US Politics

Ryan and Social Security

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As soon as Paul Ryan was picked as Romney’s vice-presidential nominee, Democrats descended on Ryan’s most controversial proposals, like his 2005 bill to privatize Social Security and his current proposal to replace Medicare with vouchers. The talk shows were abuzz: Would Ryan’s positions on entitlements cause him to lose the retirement state of Florida?

Even if Florida’s electoral votes get all the attention, Montanans collect more in Social Security than Floridians. The Census Bureau produces a handy chart showing the states that receive the most federal dollars.  Overall, Montana ranks slightly above the national average. In just Social Security, Montana ranks 7th, receiving $3,440 per person in retirement and disability checks, just edging out 8th-place Florida.

Montana residents receive more per capita in Social Security payments than Florida residents

*Source: U.S. Census, Consolidated Federal Funds Report 2010

In descending order, the states that receive more in Social Security payments than Florida are West Virginia, Alabama, Maine, Arkansas, Virginia, South Carolina, and Montana. Most of them are rural (and solidly Republican) states.

What would Ryan do with the savings? While his 2013  plan defers the details of tax cuts to the Republican tax gurus on the Ways and Means Committee, his 2010 plan proposed eliminating taxes on investment income, nearly zeroing out the tax bill for wealthier investors. Taken together, Ryan’s proposals would transfer wealth from poorer, rural states like Montana to richer, investment-heavy states like New York and California.

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About the author

Tyler Evilsizer

Raised in Helena, Tyler’s particularly passionate about the environment, transparency, and wonky budget policy. The views expressed are his own.

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