The New USSR: The Union of Socialist States in Red
The country’s foreign policy has focused on how to contain Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ambitions towards Ukraine, and his underlying goal of finding ways to reestablish Russian control over neighboring states, as he longs for the old days of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Whether Putin uses military force or other forms of continued bullying tactics, there is no doubt that he is haunted by the dissolution of the USSR and is looking for a way to restore Russian influence and control over the world. Ukraine and other key former Soviet republics.
In the United States, while unrecognized, we have our own USSR – a collective of red states that are bound together in our union and profit from the very socialism they claim to despise, but which is so obvious that it should be called “the Union of Socialist States of Red.
What do I mean by that? Well, let’s turn to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his rather ridiculous but repeatedly used term to attack Democratic politicians as “socialist.” McConnell and the Republican chorus blasted the Biden Build Back Better bill and its components saying that if passed, the United States would transition to a state of “permanent socialism.” Their criticism is that redistributing wealth by rolling over child credits, increasing access to child care, providing pre-kindergarten education, or expanding Medicare coverage are not vital political initiatives, but rather principles of the Democratic plans to create a socialist republic.
However, the real champions of redistributing wealth in a way that takes money from those who pay a much larger share of the federal tax burden and funnels it to those who bear considerably less federal tax are Mitch McConnell and his “comrades” Republican Red State. “It’s the blue states like New York, California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts that pay the federal government far more federal tax revenue than they receive from the federal government. Plus, it’s states like the McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, who pay far less tax to the federal government than they actually get back.
According to the Rockefeller Institute of Government, which measures what is known as the state tax balance of payments – how much each state pays in taxes to the federal government compared to what the federal government grants and spends in each state – on a 5-year period The taxpayers of New York City, for example, paid $142.6 billion more to the federal government than they got back from the federal government in money distributed to the state. In 2019, New York’s only balance of payments with the federal government was that it received nearly $23 billion less in federal spending than it paid out.
On the other hand, if you take Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky, that state received $63 billion more in payments from the federal government than its citizens paid in taxes to Washington. To break this down on an individual basis, the average New Yorker pays the federal government $1,172 more than the federal government spends per person in the state; whereas, in Kentucky, on a per capita basis, they receive $14,153 more per capita returned to the state than they pay in federal taxes. This favorable redistribution of the red state’s balance of payments, in which the state claws back more than it pays out, benefits large and small red states – from the largest like Texas, to the medium-sized states like Louisiana, to smaller ones like North and South Dakota and Wyoming. .
There is nothing new in this data. It’s been true for a long time. What’s remarkable is that even states like Texas with a huge economy claw back more than they send into federal coffers. Yet Texas Senator Ted Cruz is pitching the “socialist” attack on the Blue State Democrats as much as anyone else. So one can assume the way Republicans see it, as long as you redistribute income to their state disproportionately, that’s not wealth redistribution socialism, but if it’s money that goes to lower and middle class citizens as part of a social safety net then that is.
It also begs the question of why the Democratic response to the use of the socialist attack didn’t aim squarely at pointing this out. That if Republicans were truly anti-socialist – using their own concept of socialism, this redistribution of significant wealth subsidizing those who pay far less to government – then Republicans should be prepared to readjust all manner of federal spending and become advocates for much more money is spent in states like New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Colorado, the blue states that are at the short end of the balance of payments.
Democrats should much better deflect the all-too-often-used “socialist” attack with the compelling argument that their party stands for fairness for working families, while Republicans in the red state advocate diverting federal funds into the part of a socialist game plan. However, since the key swing states Democrats need are the beneficiaries of how income tax revenues are currently being redistributed, the argument should be framed in a way that simply underscores that Republicans actually support the very “socialist” practices they criticize. This disproportionate collection of taxes from blue states relative to what they recoup is one of the main political arguments for allowing high-tax blue states to get a federal tax deduction on their state taxes. state and local, although at this point it seems like a dead issue.
Red was once a descriptor referring to communist states like Russia. Now, of course, red is a descriptor of that part of the country that backs Donald Trump, himself a big devotee of the Russian president. Red also represents the embarrassment Republicans should feel for their hypocrisy in actually being brazen supporters of socialist redistribution.
If the label of “socialism” is going to be tossed around in such a stupid way and applied to federal policies that are intended to benefit those who need help the most, let’s make sure socialism is called upon wherever it s ‘applied ; and, that McConnell is clearly understood to be the greatest defender of socialism of all, and his state of Kentucky the top welfare recipient of the balance of payments from the Union of Red Socialist States.
While Democrats and Republicans seem largely united in expressing their resistance to Putin in his attempts to return Ukraine to a USSR-era zone of influence, how about Republicans also joining the democrats to tear down the USSR in the United States and abolish this Union of Socialist States of Red, advocating that the blue states claw back from the federal government as much as they pay?
Tom Rogers is editor for Newsweekthe founder of CNBC and one CNBC donor. He also established MSNBCis the former CEO of TiVo, currently Executive Chairman of Engine Media, and former senior counsel to a congressional committee.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.