Not All Federal Money Is Handouts
Another study reminding West Virginians how reliant we are on the federal government has been released. About 26.2 percent of Mountain State residents’ income comes from Washington, according to George Washington University.
But such studies, sometimes used to remind West Virginians how poor we are and how nice the federal government has been to us, often are flawed.
For example, income used for the GWU study included veterans’ benefits and pensions. Nearly one in 10 West Virginians is a veteran. They earned every dime of benefits and pensions. The percentage of veterans in our state is twice that of many others, including California, New York and Illinois. Of course, that means lower percentages of those states’ incomes are from Washington.
Also included in the GWU study were payments from Social Security and Medicare. West Virginia has a much higher percentage of older people, too, contributing even more to that appearance of reliance on federal money.
Many West Virginians are poor, relying on government benefits. But it bears remembering that much of the money from Washington was earned during long careers and/or through military service.