Update On Kp Ohio Homework

Lynne Kiesling

So I got two submissions for the Ohio voting outcome homework assignment: one from my virtuoso former student David Stone (and I can only, maybe, take epsilon credit for his virtuosity), and one from Ian Cook at Truck and Barter. Both got to where I expected, but took different routes to get there. Isn’t life grand?

And if you guys are OK with my posting what you sent me, send me an email and I will. Thanks!


4 thoughts on “Update On Kp Ohio Homework

  1. Actually, some friends of mine and I got into this as an area of discussion — and I had the same question you did. Unfortunately, I’ve not yet been able to find anything that has a comprehensive list of county-by-county tax payments-vs-federal receipts.

    Even without the numbers, however, and purely at the state level, I find this sort of a specious claim. Surely the population centers are going to have the largest concentration of taxable wealth and income. Aside from that meaning that we’d expect this pattern to happen simply because of population size (though this might be circular — if more people live there, doesn’t that say at least a small something about preferences?), I think it also means that the provision of services funded by federal taxes can do more with less. That is, it’s cheaper to serve the marginal person when there’s good public transit, better/more prominent information, or when the local taxes tend to pay for those things that make it easier for more people to take advantage of something paid for by federal taxes. Contrast builing an interstate highway into Chicago or NY versus an interstate highway to reach rural Alabama and Georgia.

    Additionally, there are large (and it kills me every time I think about it) payouts to Red states in the form of agriculture subsidies, farm-owner tax breaks, and so on. Then you have land-grant universities getting federal funding; not to mention the huge number of colleges that are in Red states that rely on federal funds versus the elite universities of the Northeast that draw people who can afford the school without loans, and have massive endowments to cover professors and facilities. Perhaps the distribution of military facilities has something to do with this as well. (I’m not sure how the accounting works for things like paying counties for use of land, subsidies for housing, etc.)

    How, also, should we count the items that go into fueling population centers that come from Red states? Power generation, natural resources, trash disposal, jails, the majority of solidiers currently serving; these are all things that the Red states produce in greater amounts than Blue, while Blue states consume them in far greater numbers.

    This isn’t to say the “direction of funds” is wrong; Red states clearly do receive more than they pay out in federal taxes. But it masks a number of issues with a broad claim that I don’t think means much.

    Unfortunately, in the discussions I’ve had with friends and coworkers, this tends towards the “Red states would go to hell without Blue states” sort of discussion. (It’s DC, and I think these things are taken more personally than I’m used to.) I tend to think that things are intertwined enough that seperating the two out means both sides would do poorly. (Only, that is, with our current system of federal governance. If we want to posit first-best libertarian solutions, things would look radically different.)

  2. Actually, some friends of mine and I got into this as an area of discussion — and I had the same question you did. Unfortunately, I’ve not yet been able to find anything that has a comprehensive list of county-by-county tax payments-vs-federal receipts.

    Even without the numbers, however, and purely at the state level, I find this sort of a specious claim. Surely the population centers are going to have the largest concentration of taxable wealth and income. Aside from that meaning that we’d expect this pattern to happen simply because of population size (though this might be circular — if more people live there, doesn’t that say at least a small something about preferences?), I think it also means that the provision of services funded by federal taxes can do more with less. That is, it’s cheaper to serve the marginal person when there’s good public transit, better/more prominent information, or when the local taxes tend to pay for those things that make it easier for more people to take advantage of something paid for by federal taxes. Contrast builing an interstate highway into Chicago or NY versus an interstate highway to reach rural Alabama and Georgia.

    Additionally, there are large (and it kills me every time I think about it) payouts to Red states in the form of agriculture subsidies, farm-owner tax breaks, and so on. Then you have land-grant universities getting federal funding; not to mention the huge number of colleges that are in Red states that rely on federal funds versus the elite universities of the Northeast that draw people who can afford the school without loans, and have massive endowments to cover professors and facilities. Perhaps the distribution of military facilities has something to do with this as well. (I’m not sure how the accounting works for things like paying counties for use of land, subsidies for housing, etc.)

    How, also, should we count the items that go into fueling population centers that come from Red states? Power generation, natural resources, trash disposal, jails, the majority of solidiers currently serving; these are all things that the Red states produce in greater amounts than Blue, while Blue states consume them in far greater numbers.

    This isn’t to say the “direction of funds” is wrong; Red states clearly do receive more than they pay out in federal taxes. But it masks a number of issues with a broad claim that I don’t think means much.

    Unfortunately, in the discussions I’ve had with friends and coworkers, this tends towards the “Red states would go to hell without Blue states” sort of discussion. (It’s DC, and I think these things are taken more personally than I’m used to.) I tend to think that things are intertwined enough that seperating the two out means both sides would do poorly. (Only, that is, with our current system of federal governance. If we want to posit first-best libertarian solutions, things would look radically different.)

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