Very Awesome -- The Moocher Index

The Moocher Index.  Percent of people in the state on the public dole minus the percent below the poverty line. Click to enlarge

I am sure you are blown away with surprise at the list of states at the top.


  1. Val:

    Heh... My beloved Nevada is dead last... Though they still haven't gotten that windmill running in Stead by the water treatment plant - and it was pretty windy today.

  2. Jaime:

    Would like to see this colored by red-state or blue-state. Top 10 look overwhelmingly blue. Correlation or causation?

  3. Griffin3:

    I wonder where the District of Columbia would rank, I need to look that up.

  4. Bob Hawkins:

    The linked article asks, "Why is Vermont (by far) the state with the largest proportion of non-poor people signed up for welfare programs?"


  5. PapaMAS:

    Ah, Northeastern Liberalism's big win!

  6. Michael:

    I didn't find any definition of "dole" and the minus "below the poverty line" isn't a good filter. If you take the Cato data in to Excel and subtract the 100% poverty numbers from the 125% poverty numbers, you find Mississippi at the top of the list with 8.6% of it's population just above the poverty line so you'd expect to see them at the top of the moocher list.

    Alaska on the other hand has one of the lowest number of people between the 100% and 125% line. Why are they so high on the moocher list? Does Cato think Alaskans receiving money from the constitutionally created Permanent Fund as being on the dole?

  7. A friend:

    Vermont is full, and I mean full, of rehab "retreat" centers. Tons of alcoholism in AK too. Would be an interesting chart.

  8. Henry Bowman:

    I read this article 2-3 days ago, and wasn't very impressed with the lack of analysis. It is simply unclear what this means. It might be very informative, but it's simply hard to know.

  9. colson:

    That must not include farm subsidies. I was surprised Nebraska was so low on the list given my state's propensity to take home huge amounts of farm subsidies. But then again, I think Cato said it was really an off-the-cuff look rather than an in depth analysis

  10. ABR:

    I'm glad my near and dear states are near the bottom! Texas, my place of birth and Colorado, where I call home! :D Go us!

  11. John Dewey:

    Was this data used correctly? The author subtracted
    % of population living in poverty
    % of households which used redistribution programs
    Suppose the households which used redistribution programs were very small in size - such as elderly widows in Maine or Vermont who relied on food stamps. Would it be valid to then subtract the poverty percent derived from the total population from that group?
    On the other hand, if the population living in poverty in Texas was mostly larger but younger families with children - Hispanics, perhaps - wouldn't that also skew the supposed "residual" the author is defining as moochers?
    If average welfare household was the same size as average household of the total population, this measure might be valid. But I doubt that’s true across all 50 states.

  12. DrTorch:

    Does this include Fed employees? I'm pretty surprised at VA and MD fairly low rakings.

  13. morganovich:

    it would be interesting to overlay this onto forecast budget deficits and outstanding debt at the state levels.

  14. LoFLyer:

    I am fracken' amazed at our DC politicians, the Democrats drive for Euro-socialism even while most of the Euro-socialists are backing away from big-government socialism that cannot be sustained without bankrupting their countries. Are Democrats keeping up with current affairs or do they only to listen to their supporters, the media, academics, and the liberal blogs? I find it inconceivable that Obama and the Democrats are driving down the same road the Euro's are backing away from. If you are smart you keep aware of current issues and past history. November will be the day of reckoning in this election cycle, and Obama and the Democrats are like Lemmings diving off the cliffs.

  15. Yoshidad:

    A few bets:
    1. I bet the "welfare" programs cataloged do not include corporate welfare, defense industries, nuclear plants (Price Anderson), or sprawl development subsidies (gigantic!).

    2. I bet all the "welfare" programs put together can't equal what the U.S. has spent on a single (working or not) major weapons system. e.g. "Star Wars"

    3. I'd bet that all the "welfare" programs combined and totaled since the Iraq war began don't come close to the cost of that war (recently calculated at $3 - $7 trillion by Nobel Laureate economist, Joseph Stiglitz).

    4. I'd bet that no one condemning the welfare queens believes they're bigots. They simply want fairness, and some relief from this bureaucratic meddling in their lives that supports all these losers.

    What I don't know:

    5. Does this figure include prison populations? Given that the U.S. is only 5% of the world's population, yet has 25% of the world's prisoners it its, I mean "prisons" it actually might make a difference

    Yes, I understand prisons are the "best" possible way to handle deviant behavior. After all, when we embarked on the "lock 'em up and throw away the key" policies that began with the Rockefeller drug laws (recently repealed) in New York, and accelerated with the "Just say 'no'" Reagan privatization of prisons, we insured that our crime rates would go down significantly, not like those wimps in Canada who didn't ramp up the gulag program....

    Oh wait, Canadian and U.S. crime rates have been insignificantly different, only the prison contractors have profited, not the public.