Senator Robert Bryd was the longest serving senator in U.S. history. He cast more votes than any other senator. Others have commented on his maturation on civil rights issues. We’re told that his colleagues are bereft — they hardly can imagine the place without him. Indeed, he was a model – and the envy of many an eye. Really, who could come close to him when it came to looting the taxpayers?
The largess he bestowed on his state is legendary. He has more than 30 buildings, roads, and monuments — in a very small state (41st in the nation) — named after him. But we do have some data that put into perspective how much taxpayer money was spent on all those buildings and countless other pork-barrel projects. As the Tax Foundation explained:
West Virginia taxpayers benefit significantly more than the average state from federal spending. Per dollar of federal tax collected, West Virginia citizens received approximately $1.76 in the way of federal spending. This ranks West Virginia 5th highest among all states. This represents a significant rise from 1995, when West Virginia received $1.59 per dollar of taxes in federal spending, ranking it 2nd nationally.
With a huge helping hand from Byrd, since 1981, West Virginia never dropped below 13th in the grabbing-money-from-taxpayers department.
I asked a number of budget gurus the total value of the taxpayers’ money that Byrd has hauled into his state since 1959. The unanimous response: it’s impossible to tell. But it’s a really big number. You can imagine that’s the sort of epitaph many a U.S. senator would love to have.