4/12/2010

More of What's The Matter with Kansas

Kansas is one of the nation's welfare states, in 2005 Kansas was #22 on the list of states that receive more in federal dollars than it pays. You'd think that would make the state somewhat "liberal," but you'd be wrong. The overwhelming majority of welfare states are "red" states; which is pretty consistent with the 1950's definition of "red." The socialists are complaining about creeping socialism.

With that in mind, Kansas is still as confusing as ever. On a recent trip to Kansas, I was bombarded with anti-abortion, pro-capital punishment, pro-war, pro-gun, anti-government propaganda. As always, the contradictions are endless. Thomas Frank's book on the subject pointed out how well corporations and their spokesgroup, the Republican Party, have used distractions and ignorance to confuse the hell out of this non-working class who depend on government handouts but who imagine themselves as being independent and hard-working.

My wife's relatives are a case in point. In a household of three adults, one is a "social worker" at a local prison, one is a clerk in the education system specializing in providing services to students reliant on the National School Lunch Program, and a retired public school teacher living on a pension and Social Security. The social worker made a special point of calling the President "Ohbooboo," and pretended that he was making a political statement, not a racist slur. The school clerk "hates" the President and his "liberal agenda." Only the retired school teacher refrained from any hate speech during our visit. In a state that takes in $1.22 in 2005 dollars for every $1 of taxes paid into the federal coffers, this family was not even a little unusual. Just guessing, I'd expect their productivity ratio was more like a 100:1 substidy-to-taxpayer statistic.

How does that work? How do people imagine themselves to be anything but dependent when they are totally living on the dole? Easy. Anyone who can believe in a all seeing, all knowing god who is more concerned with greedy, lazy, illiterate Midwesterners than starving Africian children is capable of self-deluding themselves into all sorts of crazy notions. Delusion is state-of-the-art in Kansas.

Consider the income the state hauls in in farm substidies, the millions of dollars in religious tax exemptions, and the fact that the only population increase the state experiences comes from illegal aliens, and you have a place that couldn't support itself under any conditions; a welfare state. I wonder if these are the folks South Carolina Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer was talking about when he said “My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”

Judging by the size of the average Kansan, I'd say we've been feeding them way too much.

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