As expected, Gov. Mary Fallin is seeking federal aid to help people affected by the recent wildfires in Oklahoma, but don’t expect her to stop her anti-government rhetoric anytime soon.
In Oklahoma, we like to hate on that federal government, but we don’t mind the money.
More than 600 homes were destroyed in the fires, which torched 114,000 acres in Oklahoma, Cleveland, Payne and Creek counties. The fires, some of which authorities say were intentionally set, were also caused by the extreme heat and drought-like conditions. These conditions were most likely caused by global warming, according to one leading government scientist.
If the federal government does help us out, it will mean those people adversely impacted by the fires could receive grants and low-interest loans. How much that aid could cost the nation’s taxpayers is anyone’s guess right now, but the assistance is badly needed and should be granted.
What’s also badly needed around here is a basic recognition of how much Oklahoma relies on the federal government. In her state of the state speech last February, Fallin noted the state’s “success stands in stark contrast to the record of dysfunction, failed policies, and outrageous spending that occurs in Washington, D.C.” Does that still apply when you’re asking for money?
Republicans will shout that Oklahomans pay federal taxes, too, so they’re just rightly getting their money back, but studies continue to show the state-like most red states-receives more money back from the federal government than what they contribute.
According to 2010 U.S. Census and Internal Revenue Service figures, Oklahoma received $1.30 for every dollar it paid in federal taxes. That extra 30 cents adds up to a considerable amount of money. Without the consistent support of people outside the state, primarily in blue states that receive less federal money than what they contribute, Oklahoma simply wouldn’t be viable.
According to a Mother Jones article:
. . . some states are getting a lot more than they put in, and vice versa. The states that contributed more in taxes than they got back in spending were more likely to have voted for Obama in 2008 and were more likely to be largely urban.
The federal government remains a huge part of Oklahoma’s great “success” story. It’s sheer arrogance to pretend otherwise. Let’s hope it bails us out once again.