In 2012, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a small conference of supporters that “47 percent” of Americans were dependent on the federal government and give nothing back.
“My job is not to worry about those people," he said. "I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” he said, in a video that was secretly recorded by a bartender at a private Romney fundraiser.
The video soon went viral, and the “freeloader” myth became part of the national conversation.
Interestingly, new research shows that red states, so designated because they are deemed to be politically conservative and tend to vote Republican in national elections, receive more federal government funding than blue states, which tend to vote Democratic in national elections. The researchers say that blue states typically receive less government funding in general than red states, when funds are calculated as a percentage of total revenue, according to a recent report from Wallet Hub, an online personal finance site.
Researchers from the site looked into tax returns, state revenue and the number of federal employees per capita to determine how dependent certain states were on the federal government.
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“The idea of the American freeloader burst into the public consciousness when #47percent started trending on Twitter,” the report said. “While the notion is senselessly insulting to millions of hardworking Americans, it is true that some states receive a far higher return on their federal income tax investment than others."
In first place is Alaska, for which government money accounts for only 20 percent of total revenue. Mississippi, where federal funds represent 45.84 percent of the state's revenue, came in last place.
Click on the map below to see exactly what percent of each state's revenue comes from the government.