Are we the most conservative state?Published 10:20pm Monday, July 1, 2013
A recent survey rated Alabama as the most conservative state in the Union. More than half of our residents describe themselves as politically conservative. The poll was done by the vaunted Princeton, New Jersey Gallup polling firm.
Four of our sister states, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas, also ranked in the top 10 of the 50 states in conservatism, according to Gallup. All five of us are predictably, reliably Republican. The states of North Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma and Nebraska rounded out the top ten. All these states are rural and also very Republican. Therefore, all ten of the most conservative states are Republican states.
Another correlation is that all ten of the conservative states are very religious. The factor of whether gambling is policed and taxed was not a criteria for determining a state’s conservatism. However, if it was it would further enhance our status as the most conservative state. There are only three states in America who do not allow gambling with the proceeds going to the state. Alabama, Utah and Wyoming are the only non-legalized gambling states. Utah is a Mormon state and Wyoming basically has very few people. It would be more logical for them to tax buffalo chips than casino chips.
All of our surrounding states have lotteries, with the exception of Mississippi, which has full scale casino gambling. By the way, Mississippi relies heavily on gambling to fund their state government. Our sister states of Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina have lotteries. Louisiana has every form of legalized gambling.
The Alabama Legislative Democratic Caucus offered a plan to let folks vote on a lottery this year. House Majority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) estimated a lottery would raise $250 million annually. The legislation got very little traction in the Republican House or Senate.
At the same time, Alabama’s tax system has been ranked as one of the ten most regressive in the country, again. The respected Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a non-partisan think tank based in Washington, D.C, does the ranking. The report revealed that Alabama’s regressive tax system calls for the lowest 20 percent of income earners to pay 10 percent of their income in taxes while the top 1 percent of income earners pay less than 4 percent of their income in taxes.
The regressive nature of our tax system stems from our 1901 Constitution. White Black Belt political leaders controlled the machinations of Alabama politics and government. They also seized control of the constitutional convention. They orchestrated the drafting and adoption of the document. Their mission was threefold. Number one, to disfranchise African Americans. Number two, to place the tax burden in the state on the backs of poor whites. Number three, to keep property taxes low. They accomplished their mission. Today, Alabama has the lowest property tax in the nation. Indeed, if Alabama’s property tax were double it would still be the lowest in the nation.
The U.S. Postal Service, which has lost ground in recent decades due to the advent and increasing use of email and other internet services, attempted to stop delivering mail on Saturday. The cutback was scheduled to begin in August and arguably could have saved $2 billion annually. However, the Government Accountability Office opined that the U.S. Postal Service did not have the authority to make this decision.
The postal service has not had the budget support from Congress in recent years. This was not the case during the middle part of the last century. The years 1930-1960 were the golden years of the U.S. Post Office. During this era the post office department had no merit system and no unions. It was the premier kingdom of American politics and patronage. Franklin Delano Roosevelt made it his political playground. All postal workers were political appointees. All contracts to haul the mail went to friendly trucking firms.
FDR’s legendary lieutenant, or most would say political general, Jim Farley, was the Postmaster General. Farley was the most prominent and powerful politician in the country. He was a master politician. You can bet your bottom dollar that the U.S. Postal Service would have gotten any amount of money they needed from Congress during the Roosevelt and Farley era. This department would have been the last to see any federal cutbacks. In fact, Congress would have allowed them to deliver mail on Sunday if they wanted to because most congressmen’s brother-in-laws or children were on the post office payroll.