Taxes are at historical lows in the United States right now. Not since before the Great Depression have taxes been so low. Yet you have the Teabaggers ranting about taxes. Why?
Historically, the American South in the period from around 1920 to 1965 was characterized by populism. A series of charismatic progressive governors was elected in most Southern states during this time period who brought their backwards states up to then-modern standards in many ways. Public education had been crippled for decades by barriers that prevented most poor kids from advancing past the 6th grade, especially the cost of textbooks. Those barriers were removed and poor kids for the first time had the opportunity for a high school education. Public universities were vastly expanded and tuitions cut to zero for poor kids in many cases, allowing access to higher education for many for the first time. A road network that was primarily rutted dirt roads in 1920 was by 1965 as good as any road network anywhere in the nation. Taxes on the wealthy that basically didn't exist in 1920 were at national norms by 1965. In 1920 most Southerners had no electricity, indoor plumbing, or telephone service, by 1965 those were at national norms. Manufacturers noted the new infrastructure and the newly-educated work force and flocked to the South in droves. Decrepit cities like Houston and Atlanta started throwing up modern skyscrapers and becoming thriving metropolises.
Yet this burst of modernization basically had slammed to a halt by 1975. Instead of electing progressive governors, the South started electing regressives, people intent upon rolling back the reforms instituted by the progressives. When progressives did get elected, like Edwin Edwards in Louisiana during the late 1970's, they found themselves fighting holding actions, basically trying to keep government services from being gutted by a populace increasingly hostile to government. City parks and recreation programs were gutted and closed, city bus services were cut back or eliminated, and the roads and schools started to deteriorate. A few cities fought back and managed to become isolated islands of progressivism and prosperity, but most Southern cities started a long slide to ruin.
What happened? Why did the South go from being a hotbed of progressivism to being a hotbed of Republican regression? Uhm, dude. What happened in 1965? Hint: Civil Rights Act of 1965, which forced government services to be provided equally to both blacks and whites.
And that is the truth behind the anti-tax anti-government sentiment in the South: It is 100% motivated by racism. Southerners were quite content with progressivism as long as its benefits were limited to white Southerners. But the moment they were forced by the courts to share city swimming pools and schools and buses with blacks, they suddenly abandoned progressivism. This wasn't motivated by a sudden discrediting of progressive thought. This wasn't motivated by an intellectual awakening. This was 100% pure, unadulterated racism.
As a youngster growing up in the South, I saw this first-hand in the gritty industrial city where I was born. Municipal swimming pools that I had swam in during my childhood were closed because "if we gotta share swimming pools with niggers, we just ain't gonna have no swimming pools at all." The school district's budget was gutted and what had been ultra-modern schools with the best facilities in 1960 became, by 1975, run-down hellholes where the science labs were filled with obsolete equipment, the swimming pool was filled in, the track was overgrown with grass and barely visible, and the tennis courts had no nets, not to mention the holes in the walls, the dirty and disintegrating asbestos tile floors, the leaky roofs... you get the point. When the desegregation orders came down and they were forced to share the schools with blacks, the white majority suddenly became anti-public-education regressives where previously they had been rabidly pro-public-education progressives.
In short, anti-tax sentiment in the South -- and the teabagger movement as an extension -- is 100% motivated by spite and hate and bigotry against black people. "If a nigger is going to get some benefit from a government service, we don't need that government service, even if I benefit too" has become the predominant line of thinking in the South. And thus Huey Long's Big Charity in New Orleans stands vacant and empty, waiting for the wrecking ball, and his promise of free medical care for any Louisianian who needed it has become as much a thing of the past as the once-modern roads and infrastructure that have turned into decaying potholed embarrassments.
-- Badtux the Southern Penguin