With Vermont Earning the Dubious Distinction of First Place, Northeastern States Dominate the Moocher Index
The Center for Immigration Studies recently put out a study arguing that immigration has had negative effects on California. One of their measures was a comparison of how many people in the state were receiving some form of welfare compared to other states. I found that data (see Table 3 of the report) very interesting, but not because of the immigration debate (I’ll leave others to debate that topic). Instead, I wanted to get a better understanding of the variations in government dependency. Is there a greater willingness to sign up for income redistribution programs, all other things being equal, from one state to another? The “all other things being equal” caveat is very important, of course, since the comparison produced by CIS may simply be an indirect measure of the factors that determine welfare eligibility. One obvious (albeit crude) way of addressing this problem is to subtract each state’s poverty rate to get a measure of how many non-poor people are signed up for income-redistribution programs. Let’s call this the Moocher Index.
A few quick observations. Why is Vermont (by far) the state with the largest proportion of non-poor people signed up for welfare programs? I have no idea, but maybe this explains why they elect people like Bernie Sanders. But it’s not just Vermont. Four of the top five states on the Moocher Index are from the Northeast, as are six of the top nine. Mississippi also scores poorly, coming in second, but many other southern states do well. Indeed, if we reversed the ranking and did a Self-Reliance Index, Virginia, Florida, and Georgia would score in the top 10. Nevada, arguably the nation’s most libertarian state, is the state with the lowest number of non-poor people signed up for welfare.
Let’s now emphasize several caveats. I’m not an expert on the mechanics of social welfare programs, but even I know that eligibility is not governed solely by the poverty rate. Indeed, some welfare programs are open to people with much higher levels of income. This means that a more thorough analysis at the very least would have to include some measure of income distribution by state. Moreover, states use different formulas for Medicaid eligibility, so this index ideally also would be adjusted for state-specific policies that make it easier or harder for people to become dependent. There also are some states (and even colleges) that actually try to lure people into signing up for welfare, which also might affect the results. And I’m sure there are many other factors that are important, including perhaps immigration. If anybody knows of most substantive research in this area, please don’t hesitate to share material.
States with no income tax have fewer "Moochers"...!
Commentary at the site:
Health care in Vermont is extremely expensive and unaffordable for working Vermonters. I find it ironic that my wife and I cannot qualify for Catamount Health Care, based on our income, nor can we afford $800 per month for health care premiums, with a $10k deductible, before any benefits are paid. It’s nearly impossible to get in to see a doctor because the welfare recipients are crowding the waiting rooms. Obviously they’re not working so they have more time to breed like cockroaches, thus increasing the amount of their hand outs from the State of VT.
Meanwhile, working families must go without and face bankruptcy if they are faced with a medical emergency. The liberal Vermont policies are open discrimination and outright thievery from the wallets of the working folks. I was born in VT but I am ashamed of my state.
If I can sell my house I would gladly move to NH, which seems to be more rational.
As a native Vermonter, I would have to agree with this analysis. Welfare and entitlement programs are spreading like a cancer throughout all of VT. The influx of “refugees” from other countries has added fuel to the fire as they have quickly discovered just how easy it is to milk the system and they are anxious to teach others all the techniques for abusing the system. Burlington is jam packed with free loaders and an investigative report at the food shelf in Burlington should be a must. You would be amazed at the expensive cars that show up there and the gold jewelry that some of the “poor unfortunates” don as they walk in for a hand out. One large family from Iraq, openly boasts about how easy it is to get everything for free while living in a nice home, with several cars and even their own driver. They also run several businesses under the name of a local, so that they can continue to steal from working people’s tax dollars. I’m sure the State of Vermont turns a blind eye on all of this and find it easier to milk honest working Vermonters and small businesses of their savings. Yet, even more surprising is the huge number of ignorant bleeding hearts here in VT that refuse to open their eyes and see what is truly going on. Meanwhile, elderly people who are too proud to ask for help (and are truly deserving of it) continue to scrape by and do what they can.
From right next door...
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