This morning’s Detroit Free Press loudly and proudly proclaimed that Michigan is getting more federal dollars than it sends to Washington. The precise number is that the state gets $1.64 back from every buck it sends to the nation’s capitol. This is due in large part to the fact that Michigan has been hit the hardest by the economic doldrums, and that we have an aging state. Taxes are not collected from the state to the degree that used to be.
The article goes on and on, discussing all the ways in which tax collections are measured against the way the money is returned. But what gets ignored in all the rhetoric is a simple question: why ought we look at the situation as let’s get ours?
For starters, why can’t more tax monies just stay here rather than get levied by Washington only to be sent back? Then there’s the issue of whether we ought to see things as us versus them. That’s precisely what it sounds like: we need to make sure we get what we can, never mind the other states. Particularly the ones who must be underwriting the inequity.
It is little more than a formula for jealousy. And don’t trouble yourself too much about our bad economy. Has it occurred to anyone that maybe, just maybe, we might be in better straits if we were simply able to keep our money to begin with, to invest in ourselves? Why is it automatically seen as a good thing merely to have extra bureaucracy?
This is not the type of nation our founders envisioned. The next civil war will be over pieces of silver.