RI Rides on the Stimulus Gravy Train
So, the ProJo editors decided to attack “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” for “fiscal hyper-hypocrisy“. Following the NY Times lead, the ProJo cites data from ProPublica showing that “oil-rich Alaska leads in per-capita federal stimulus money — $3,145.” They go on to list the 8 next highest spending/capita states–Montana, Vermont, North Dakota, New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho, Massachusetts and Washington–and gleefully note that “these are states where ‘fiscally conservative’ rhetoric attacking the Feds is rife.” Well, that’s one way of looking at the data.
For starters, here are the overall Top 10 federal stimulus receivers:
|By Total $|
No surprise, big states, right?
But the ProJo is trying to be clever and bolster their charge of hypocrisy by focusing on a per capita calculation.
|District of Columbia||$7,110|
This is the same data from ProPublica cited by the ProJo. I wonder why they left out stimulus money that went to Washington, D.C. in its per capita list? Well, I didn’t and I added Rhode Island–which came in 11th–to my list, though the ProJo failed to mention that, too. I guess it didn’t really help make their argument or they were so focused on skewering hypocrites they missed what’s going on in the community they supposedly serve.
Well, I said to myself, since they get to play with numbers, I want to do the same. A lot of the stimulus money went to infrastructure–roads, bridges and the like–and into the entities that support it. States with big land areas have more of all of that. So I wondered what the spending breakdown per square mile would look like.
|Per Sq. Mile|
|District of Columbia||$62,388,936.64|
Well, how about that? Pretty much the direct opposite conclusion can be drawn if the data is “shaped” that way. Small, though densely populated, northeastern states comprise half of this top ten. And lookee there, li’l ol’ RI is #3…and Alaska (not shown here) is dead last, followed by Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas and other big states.
All that being said, I guess, given the ProJo editors premise, Rhode Islanders aren’t hypocritical because we get a lot of stimulus–whether per capita or per square mile–and we continue to vote for those who brought it in. And can you imagine what our economy would be like without it? I wonder why the ProJo editors didn’t point that out…