Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Column notes Jindal's hypocrisy

Governor Bobby Jindal wants to have it both ways - on one hand, decrying federal spending, but on the other depending on federal largess to maintain vital state services.

The Advocate's capitol bureau chief, Mark Ballard, calls the governor for his hypocrisy in this column, quoting a recent fundraising appeal: “While the federal government spends (and spends some more), our state continues to outperform the national and Southern averages.”

As Ballard notes, one big reason for the state's economic performance is that Louisiana receives a much larger share of federal aid than most states. Those ginormous checks Jindal is fond of handing out in front of photographers are generally courtesy of the federal government.

The truth, Ballard says, is that Louisiana receives $1.78 back from the feds for every dollar in taxes our citizens send to Washington. Over half of our state budget is funded by the feds.

Why do we get a disproportionate share of federal funding? It's because our state is so very, very poor. As are most of our Southern state neighbors.

What's most interesting, as Ballard makes clear, is that these states all have "widespread poverty and a leadership prone to macho posturing. The low-income people among us still need health care, their children still need education. They just can’t afford it. Luckily, the federal government is there to pick up much of the tab, so that Jindal and fellow Deep South governors don’t have to."

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