by Max Brantley
When THEY need it, of course.
More from Dana Milbank on the Southern Republican politicians now screaming for federal government help, and lots of it, in the Gulf oil calamity. The list of hypocrisies in this column is awe-inspiring, from Republican Sen. David Vitter saying the government was better equipped to do the cleanup than BP to Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, a loud advocate of tort reform, talking about the need for liability lawsuits. The more-government crowd comes, of course, from heavily Republican Southern states.
As conservatives in Washington complain about excessive federal spending, the ones who would suffer the most from spending cuts are their own constituents.
An analysis of data from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation by Washington Post database specialist Dan Keating found that people in states that voted Republican were by far the biggest beneficiaries of federal spending. In states that voted strongly Republican, people received an average of $1.50 back from the federal government for every dollar they paid in federal taxes. In moderately Republican states, the amount was $1.19. In moderately Democratic states, people received on average of 99 cents in federal funds for each dollar they paid in taxes. In strongly Democratic states, people got back just 86 cents on the tax dollar.
If Sessions and Shelby succeed in shrinking government, their constituents in Alabama will be some of the biggest losers: They get $1.66 in federal benefits for every $1 they pay in taxes. If Louisiana's Vitter succeeds in shrinking government, his constituents will lose some of the $1.78 in federal benefits they receive for every dollar in taxes they pay. In Mississippi, it's $2.02.
That may explain why, as the oil slick hits the Gulf Coast, lawmakers from the region are willing to swallow their limited-government principles as they dangle federal aid before their constituents.
Teabaggers, this must not stand. Oust these apostates. Closer to home an exhortation to Rep. Boozman, Sen. Baker, Mr. Griffin and the rest of the GOP field: It's time for a stand against excessive government spending in the Gulf. Let the free market work.