In Response To Paul, McConnell And Rogers, Begala Says “Defund Kentucky”

by Gabe Bullard on February 16, 2011

Democratic consultant Paul Begala has penned an op-ed for The Daily Beast arguing that the small government rhetoric of Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, and Representative Hal Rogers is hypocritical, given Kentucky’s dependence on federal money.

Take Kentucky, please. Kentucky has given us Makers Mark bourbon, Churchill Downs, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Kentucky has also given us Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, tea party favorite Sen. Rand Paul and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers. While Rogers was once dubbed the “Prince of Pork” and McConnell has hauled so much pork he’s at risk for trichinosis, they are now converts to Sen. Paul’s anti-government gospel.  McConnell says President Obama’s new budget is “unserious” and “irresponsible” because it merely cuts projected deficits by $1.1 trillion.  “The people who voted for a new direction in November have a five-word response,” McConnell said, “We don’t have the money.”

Fair enough.  So here’s my two-word response: Defund Kentucky. Cut it off the federal dole. Kentucky is a welfare state to begin with. The conservative Tax Foundation says the Bluegrass State received $1.51 back from Washington for every dollar it paid in federal taxes in 2005 (the most recent data I could find on the Tax Foundation’s website.)  We need to listen to the people of Kentucky. They don’t want any more federal spending in their state—and they certainly must be appalled by the notion that they’re a bunch of welfare queens, living off the taxes paid by blue states like California(which only gets 81 cents back on the dollar), Connecticut (69 cents), Illinois (75 cents) and New York (79 cents).

The issue was briefly raised during Paul’s race for the U.S. Senate. In recent years, we’ve seen many rural writers and advocates take increasingly bold stands against federal program cuts. From Post Office closures to poorly-expanded internet access, rural areas often see the effects of altered spending first. Of course, Louisville benefits from federal spending as well. Many previously-proud earmark earners say now is the time to end the process and close the deficit. Others, however, argue that in times of recession, a balanced budget should not be a high priority. When asked about the cuts in various federal budget proposals in the House, Third District Congressman John Yarmuth told WFPL:

“A lot of us, for whom some of these cuts the Republicans have proposed and even cuts like the ones the Obama administration has proposed would be much more acceptable if we didn’t have 10% unemployment and so many people suffering.”

What are your thoughts on how to square rural difficulties with small-government politics?

Comments Closed


Tom French February 16, 2011 at 11:19 am

The reason Kentucky is so hooked on federal money is quite simple, when you don’t have to do anything to get what you want why try! For far too long we have had things handed to us freely under the guise of helping the less fortunate. This is totally opposite of how this state and this nation started. We started with very little and started working for the things we needed which in turn generated the skills necessary to survive. When you don’t have to work to get it then you lose those skills which we have done. It is high time that Kentuckians got up off their seats of do nothing and do something about it. Stop whining about what you don’t have, be thankful for what you do have, and work to get what is needed. Start being a state that does for others, we have great resources of people who can do just that.

Tyler February 17, 2011 at 6:50 am

Editor: Tyler, let’s keep it brief next time, OK?
As a person who now lives in Kentucky and has lived in Kentucky for 4 years, that article has really made my blood pressure through the roof.

From the point of the article, he is making fun of Rand Paul, Mitch McConnel (personally I could care less for either) for saying they need to cut more spending than what Obama actually cut. When in contrast Kentucky is a state that receives back $1.51 for every $1 paid through federal taxes. Am I right?

So what does he propose the Gov’t do? Let’s not give Kentucky anymore money.

Ok. Say we do “defund Kentucky”. Let’s do the math he provided in the article. The government is cutting it’s spending by 1.1 trillion $.

80% of Medicaid and SSI = 8.5 billion
flood insurance = 2 billion
crop insurance= .667 billion(667 million in the article)
mortgage insurance = .887 billion (887 million in the article)
oh, and we also got a new fire truck for .0001 billion (100,000 dollars in the article)

So if we total this up we have 12.0541 billion dollars( $12,054,100,000)

So he is saying if we cut spending to Kentucky we will increase the cut from 1.1 trillion to 1.1120541 trillion dollars. Hmmmm.

Something doesn’t add up here. Is that all Kentucky saves the government?

Now I think for someone who it trying to make Kentucky look like we have our hands in the cookie jar he could have pulled some more intriguing numbers that would make one stop and think.

( the following is the link to the research he mentioned from the Tax Foundations webssite copy and paste the link ) (

Kentucky pays in $20 billion in taxes, and receives $39 billion in spending. Totaling to $19 billion difference. So the $1.1 trillion should actually be $1.119 trillion. ??? I am still not impressed considering we spend almost $7 trillion every year.

I have included below the 10 states who receive more than they pay.
The Top 10 States

1 New Mexico – $2.03
2 Mississippi $2.02
3 Alaska $1.84
4 Louisiana $1.78
5 West Virginia $1.76
6 North Dakota $1.68
7 Alabama $1.66
8 South Dakota $1.53
9 Kentucky $1.51
10 Viginia $1.51

I forgot one intersesting piece that comes from the article. If you scrolll down all the way to the bottom of the sheet. It includes Washington DC, but doesn’t include it in the ranking (because it isnt considered a state). For every $ of Federal Taxes it pays in, it received $5.51 in federal funding!

Washington DC pays in over $6 billion in taxes each year. It recieves $37 billion.

Kentucky pays in over $20 billion in taxes each year. It receives $39 billion.

Kentuckians do not deserve to take the blame for all of the money we are receiving. It is the National Government as a whole that needs to be blame.

Talulah February 16, 2011 at 11:21 am

As a Pulaski resident drive on over and see the abandoned Hal Rogers Airport Terminal, standing there abandoned with weeds around it. Hal sure enjoyed those direct flights to DC on taxpayers $$$ while they lasted. Now he thinks he can change his spots? Yeah, right. How about reducing his own pension fund???

dale benson February 16, 2011 at 11:53 am

They say the truth will set you free. I have been saying for a while now that to be a true representative of the commonwealth of Ky. that you are being foolhardy to complain about federal spending when our state is one of the largest beneficiary ‘s of the federal tax dollar. I guess the truth has come home to haunt us.

freeman February 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I think defunding Kentucky is a great idea. While your at it, how about all 49 other States too. Maybe then we would see some good old fashioned federalism as the U.S. Constitution describes.

patrick February 16, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I agree with “the forehead”, I believe that all states should begin to pull away from Washington. The best place to start would be to do away with the department of education and cut the federal funds to the states. Rand Paul’s budget names a few bureacratic agencies that should be elliminated or minimized severely. His budget would cut 500bn. But this is just a start. And ask me about a solution to the SS problem, as well as the Medicare/medicaid problem.

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