In yesterday’s Washington Post, there’s a good article by Alec McGillis about the power of senators from sparsely populated states.

Toward’s the end there’s this: “And then there’s the Senate’s age-old distortion of distributive politics, in which goodies are doled out on anything but a per-capita basis. California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey are among the 10 states that get the least back per tax dollar sent to Washington; Alaska, the Dakotas and West Virginia are among those that get the most. ”

And look at the graph below (my post of 8/6/09) regarding the distribution of stimulus funds to the state.  This statement helps somewhat to explain the pattern — especially in the case of New Jersey; and of Alaska, the Dakotas, and West Virginia.