Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton Opposed D.C. Statehood Stating Wyoming Would Be More Deserving For Various Economic Reasons. Let’s Examine That, Shall We?

Scott Holstad
21 min readJun 28, 2020


Arkansas Republican U.S. Senator Tom Cotton made some idiotic comments and assertions yesterday in response to the House passing legislation to introduce Washington D.C. as an official state. He replied Wyoming is substantially more deserving because it is a “well-rounded working-class state.”

Cotton says Wyoming’s ‘well-rounded working-class’ population more worthy of statehood than DC

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton — [Photo courtesy CNN]

[Some sections from the CNN article…]

Wyoming is smaller than Washington by population, but it has three times as many workers in mining, logging and construction, and 10 times as many workers in manufacturing. In other words, Wyoming is a “well-rounded working-class state. A new state of Washington would not be.”

Advocates of D.C. statehood point to the fact that residents pay taxes to the federal government but don’t have representation in the U.S. Senate and only have one non-voting delegate representing them in the U.S. House. But Cotton argued that Democrats are only pushing for D.C. statehood so they can “have two new Democratic senators in perpetuity” and to “rig the rule of our democracy.”

Arguing against a Democrat-backed House bill that would admit D.C. as a state, Cotton jokingly questioned what “vital” areas of industry for D.C. would be: “Lobbying? Bureaucracy? Give me a break.”

He said that D.C .as a state would be “nothing more than an appendage of the federal government.”

The senator also claimed that the largest group of workers in the District “by far” are “bureaucrats and other white-collar professionals.” It’s true that nearly a quarter of D.C.’s workforce is part of the federal government, according to statistics provided by the city’s Department of Employment Services, though the workforces of many other U.S. cities are predominantly “white-collar.”

Democrats swiftly criticized Cotton.

“D.C. residents are Americans who pay federal taxes and they shouldn’t get screwed just because Tom Cotton doesn’t think they have the right jobs,” Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii wrote on Twitter.

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut tweeted that Cotton’s remarks amounted to “job shaming.”

“Awesome! I’m in. Great idea. This CANNOT go wrong. Let’s rank the virtue of every profession and if your state has too many workers in the bottom 20% you get kicked out of America,” Murphy tweeted.

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Awesome. Why don’t we try his theories and assertions out, just at an introductory basic level as it seems that’s all he’s likely capable of grasping despite his privileged “white-collar,” non-“working class” education.

I. Population of Certain Sample States/Territories (2019):

  1. California: 38,512,223 — % of Total Population: 11.91%

34. Arkansas: 3,017,804 — % of Total Population: 0.91%

50. District of Columbia (D.C.): 705,749 — % of Total Population: 0.26%

52. Wyoming: 578,759 — % of Total Population: 0.17%

Perhaps you noticed that just for a bit of fun I added Senator Cotton’s home state of Arkansas, which I have no doubt qualifies as a legitimate U.S. state to him and many others, just like Wyoming. I wonder how it stacks up to the undeserving, clearly inferior District of Columbia?

II. List of states and territories of the United States by GDP (2019)


  1. California — 3,183,251.

a. % of Nation — 14.6

b. GDP Per Capita — 80,563

34. District of Columbia (D.C.) — 148,231

a. % of Nation — 0.7

b. GDP Per Capita — 210,033 (#1 in the U.S.)

51. Wyoming [Behind Puerto Rico at #39] — 39,794

a. % of Nation — 0.2

b. GDP Per Capita — 68,757

35. Arkansas — 135,225

a. % of Nation — 0.6

b. GDP Per Capita — 44,808

Washington D.C. has the highest GDP Per Capita in the entire country (#1). Meanwhile, the ONLY states with a lower GDP-Per-Capita ratio than ARKANSAS are West Virginia and Mississippi.

Seems to me that possibly the most economically valuable place in the U.S. may be D.C. while Wyoming seems somewhat irrelevant in comparison even though it allegedly meets his description of a “well-rounded working-class state” (based on what specific definition and criteria are subjective and open ended, as well as the presumption that in Senator Cotton’s privileged Harvard educated mind, apparently the only “well-rounded” U.S. states are “working-class” states, which presents more problems, such as it smacking of major discrimination, major hypocrisy and an implication that unless one is a traditional blue collar worker in manufacturing or something similar, you don’t qualify as “working class,” regardless of your employment status such that white collar workers — such as Tom Cotton — are “obviously” NOT working class, nor are any in Wyoming, D.C. and Arkansas for that matter, which may find delight in the eyes of the often overlooked blue collar working class of which Senator Cotton fondly refers to yet is not a part of while simultaneously insulting many other citizens, his peers, neighbors, and those who possibly took a different route, undergoing different hardships to attain a traditional white collar job in D.C., Wyoming, Arkansas or anywhere else, a path that Cotton clearly disdains despite the fact that this describes his entire career!) and Arkansas doesn’t seem to add anything tremendously significant or unique to this country’s economy. (How do you fine folks in Arkansas feel about that blatantly offensive statement? Cause that’s basically what your senator just did specifically to the fine folks in the District of Columbia, while also making implications about other workers who do not sufficiently fit within his oddly defined “working-class” parameters. Doesn’t feel good, does it? Kind of something a jerk might say?)

Thus, it seems a case could be made that most states and territories (not just D.C.) “deserve” to be states rather than ARKANSAS, particularly if you follow Cotton’s line of “reasoning.”

III. Unemployment Rates for States, May 2020

[U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]

Best To Worst:

  1. Nebraska — 5.2%

3. Wyoming — 8.8%

4. District of Columbia (D.C.) — 8.9%

14. Arkansas — 9.5%

Conclusion: D.C., with a population of about 125,000 more than Wyoming, has only 0.01% more people than Wyoming who are unemployed, indicating there are many more people who ARE employed, with its higher GDP, the residents pay more taxes, as well having more and possibly “better” jobs (going by the industries in the respective states). Meanwhile, Senator Cotton’s state has a population of 2.3 Million more than D.C. and 2.6 Million more than Wyoming and with its greater 9.5% unemployment rate, I don’t have the time or energy to run the numbers, but obviously a large number of that state’s citizens have fewer jobs, no matter blue or white collar, and hence quite possibly could be viewed as draining the U.S. taxpayer of the funding on local unemployment, welfare, Medicaid, etc., so again it seems reasonable to assert that both D.C. and Wyoming contribute more in terms of jobs and employment than Arkansas, which appears not to be pulling its weight in comparison, possibly proving a drain on the country’s economy.

IV. Which States Generate (Pay) the Most Federal Taxes (Gross) per the IRS?

A. Total Gross Federal Taxes Paid by State (Fiscal Year 2018)

  1. California — $456.6 Billion

27. Arkansas — $32 Billion

30. District of Columbia — $28.4 Billion

51. Wyoming — $4.9 Billion

B. Federal Taxes Paid Per Capita (2020) [List of Top 10]

1. District of Columbia (D.C.) — $10,517.59 (#1 in the U.S.)

4. New York — $9,078.12

7. California — $7,679.53

10. Wyoming — $6,936.12

Arkansas isn’t on this list. The residents of Arkansas contribute less federal taxes per capita than both D.C. and Wyoming, once again driving home the point to Senator Cotton that maybe he should rethink his assertions and ignorant, poorly stated analogies (in using Wyoming as a comparison) against Washington D.C., because the data appear to show that it is the state of Arkansas that may be the deadbeat noncontributing state, and not Wyoming, while proving that D.C. contributes more to the country’s economy and more to the federal bank balance than most any other state per capita, especially Arkansas. And with Arkansas’s embarrassing unemployment numbers in terms of percentage as well as actual numbers of people, Senator Cotton obviously needs to look toward improving his own inept state rather that trashing locations seemingly more deserving of statehood — simply due to political opposition.

The truth and the facts are that he fears if D.C. becomes a state it will be Blue and Democratic politicians will be elected to Congress, thus weakening Republican power. That is the literal truth and his transparent “reasoning” shows how morally and intellectually bankrupt he is in making soundbites that sound great to the party and people back home but that are not backed up by reality and are easily refuted while actual hard data suggest his home state — using his “logic” — is less deserving of statehood than Wyoming and most certainly Washington D.C. I can’t say for sure if he believes the junk he spews on this and other topics, but I enjoy pondering that he’s so bereft of intellect he very well may. I could be giving him too much credit for knowingly lying just for political gain. He may simply be that dull. Chances are though that appearances notwithstanding, like many Alt-Right politicians, he’s clever when it comes to tearing things down, but incapable of creating actual policy and workable legislation and like most current GOP politicians, unmotivated to do the jobs they’re supposed to do — which would be to govern. Unmotivated and incapable, because after Donald Trump got into office, the GOP leadership nearly had public orgasms while gleefully gloating about FINALLY gutting Obamacare after so many dozens of failed attempts at wasted taxpayer expense, but once in control of the Oval Office and all of Congress, not only could Paul Ryan et al not craft policy, this GOP Congress was too incompetent to destroy legislation despite having all the power with no serious opposition. That’s what you get for dumping your legislative staffers and replacing them with marketing geeks, a lesson learned from Master Trump that has earned that genius businessman some five major bankruptcies.

Let’s continue…

This next section will display and reinforce what should be obvious to many, but possibly not to many illiterate alt-rights who seem to lack critical thinking skills. Since Republicans care so very much about federal taxes (among other forms of taxes) and assert the tax burden to be too great for all (most especially the wealthy and the corporations), in order for them to be consistent with their never-ending whining about the cruelty of taxes and the BURDEN they impose on people and states, they would no doubt pay careful attention to the following datum, sympathize with the oppressed and fight to right the wrongs of those most oppressed by federal taxes. Right? I mean you do want to be consistent in your longest stated policy agendas after all…

C. Federal Tax Burden as a Percent of Income (2020) [List of Top 10]

1. District of Columbia (DC) — 17.40% (#1 in the US)

3. New York — 16.57%

7. California — 15.19%

10. Illinois — 14.54%

That would include no visible sign of either Wyoming or Arkansas, both of which Senator Cotton would seem to think deserve statehood on economic grounds per his statements, yet neither of which contribute as much nor take as big a financial hit via taxes than Washington D.C. Thus, again using his own version of “logic,” Washington D.C. literally deserves statehood more than MOST states, including Wyoming and most definitely Arkansas, if for no other reason than its citizens share a larger load of the federal taxes collected by the government than any other state or territory. Senator Cotton criticizes D.C.’s mayor for recent protest “crime,” yet as virtually everyone knows, including numerous officials in his own party, the primary crime he undoubtedly alludes to was literally committed by the GOP federal government on the explicit instructions of this country’s Attorney General, William Barr, currently being investigated for possible unethical, potentially illegal hiring/firing practices of federal officials presumably on behalf of President Trump, the person ultimately responsible for instigating any such crimes (perpetrated by U.S. federal agents) while making insipid, useless, inappropriate, fraudulent, insulting, insincere and hostile decisions and actions for a meaningless photo op that inspired no one, other than inspiring ample criticism, including from a number of people forced to accompany him on this foolish opportunistic joy walk. Again, this is merely one example. President Trump has routinely encouraged and implicitly instigated countless violent crimes, committed by his followers and others, and recently pressured all of the state governors, virtually none of whom he had helped with the current pandemic despite their pleas for federal aid and at the expense of his own citizens’ lives simply due to political bias, to get violent and “dominate” U.S. citizens exercising their First Amendment rights, a practice he abhors unless applied to he and his followers.

I could go on writing endlessly and if I had the time and energy, I would do so because I enjoy proving assertive powerful morons wrong and it’s fun to do. Senator Cotton is an easy one due to the vapid remarks he consistently makes, as well as his hypocritical assertions and lies, such as those surrounding the House’s nomination of D.C. for statehood and his opposition to it. However not only do I not have the time and energy for doing so, but I won’t want to waste the time and energy for doing so and frankly I feel that the content, data and facts in this article conclusively show Senator Cotton to be wrong, thus ultimately showing his real motivation as simply political, in that he wants to discriminate against a legitimate area simply because he fears oppositional political party candidates will be voted into office from this area and THAT is the real reason for his objection.

5. What About Food Stamps? Isn’t D.C. Crawling with “Welfare Queens?”

Because this article was intended only to show how foolish and hypocritical Senator Cotton’s comments were regarding his opposition to Washington D.C. as a state, I focused only on some very narrow select basics. Really having fun making a few points. Obviously I’m aware nothing in this world, no matter what the Calvinists think, is black and white. There’s a whole lot of gray out there. Despite my proving D.C. residents have more than paid their dues in taxes alone to justify being granted statehood, it is not a perfect place. Like all places, it has its problems. And I’m not going to delve into that because there are probably hundreds of books on these subjects alone and I’m not going to write another and certainly not for free. So while one can assert D.C. lacks in some areas, let’s remember that many people and places have stereotypes attached to them, fair or not, and these can be good and bad, not necessarily just bad. But I have often heard certain conservatives complain about a perception of too many people on federal aid in the District so I though I would address one final thing, related to its acceptability for statehood consideration but not directly attached to the previous points.

SNAP: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). While the GOP is forever screaming to get rid of this program, ironically many of their constituents who typically follow them to hell and back often disagree on this one, largely because the vast majority of state citizens dependent on federal aid live in southern Red States, so these politicians would be hurting their own, which is why it makes them so furious. The true “elite” in D.C. doesn’t want federal money to go out to help anyone for any reason. George W. Bush was the one to introduce the notion that charities, led by churches (which are not really charities), should be responsible for helping those in the community and most certainly not the federal government. If conservative Christians actually did even appear to care for others who may be disadvantaged, in need, sick, poor, etc., and were willing to do as their messiah seemed to instruct and take care of such, EVEN if they belong to a different political party or even another religion (the good Samaritan anyone?), I think more people would feel confident in that dream but since so many Christian nationalist theocrats seem to hate “The Other” more than anyone in the world with the possible exception of the Taliban, that’s not remotely realistic. Thus, GOP politicians are forced to scream bloody murder about SNAP and other programs but they’re not stupid enough to kill them off because they’d all be unemployed quite soon after and the GOP might no longer exist.

So, since we have SNAP, what about that perception of D.C. being uber-reliant on Uncle Sam? The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a handy webpage titled:

A Closer Look at Who Benefits from SNAP: State-by-State Fact Sheets

which was updated March 16, 2020 (for Fiscal Year 2019) and this site allows one to search for the basic facts regarding each state and D.C. You can also download the entire report in PDF format. The link is at Since our subjects are only three, those are the ones we’ll look at, although truthfully there’s little need to look at Wyoming since it’s the least populated state and has so few people and a small percentage overall of its residents on SNAP. Let’s just jump forward to Arkansas, which must obviously be superior to the District of Columbia in this category, as well as most others, eh?

The following link,, gives us the results for Arkansas.

In 2019, 355,000 Arkansas residents were in the SNAP program, or 12% of the state’s population. That literally places Arkansas at the national average of 12% of the population, which I think many would view as fairly good. Roughly 75% are in families with children (national average is 67%), 41% come from families with elderly or disabled individuals (national average is 34%) and almost 39% are in working families (national average is 43%).

Those numbers don’t look too bad, so let’s see how horrible D.C. is…

The following link,, gives us D.C.’s results.

In 2019, 94,000 D.C. residents were in the SNAP program, or 13% of the state’s population, placing it merely 1% greater than Arkansas with the net numbers showing Arkansas actually had 260,000 more residents on this federal assistance, and while one will make the obvious point that it has a larger population so naturally there are more people, let’s not forget that Arkansas can’t begin to compete with the amount of taxes per capita and the individual tax burden D.C. residents face that is so much greater than those in Arkansas. So not only are D.C. residents pulling more of their share of the weight via taxation without representation, but the fact that they have only 1% more of their population in the SNAP program indicates their image of living off Uncle Sam doesn’t seem very accurate.

To finish, 53% of D.C. SNAP participants are in families with children (national average is 67%, Arkansas average is 75%), 34% come from families with elderly or disabled individuals (national average is 34%, Arkansas is 41%) and 19% are in working families (national average is 43% while the Arkansas average is 39%). And I’ll let the economists interpret those data. I think the basics are clear enough. Washington D.C. is no drain on the country’s resources in terms of residents receiving federal assistance. It’s below national average in everything and the percentages compete favorably with Arkansas. I guess this means Washington D.C. is more qualified than many states to BE an actual state by now. Time to kick a few others out, eh? Just joking.

As a final follow up, Senator Cotton referred to several industries in D.C. and notably Wyoming, alluding to D.C. as being a bureaucratic waste (of which he is part) while Wyoming is home to wonderful, “American” industries such as manufacturing (conveniently forgetting that nearly all major U.S. corporations have long outsourced their manufacturing jobs to other countries, mostly in Asia, thus literally destroying the once great manufacturing industry in this country forever and despite President Trump’s promises of bringing these very jobs back to America, that is one of many campaign promises not kept because he CAN’T keep that promise, the reason being that predominantly Republican-controlled corporate boards of a vast number of U.S. corporations would rather focus on enriching the shareholder — not the original primary purpose of incorporating although most business schools and businesses seem to have forgotten that — and screwing the average American worker, about to become more extinct than ever thanks to the wave of automation coming down the road as well as these corporations refusing to return to a more expensive American workforce. I am not going to address such here in detail, but I’m going to put a few links to some sites that describe the various industries in Wyoming, Arkansas and Washington D.C. (although the latter is not as current as the others…). While the two states have a nice selection of industries they specialize in, with kudos to them, D.C. has quite a few which are also very diverse and they employ a large labor pool, so these are simply information sources to review as variables regarding Cotton’s comments on this issue.

- What Are The Biggest Industries In Wyoming

Wyoming Flag

- What Are The Biggest Industries In Arkansas?

Arkansas Flag

- Washington D.C.: Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Flag of the District of Columbia

To conclude, let me make one final point. One of the most famous phrases or sayings in all of American history is one most all of us know well: “Taxation without representation!” To be accurate, the correct, literal slogan was “Taxation without representation is tyranny,” often attributed to one James Otis circa 1761 in response to American colonists being taxed by England’s Parliament without the benefit of their having any elected representatives — thus part of what lead to the Revolutionary War (

Frankly I shouldn’t have to make a point that seems this obvious, but as far too many Americans have proven their total stupidity during this year’s pandemic and related crises, I will just in case. And this is not new, nor an original thought but simply one I’ve been aware of for many years and have long thought it applied perfectly to the situation. Investopedia has a section on Taxation Without Representation in which they define it: The definition is simple. It reads:

“Taxation without representation is the act of being taxed by an authority without the benefit of having elected representatives. The term became part of an anti-British slogan when the original 13 American colonies aimed to revolt against the British Empire.”

The webpage continues:

“Taxation without representation occurs when a taxing authority, such as the government, imposes taxes on its citizens and other entities but fails to provide them with a political voice through elected representatives.

This was one of the main causes of the American Revolution. Those living in the colonies believed that if they were to pay taxes, then they should have adequate representation — and therefore, a political voice — in the British Parliament. And it still happens in some places today.”

Do you see where I’m going? I’m not the only one going there. Investopedia is too. This is part of the concluding paragraph on this definition’s webpage:

Taxation Without Representation in Modern Times

The phrase “taxation without representation” is commonly used in Washington D.C. as part of a campaign to raise awareness that district residents must still pay federal taxes despite the lack of representation in Congress.

And THAT is the primary reason so many people, and certainly the residents of Washington D.C., have long felt and argued for statehood for that district. They have long been in the exact same situation that our Founding Fathers found themselves and their fellow colonists in regarding the British government’s continued insistence to unfairly tax them and enjoy the revenue produced by America while refusing Americans the right to have an official voice in their government. I challenge anyone to refute the basic premise that D.C. has long been in that very same predicament and while I’m a bit of an historian, I’m not a historical economist so while I could research and find out how much and what percent of revenue was being generated by America for the British Crown, I’d wager it wouldn’t match that of what D.C. has and continues to contribute to the US federal government (per capita) — without any official representative or voice within the federal government. And for people like Tom Cotton who feel that’s fair, I would say you would undoubtedly have been a Tory during the Revolutionary War period, siding with the British, and you would have justifiably risked injury or more as a result. Washington D.C., our nation’s CAPITAL for God’s sake,

  1. Has the largest GDP per capita in the country, enabling the residents to be able to contribute more tax revenue;
  2. Has the fourth lowest unemployment rate in the country, thus indicating the place provides jobs, and not just government jobs, which is something the Republicans (and particularly the one currently in office) continually promise to provide while failing miserably to do as they continue to allow their rich corporate buddies to destroy American jobs and lives while sending more and more jobs overseas and simultaneously replacing the American worker with AI-controlled robots;
  3. Washington D.C. residents pay more taxes per capita — by far — than any state in the country, including Wyoming and Arkansas, yet lack the benefit of federal representation even while contributing more than anyone, anywhere else;
  4. And the residents of D.C. also have the largest, worst #1 “tax burden as a percent of income” of any place and state in this country, again without the benefit of federal representation.

Yet Senator Tom Cotton objects to our nation’s capital finally gaining statehood status even when the data clearly show the people there are among the most productive in the entire country and contribute more in taxes per capita and bear the harshest burdens in doing so than anyone in Wyoming or Arkansas or any other state. All this with a population making D.C. 50th on the list of populated areas within the U.S.

Folks, I have nothing invested in D.C. other than relationships, decades of friends, colleagues, campaigns, a few enemies, job offers and memories. I have no actual relationship with Washington D.C. otherwise. I’m not a fan of their sports teams, I rarely vacation there, I have largely gone to conferences, meetings and done some business infrequently there over the years. But I feel their pain, to borrow an expression, and I have typically been a man of principal and while I know more than most that life is rarely fair, I believe in improving things when possible and righting wrongs when possible, and this situation fits those descriptions more than most I’ve seen of late and the time is right and the time is now and we shouldn’t let partisan politics played by political players like Tom Cotton deter us from not only doing the right thing, but rewarding those who deserve it. Frankly, why should we continue to allow the divisive, cruel, faux fascist “leaders” currently in power to progressively destroy both our country and its reputation in the world (See “Our Allies Have Gone From Admiring the US to Feeling Pity [while not laughing at the buffoonery]: when we can keep doing what many have started, and that’s the “right thing” spurred on by BLM, making good and necessary changes to our society, culture and government where and when needed and as possible, and so making Washington D.C. an official state — finally — is only a logical part of the positive transformations taking place in our country today as we try to weed out the cruel, unjust, bad parts of our history and society and replace such with new, more positive and inclusive things, words and actions. I know a great many people will disagree with this and I understand. We’re a nation divided and I worry it’s permanent. There are those who wish it to be permanent. But that’s a theme for another article sometime. We’re being invaded with Christian nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, MAGA goons too naïve to know they’re being played for suckers, and we need to keep up the pressure to not only right wrongs but to head off the dangers approaching before it’s too late. Stopping people like Tom Cotton is just a minor thing in a very large picture, but an important one because if he helps the Senate block Washington D.C. from gaining its statehood when it’s finally time and it’s obvious to most, then he reaffirms he’s part of the problem and has been from the beginning and we’ll need to refocus on rewarding (penalizing) people like Senator Cotton for their partisan cruelty, lies, hypocrisy and disregard for the well-being of his fellow citizens. Let’s hope this GOP Senate trends with the rest of the country and does the right thing. For the country. For once.

Washington D.C. Mayor Bowser displaying leadership in wearing a mask that promotes statehood for D.C. while protecting herself and others from COVID-19 — [Photo courtesy CNN]



Scott Holstad

Polymath. Writer. Analyst. Researcher. Geopolitics. E/SE Asia. Historian. Antifascist. 40+ Books. Pearson. HarperCollins. AAN; RUSI; AOC. 22K LI Followers