and they have a lot of farms...but they have a lot of suburbs too, so they collect a lot of taxes.

Illinois and Indiana have a ton of farms, so I don't know why they get less than what they pay in...I would imagine it's because of the Chicago/Gary/Indianapolis regions.

So anyway, yeah, don't forget about farm subsidies, um, the policy on national security is wacked out, and uh, Bush Sucks.
posted by taumeson at 8:56 AM on April 22, 2003


FormlessOne.

DC spending is high for this reason:

There's slightly less than 600,000 people in the District, and the federal government is there---so per dollar in tax paid, we get a lot back to the govt---but it goes to the few square miles that comprise the federally owned part of DC, not the other 60 or so square miles that people live in. (which is quite unfortunate, the District is pretty poor for the most part. Municipal services are a huge mess. This is exacerbated by the fact that not being a state, DC cant tax Maryland or Virginia incomes earned in DC itself, meaning that 2/3rds of income earned goes out to fatten the coffers of VA and MD.)

We pay the highest taxes per capita of any state in the country, except (you guessed it) Connecticut. We (the citizens) are most certainly not riding off federal money, it all goes to the government.

And we can't vote in Congress either. Argh.
posted by jare2003 at 8:57 AM on April 22, 2003


Ummm..so this was published on April 1, 2003 in the New York Times? Really?

as cited in... Bush Goes AWOL
[from the May 5, 2003 issue]
, dumbbell
posted by y2karl at 11:00 AM on April 22, 2003


Connecticut, for example, has the lowest per-capita federal spending because, in part, it has one hell of an income and sales tax (I used to live there, long ago.) It doesn't need the money.


I beg to differ. The income tax saved this state from bankruptcy, but now that the economy has gone down the tubes so has our budget. Fairfield Country may be awash in capital projects, but towns east of the river scramble for every state dollar they can find in order to make ends meet. Most towns would be completely insolvent without state services to replace those that towns cannot afford. Those services are transfer payments (*cough*) I mean are paid via income tax that comes disproportionately from west of the river. Control of that money means control of every town east of the Connecticut river. Willimantic didn't dissolve its city government because Hartford was giving it too much money. More federal spending in Connecticut is needed, just not in the politically powerful, and hence visible, parts.

It would be nice to be able to rely on more than just the state police in a barracks two towns away.
posted by Tystnaden at 1:16 PM on April 22, 2003


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