I get lost every now and then. I often don’t pay attention to where I’m going. I have one of those disreputable wandering minds, and I’ve come to accept it in my dotage and reluctantly make allowance. I look at maps.

I found some maps today that interest me. This map shows which states would benefit most from extending the Bush tax cuts. Like the rest of modern civilization, we have adopted a purportedly progressive tax structure, wherein people making a higher income are supposed to pay a greater percentage of that income than poor people. Rich people avoid some taxes by dividing their investments into trusts, which each file a separate tax return. Nonetheless, we probably shouldn’t be surprised that the people who benefited most from the Bush tax cuts are rich people who live on the northeast coast and the west coast, for the most part.

This map depicts federal entitlement spending by county, listing the specific programs under which the expenditures are made. The counties receiving the highest amount of federal dollars are rural counties in the southeast, and rural counties in the midwest. And this makes sense in light of the fact that that those programs – Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security – were designed with those areas in mind, and were put in place by their elected representatives. FDR was, after all, elected by the grandmothers and grandfathers of the people who now march on Washington in wigs and costumes.

This map puts some of that data together, showing that the so-called “tea party” southern states actually receive more federal expenditures than they pay in tax dollars. People in the south are clamoring to lower taxes on rich people who live far away from them and to end social programs that were put in place for them, and for which they have been paying all their lives. Why is that? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t want to be in Sean Hannity’s shoes when they figure out the answer to that one.

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