Mississippi is a red state. Blood red. Come November, there will be no doubt which column our 6 electoral votes slide into. In fact, blue people are wasting their time going to the polls. Mississippi is no swing state, not even close!
Head into any barber shop or beauty shop (not in the African American community) and you’ll hear folks ranting about government. The deficit’s too big. We’re spending too much. Our taxes are too high. Mention the $787 billion stimulus package, and you’ll get an earful about wasted money. Why, everyone knows it didn’t work!
But I’m the curious type, never content to believe a sound bite or headline. When the stimulus package was passed in 2009, part of the deal was an auditing and reporting process that tracked expenditures. Go to recovery.gov, plug in your zip code, and you can see actual jobs and expenditures in your area.
Our very red state has been awarded $2.8 billion for various projects across the state. You can look at a recipient list to see the beneficiaries of these dollars. Cities, counties, school districts, and universities lined up for their piece of the pie.
Jackson received $446 million. Gulfport got $102 million. University of Southern Mississippi pocketed a cool $20 million. My own Clinton, Mississippi, home to 25,000 people, received $5.3 million dollars. Redder-than-red Tupelo received $6.2 million. Tiny little Decatur, with about 1500 citizens, walked away with $883,000.
Many of those dollars were then passed on to private contractors, but many private businesses also received direct payments from the federal government. Fordice Construction (doesn’t get any redder than this!) was awarded $3.3 million. Gephart Electric boosted their revenues by $2.9 million thanks to Uncle Sam. Even Ducks Unlimited managed to wrest $1.1 million from the government coffers.
I don’t blame folks for getting their share of business from the unpopular piece of legislation. I just blame them for mouthing off the whole time their hands are out. How do you scream about government spending when you’re the one getting the government dollars?
It reminds me of my own blood coursing through my veins. If I cut my hand, the drops flowing forth will be bright red. But as I put my hand out, I see that when that blood is put into my veins and covered with flesh and bone, it looks blue.
Mississippi is the same way. Cut us, and we bleed bright red. But as we live our daily lives in the flesh, we sure do look like blue bloods!
>> Nancy Lottridge Anderson, Ph.D., CFA, is president of New Perspectives Inc. in Ridgeland — (601) 991-3158. She is also an assistant professor of finance at Mississippi College. Her e-mail address is email@example.com, and her website is www.newper.com.