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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The unseen hand

Flinty New Englanders, we are told, like to berate the federal government for too much spending intruding on their lives -- even when that government is shoveling money in their direction.

The Globe's Sarah Schweitzer shines a spotlight on that contradiction today in a story where we learn that even town mothers and fathers of Ashland, New Hampshire, have no idea of how federal tax dollars fill local coffers.

The tiny town of 2,076 receives approximately $11.7 million in federal dollars -- for Medicare, Social Security, education, home heating assistance and food assistance under the WIC program. The Globe breaks that down 0.51 percent of the $2.3 billion the state receives from Washington, even though it comprises only 0.16 percent of the state's population.
“I am just shocked,’’ said Jeanette Stewart, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, when told of the federal figures. “I didn’t figure the federal government was paying that much for all those programs for Ashland. That’s a lot of money.’’
Indeed it is, particularly in a state that doesn't like to tax its own, preferring sin taxes on cigarettes and alcohol -- gladly paid by border state residents -- and sky-high property taxes to assessing a fair share.

And it's also significant in a state that likes to claim it is a proper first test for presidential candidates, despite its small size and non-diverse population, one that believes in so-called conservative values and independence.

In one sense, New Hampshire is a microcosm for the harmful state of politics today, where candidates blithely throw around lies and distortions and fail to level with us about who caused our problems and how we all need to share in the solutions.

If New Hampshire takes its responsibility as a bellwether as seriously as it claims, that would require a vote for "None of the Above" on Jan. 10.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would assume you liberals love the idea of a state funding itself on sky-high property taxes, then the rich "haves" are paying for most of the programs? The 99% wouldn't own as much property as the 1%, right?

December 21, 2011 7:45 AM  
Anonymous Ty said...

NH also has a 8.5% business tax on revenues. Not profit, but revenues. MA is smart enough not to stick their hands in operating costs cookie jar.

Like every other state, they get theirs. It's just through different means, contoured so they can justify their ideological badges of honor.

NTTAWWT, that is until they start ragging on "Taxachusetts". Or claiming their way is the only way.

Nothing shuts my MA bashing NH Uncle up faster during the holidays than asking how much his property taxes went up this year.

There's also the pesky state monopoly on liquor. Socialism is ok when you're providing liquor at rock bottom wholesale prices not even the largest private distributors in MA can pull. ( Can't disagree there :) )

December 22, 2011 12:41 AM  

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