I stumbled on this fascinating map published yesterday on the New York Times website. It’s a national map showing the distribution of all federal benefits to individuals–including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans benefits, and so on–by county, so that you can see which counties are most reliant on federal social spending.
What’s fascinating is that the highest levels of federal benefits are not where you might expect them to be. They are not in cities. In many cases, they are in “red” parts of the country.
The only way this map could be better is if it included farm subsidies. I imagine they were excluded because they often go to corporate entities, and this is a map of benefits to individuals. But because many prosperous commercial farmers in America benefit from this form of government support, it might be included to round out this picture of geographical reliance on federal aid.
Food for thought.