Ragged Clown

It's just a shadow you're seeing that he's chasing…


Red states, blue states. Makers and takers.

Nate Silver’s column today was about how the tech industry overwhelmingly supported the Dems in the recent election. Obama won 84% of the vote in San Francisco and almost as much in Silicon Valley and the rest of the Bay Area.

Even more striking was the proportion of donations from tech companies that went to the Dems – not just in Silicon Valley but across the nation. The following table shows where donations from employees of the ten most admired tech companies went.

From 538 @ NY Times

Ron Paul received more money from Google employees than Romney did.

Nate Silver focussed on the possible link between donations by techies and the failure of Romney’s data systems, presumably because all the competent techies were working for Obama. It’s far more interesting to me to consider what this pattern of donations says about Romney’s musings on who are the makers and who are takers and how Obama bought his votes with bribes to an underclass of moochers.

Mitt Romney told his top donors Wednesday that his loss toPresident Obama was a disappointing result that neither he or his top aides had expected, but said he believed his team ran a “superb” campaign with “no drama,” and attributed his rival’s victory to “the gifts” the administration had given to blacks, Hispanics and young voters during Obama’s first term.


I often wonder how the Republicans explain away Silicon Valley’s and New York’s overwhelming support for the Democrats. Does it interfere with their they-want-to-punish-success explanation that the well-remunerated employees of the most successful companies in the country actually prefer their political opponents? Surely not all of those tech employees are minorities voting for bigger handouts or young women voting for free contraceptives? What does it say about the class warfare narrative when 44% of people earning more than $250,000, voted for the party that wants to raise their taxes? How do they deal with the cognitive dissonance?

While we are on the topic of cognitive dissonance, have the conservatives not noticed that federal spending overwhelmingly flows from blue states to red states?

According to The Economist,

New York transferred over $950 billion to the rest of America’s fiscal union from 1990 to 2009. But relative to the size of its economy, Delaware made the biggest contribution, equivalent to more than twice its 2009 GDP.

Do they not know that marriages are more stable in blue states? Or that rates of drug abuse, teen pregnancy, obesity, drunk driving, armed assaults and poverty are higher in red states than blue states (not to mention European states)? Remind me, which is the party of individual responsibility?

Jeffrey Frankel, Professor of Economics at Harvard (from whom I purloined many of my red state/blue state facts), thinks that the folks who eat most heartily from the federal trough have a gap in their awareness of which groups are the freeloaders and that their politicians help to widen that gap.

The people who suffer the biggest gap between their perceived and actual share of the federal pie are likely to be getting a disproportionate share and yet to believe the opposite. If they believe that others are getting more than they themselves are, they are more likely to buy into the angry belief that other social groups are freeriding on society, and the ideology that government spending is wasteful and needs to be cut back, without realising that this includes the benefits they themselves receive. Perhaps these people are more likely to vote for Republican politicians, who tell them what they want to hear.

I have often wondered, in an odd echo of Romney’s 47% speech, whether the federal system with blue states subsidizing the red states, provides cover for the failings of conservative policies. If the federal government stayed out of healthcare, education, social policies and social security like the tenth amendment says it should, the blue states could experiment with universal healthcare, gay marriage and gun control and the red states could ban abortion, teach abstinence only sex-ed and do away with social security without messing it up for the rest of us.

In the laboratory of democracy, which petri dish would you rather live in?