Report Shows Tea Party Hypocrisy

Image of Thomas Hart Benton painting

Oklahoma has come in third in a recent hypocrisy report that measures how much money states get from the federal government compared with how many of their residents identify as Tea Party supporters.

The Daily Beast, using polling data, recently reported that 34 percent of Oklahomans support the Tea Party, a movement based on anti-federal government ideology. The state received $7.8 billion in federal funds in 2009, the report states. That’s $2,123.13 per person. This makes the state the third “Most Hypocritical State,” according to the report. (Thanks to Alternative Tulsa for first reporting the information locally.)

Wyoming was ranked the number one most hypocritical state. Louisiana was second. New Mexico, Mississippi, Kentucky, West Virginia, South Dakota, North Dakota and Utah round out the top ten.

According to The Daily Beast:

. . . for all the braying about the government’s overspending, many states where Tea Party support is strongest coincide with states that suck up the greatest number of federal dollars per capita.

This survey is similar to the 2006 Tax Foundation report that showed Oklahoma receives an average of $1.48 back from the federal government for every dollar it gives it. According to the Tax Foundation, “ . . . many states that get the ‘best deal’ are lower-income states in the mid-west and south with expansive rural areas that tend to vote Republican.” Those states that pay more to the federal government than they get back more often support Democratic candidates, according to the report.

The contradiction here is evident. As Oklahoma Tea Party supporters and those politicians who want their votes decry federal spending, they omit crucial information. Without the extra financial help of the federal government and donor states, Oklahoma would be like an impoverished Third-World country or not a viable government entity at all.

Meanwhile, as the midterm election approaches, the state and country seems poised to give control of the government to people who want to reward wealthy people and corporations with tax cuts even as they pose as populists to manipulate voters.

The New York Times columnist Frank Rich put it this way:

Even as the G.O.P. benefits from unlimited corporate campaign money, it’s pulling off the remarkable feat of persuading a large swath of anxious voters that it will lead a populist charge against the rulers of our economic pyramid — the banks, energy companies, insurance giants and other special interests underwriting its own candidates. Should those forces prevail, an America that still hasn’t remotely recovered from the worst hard times in 70 years will end up handing over even more power to those who greased the skids.