Fox News’ The Five argued that petitions created and signed by people calling for secession from the United States following President Obama’s re-election were justified because conservative-leaning “red states” are more financially responsible than liberal-leaning “blue states.” But data shows that secession would lead to what is being called a “Confederacy of Takers” because “red states” tend to receive more in federal benefits than they pay in taxes, while “blue states” typically receive less.
In 2011, Obama established a mechanism for people to create and sign petitions on the White House website, and if any petition receives 25,000 or more signatures within 30 days, White House officials will respond to the petition. In the days following Obama’s re-election, people have filed secession petitions for several states, including Mississippi and Alabama.
Fox’s The Five gave credence to the states calling for secession, suggesting that some of the red states that filed the petitions have an economic argument. Co-host Greg Gutfeld proposed pitting “red states” featured in the secession petitions — such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas — against “blue states” and seeing who succeeds financially. Guest co-host and Fox regular KT McFarland suggested it was the “richer states,” particularly the Southern states, that will have to bail out “bankrupt” states like California. Co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle was similarly frustrated at states “sponging off the states that are making money.”
However, according to 2010 data compiled by Talking Points Memo from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Internal Revenue Service, “red states” generally are receiving more from the federal government in benefits than they pay in taxes when compared to “blue states.” Indeed, a chart made by TPM shows that several of the states calling for secession (and defended by Fox News) pay on average less in taxes than they receive in federal benefits: