Friday, January 27, 2012

Red state vs. blue state

Recently I have seen a picture circulating around featuring statistics regarding “red state“ and “blue state” financial contributions to the federal budget compared to their consumption of entitlement money. (I would post the picture but for two things; first it is not my intellectual property and secondly I am not very good at that sort of thing.) Naturally I am always wary of statistics, as it is easy to manipulate data sets in all kinds of ways, especially wary when they pertain to political issues.

For the sake of conjecture however I will take this one at face value. I offer a different explanation for the conservative attitude regarding entitlements, they might just be more familiar with the system as it functions. If it is true that “red states” receive a higher percentage of aid per capita than blue states, it is quite possible that they see first hand what it does to communities and they do not like the trend. Maybe they would do better if greater access to education was apart of the system, or community involvement.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I am not saying we should toss unemployed or underemployed families out into the streets, I strongly feel that the social safety nets are necessary to stave off desperate circumstances that could lead to consequences for all of us. What I am saying is maybe it is time to take a long hard look into the social ramifications of the system as it stands. I am not thrilled to have my tax dollars spent on supporting meth houses but I am totally ok with it being spent to help a family feed its children and keep a roof over their heads.

I propose a two birds one stone solution, get paid for your education. You are producing either intellectually or in the case of trade school physically and intellectually, why not find ways to fund the future while supporting today. Agro tech classes in rural parts of the country with land grants could also provide food for the community as student workers receive a salary and learn sustainable farming techniques. Urban communities could develop civil engineering programs where vital on the job training at all levels could start to tackle the problems with our failing infrastructure. Every city and town nation wide would do well to have a sustainable energy development program.

Instead of pointing fingers and placing blame, why not mobilize our workforce and revitalize our flagging economy?


  1. This was the original impetus behind the WPA in the Roosevelt administration, the GI bill of rights for retiring veterans, the California Conservation Corps, Americorps, and other well intentioned efforts. These programs have historically waxed and waned with the prevailing tides of politics. Maybe what is needed is a new universal Bill of Rights to include health care, education and employment as Constitutional guarantees over and above the push and shove of politics.

  2. life liberty and the pursuit of happiness could represent precedent for many of these.