Steven Dewey, in his letter to the Tribune, spins the conservative narrative that blue states are dependent on red states for handouts from the federal government. This is a popular theme that has been pushed by the GOP and the current administration. The reality is exactly the opposite. An AP fact check notes that Mississippi gets $2.13 back from the federal government for each $1 it pays to the feds in taxes. Kentucky gets $1.90 back. Meanwhile, the rich states of New Jersey and New York get back $0.74 and $0.81, respectively.

Additionally, USA Today confirms that 18 of the 19 poorest states have legislatures with both houses controlled by the GOP, and PolitiFact notes that 9 of the 10 poorest states are red states. An example: Residents of Harlan County in Kentucky received 54% of their income from the federal government. Yet the governor of Kentucky was elected after running on a platform of cutting the very social programs which disproportionately benefit his own constituents.

The reality is that blue states generally send more to the federal government than they get back in federal benefits, while red states generally get more in benefits than they pay to the federal government in taxes. So, the answer to Mr. Dewey’s question — “Who votes blue?” — seems to be that those who support themselves, but also value the role of government in providing a social safety net for those among us who are most in need, tend to vote blue, while those who oppose “big government” and its social programs, but benefit the most from them, tend to vote red.

So let’s end the false narrative that poor GOP states are supporting richer Democratic states, when exactly the opposite is true.

Dennis R. Edmonds, Sandy