You could get lost in the details. In fact, it’s hard not to do so, given the complexity of the federal budget.
And, when I get frustrated with the way Joe Manchin has played the role of chief barrier to the Democrats’ big plan for federal programs to help the poor, the sick, the needy, the elderly, and the young, I try to remind myself that Manchin is the senator from likely the reddest state to have a Democrat in the Senate.
Whatever his bond with West Virginians, it’s unlikely that another Democrat, especially a more liberal one, could hold that vital 50th seat for the party.
So there’s that. And that ain’t nothing.
But I couldn’t help noticing a stray fact that crossed my screen as I looked into this yesterday. A whole lot of liberal gummint money flows into West Virginia, largely to benefit, well, the poor, the sick, the needy and the elderly.
Here’ the actual fact, borrowed from a Karen Tumulty column in the Tuesday Washington Post:
According to statistics compiled by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, about 32 percent of West Virginians’ personal income last year came in the form of transfer payments — that is, government checks that include retirement and disability benefits, medical benefits, welfare payments, veterans’ benefits, unemployment compensation and education and training assistance.
That is a higher rate of government dependence than any other state. Mississippi comes in second — at just under 30 percent.
Kinda reminds me of an old gag (except it was reportedly an actual quote) uttered by a protester to his representative in Congress that went: “Keep your government hands off my Medicare.”