Actually, People DO Prefer Mississippi To New York, Congressman Rangel
November 13th, 2006

New Yorkers hope they will gain substantially from the Democratic sweep in Congress the subject of essays by a range of New Yorkers in this weeks Gotham Gazette. (See After The Election — What Will Be Different Now)

How the rest of the country may react to any ascendancy of New York can be glimpsed by the hubbub following a comment by Congressman Charles Rangel in an article in the New York Times last Thursday entitled After Years On The Outs, New York Comes Back In.
Rangel, who will assume the chairmanship of the powerful tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, was complaining about the uneven flow of dollars from the federal government, and chose to put it this way: Mississippi gets more than their fair share back in federal money, but who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?”

Reaction was swift and widespread:
Please Come Visit Our State, Mr. Rangel wrote the Delta Democrat-Times of Greenville, Mississippi.

The other question Rangel might have asked is why people from Mississippi aren’t flooding into his politically corrupt, crime-ridden city, James W. Bailey wrote in The Clarion-Ledger, a Mississippi newspaper (though Bailey himself apparently lives in Reston, Virginia).

Mississippi Republican Congressman Chip Pickering demanded an apology: I hope his remarks are not the kind of insults, slander, and defamation that Mississippians will come to expect from the Democrat leadership in Washington, D.C. Pickering added: “I have friends and colleagues from New York that are fine people, and I’ve visited their state and think it is a wonderful place. But I love Mississippi. I would rather live in Mississippi, raise my family in Mississippi and serve Mississippi — and there are millions of Mississippians who agree with me.”

And they are not alone. An editorial today in the New York Sun compares the two states: From 2000 to 2005, Mississippi experienced a population growth of 2.7 percent, compared to 1.5 percent for New York. A larger absolute number of people may opt to live here, but Mississippi is growing faster. No doubt that has at least something to do with the business climate — a business group ranked Mississippi as the seventh best state to do business, while New York was put at 45th, apparently based mostly on various taxes.

And Steve Malanga in City Journal finds fault not only with Rangels uniquely obnoxious way of expressing himself but with the context of his remarks. Malanga argues that the predictions will prove false about New York legislators asserting unprecedented influence in Washington, and receiving unparalleled goodies for their constituents. There is no major pot of gold waiting for New York, only perhaps a few more scraps of pork sent our way, he writes. The reasons he cites for New York receiving less money in federal funding than it gives in federal taxes are manifold — a lack of defense contracts and of retirees, for example. But the reason why he thinks this will not change boils down to the New York delegation being too far to the left to have much clout nor effect. By voting against tax cuts, for example, Malanga says the delegation undermines the interests of their constituents, whose incomes are on average higher than those of taxpayers in most other states, [and who therefore] pay disproportionately more in federal taxes.

The legislators from New York, Malanga claims, really just want an increase in funding for social programs - and that, he argues, is not going to happen, because New York already ranks number one in per capita spending on many such programs. By contrast, he adds, Mississippi (to take Rangels example) received about 25 percent less per capita in social program spending than New York, though Mississippi has a higher poverty rate.

Update: Rangel has issued several, albeit oddly-worded, apologies. For a clue as to how Mississippians have reacted, see an account of the contretemps on the Web site of Station WDAM in Laurel-Hattiesburg, Mississippi which depicts Rangel literally as a horse’s ass. “In talking about wanting to bring more federal money to New York, he said he used Mississippi as an example because it gets back $1.77 for every $1 it sends to the federal government, and New York gets back 79 cents on the dollar.”

By on November 13, 2006, 6:55 am
In category: Gotham City,Public Finance | 12 Comments »

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12 Responses to “Actually, People DO Prefer Mississippi To New York, Congressman Rangel”

  1. A lowly Mississippian Says:
    November 13th, 2006 at 10:59 am

    Thank you Congressman Rangle:

    Thank you for your insight and opinion regarding Mississippi.

    Thank you for your concern and compassion for your fellow Americans (outside your district).

    Thank you for so quickly cutting through the facod and getting down to the brass tacks of dividing the pork so your district can gain a larger share.

    Thank you for helping to make it clear that the republican(s), collectively, let this country down, and now we get the government we deserve.

    And may God help us survive your reign.

  2. Larry Littlefield Says:
    November 13th, 2006 at 11:32 am

    (By voting against tax cuts, for example, Malanga says the delegation undermines the interests of their constituents, whose incomes are on average higher than those of taxpayers in most other states, [and who therefore] pay disproportionately more in federal taxes.)

    Malanga fails to give the Republicans enough credit. Early in the Bush Administration, the Giuliani Administration asked the place where I worked to come up with data showing that the tax cuts would be good for New York. I assumed this would be true. But it wasn’t — NY’s percent decline in taxes due to the cuts was near the bottom nationally, because of how they were constructed.

    Moreover, Republicans, while cutting spending in places like NYC, have not been slackers in increasing spending elsewhere, and by greater amounts?

    Do I expect New York to benefit now? No. Because the only way to do so would be to call the Red State’s bluff by cutting THEIR spending, and the Dems aren’t willing to do that.

    I interpreted Rangel’s remarks as a pre-excuse for NYC continuing to get a bad deal fiscally, not a prediction it would do better. We should be lucky to live here anyway, he said.

    Otherwise, he wouldn’t have used poorer-than-us Mississippi as an example. He’d have used the example of a state that is in many ways better off than we are but is nonetheless profiting at our expense fiscally. North Carolina or Tennessee, for example.

  3. Rusty(a Mississippi son) Says:
    November 13th, 2006 at 11:51 am

    As an individual born and living in Mississippi. If Cngressman Rangel is any indication lf the people that don’t want to live in Mississippi – I’m good with that! Mississippi is the best kept secret in the 48 contiguious staes. It is a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

  4. Lance Says:
    November 13th, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    I live at the same residence as Congressman Charles Rangel here in the 15th District, Harlem, New York City. Rangel has no shortage of failures within his own district where Black male unemployment is 55+% and children suffer from the disease of asthma at an epidemic rate and crisis level. These people and a lot more citizens now living in Rangel’s problem plagued district would love to live in Mississippi.

    My family originates from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. My mother, Cheryl Philips, lived at 418 Sears Ave. Waveland, MS until Katrina destroyed everything she owned leaving her nothing more than a concrete slab. She now has a FEMA trailer but her spirits are bright, she’s looking forward, and she LOVES living in Mississippi.

    My mother can live here in the 15th District, New York City, right at the very same residence of Charles Rangel, here with me. She likes visiting however chooses to live in Mississippi, in a FEMA trailer, volunteering and helping to rebuild the community. That’s character Charles Rangel knows nothing of.

    Note Charles Rangel had no problem with Mississippi when it came to accepting $27,000 in Mississippi Band Choctaw Indian Tribal Money, funneled to him courtesy of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff (this is well documented). Then with all the arrogance that can only come from Charles Rangel he refused to return one penny once the scandal broke.

    This is but one example of the shame and embarrassment Charles Rangel is as a Congressman. Locally Rangel represents 35 years of unfulfilled promise and functions basically as a “political crime boss”. I’ve addressed a small example of Rangel’s failures at a website I created called “” where I spare no punches.

    If it counts for anything, Mississippians, please accept my apology for my repugnant Congressman. Do know the enlightened and educated of Harlem simply refer to Rangel as our village idiot as he’s so well demonstrated (once again). When you line your pockets with $27,000 of Mississippi Choctaw Indian Payments orchestrated by Jack Abramoff, refuse to return it, then insult anyone who wants to live in Mississippi….is that not an idiot in a nutshell?

    Lance A Smith
    10 West 135th St. #14P
    New York City, NY 10037
    [email protected]

  5. Walt (a former Yankee) Says:
    November 13th, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    Mr Rangle, Thank God My Dad left New York to live in the South.

    Your state’s individual income is roughly twice that of a Mississippian. Do you think the poor in the South should pay for the problems of a northern rich city?

    Mississippi recently received a surge in federal dollars to help us recover from the devastation of Katrina. I’m sure this pushed our numbers further above what you would consider the “fair share” line.

    Your comments were hateful, demeaning and targeted against a State that is struggling to overcome not only Katrina but also a nasty storm of liberal mean-spiritedness.

    You are a “black leader” yet you choose to hate the blackest State in this country.

  6. Matthew Says:
    November 14th, 2006 at 12:10 am

    It’s statistically falacious to state that Mississippi had 2.7 percent population growth compared to 1.5 percent for New York, and infer that Mississippi is more “popular”. New York had an incomparably larger growth in population than Mississippi. The reason why Mississippi’s percentage growth is higher is that it is population growth relative to the states existing population, and Mississippi has a much smaller population. If anything, a state allready having a small population should count against its popularity, not for it. What Rangle said is just the same kind of nonsense said by all politicians around the country. Everyone thinks that their City, County, State or Country is “the best”. Politicians in particular have to say so; those in Mississippi and other places outside of New York are no different – just look at the preceding comments.

  7. Collective sigh Says:
    November 14th, 2006 at 12:59 pm

    We (the rest of the country) are simply relieved to know that Charlie is “your buffoon.”

    I guess everyone has their brother/uncle/cousin who succeeds in spite of himself, but is still a silent embarrassment to the family. We have ours, of course. At least he’s smart enough to keep his mouth shut and squander public funds quietly, most of the time.

    As head of Ways and Means, however, the jokes on all of us. Word of advice, place one hand over your wallet and with the other, hold your nose.

  8. Adam Gussow Says:
    November 14th, 2006 at 1:20 pm

    As a Rockland County (NY) native, a longtime Manhattan resident (1980-2002) who knows Rangel’s Harlem well and admires it greatly, and a happy transplant to Oxford, Mississippi (2002-present), I was dismayed by Rangel’s recent comment. In fact, I’m tempted to take it as a direct personal affront. Who the hell wants to live in Mississippi? Well, some of us DO, actually–including those like me who know the delights of both places. One of the things you learn when you relocate to Mississippi is that many people who have strong negative feelings about the place have absolutely no idea what life here is actually like in the year 2006. Instead, they’ve formed their judgments on the basis of the usual handful of pop cultural icons–MISSISSIPPI BURNING, GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI–and memories (often mediated by the media) of the Civil Rights years.

    This isn’t much different from the way in which non-New Yorkers prejudge New York–or did until 9/11–as a place filled with drugs, crime, and unfriendly locals. Harlem, as we know, had even worse press–a result of what happened there during the 1960s.

    That wasn’t the Harlem I knew and loved as a street musician there in the late 1980s (part of a duo called “Satan and Adam”), and Congressman Rangel’s Mississippi, likewise, isn’t the Mississippi that I’ve come to know and love.

    The Mississippi that I live in–a small college town about 75 miles south of Memphis–is a place in which the sun shines more often than not. It’s hot in the summer, but no hotter than Manhattan; it’s just hotter for more months of the year. It has crisp autumn nights, cold but snow-free winters, and gorgeous green springs.

    The Mississippi that I live in with my African American wife and 8-month old son is a place that hasn’t once spoken a harsh word or leveled a harsh glance against my “mixed” family. It’s a place that has embraced us our diversity in every respect.

    The Mississippi in which I live is a place in which people really know how to cook. All the spiciness of New Orleans cuisine seems to have wafted north. The dining hall here at Ole Miss has the best food–from deep-fried catfish and turnip greens to deep-dish peach cobbler and vanilla ice cream–of any cafeteria I’ve ever visited, except perhaps for that place on the corner of 135th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem.

    The Mississippi I know is a great place to be the long distance runner I am. It has fresh air and country roads. The dogs aren’t too bad.

    The pace of life is relaxed. People are friendly. There’s almost no crime.

    And yes: race relations are excellent.

    You need to get out more, Congressman Rangel. I’d love to host you down here, next time you’re in town.

  9. InkBlots » Blog Archive » Where are your manners, Rep. Rangel? Says:
    November 14th, 2006 at 7:42 pm

    […] “The other question Rangel might have asked is why people from Mississippi aren’t flooding into his politically corrupt, crime-ridden city,” James W. Bailey wrote in The Clarion-Ledger, a Mississippi newspaper (though Bailey himself apparently lives in Reston, Virginia). […]

  10. watchdog Says:
    November 25th, 2006 at 11:42 pm

    In psychology, there’s an idea that every family has a black sheep. The black sheep doesn’t necessarily exist because the person is bad. The black sheep exists because the other members of the family need a target to deflect attention away from their own issues and problems. Unfortunately, I think Mississippi, my home state, has become the black sheep of the United States.

  11. Lincon Says:
    August 6th, 2008 at 7:54 am

    That’s good blog for commenting,and a happy transplant to Oxford, Mississippi I was dismayed by Rangels recent comment. In fact, Im tempted to take it as a direct personal affront.

    Mississippi Treatment Centers

  12. glynn king Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 9:12 pm

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