Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin's Fertile Imagination

As someone who predicted prior to Governor Earmark Palin's speech to the Repub convention that it would be viewed afterward as something akin to Moses as Mount Sinai, Timothy Noah can credibly analyze the Vice-Presidential nominee in light of her speech.

Palin complained that Barack Obama's "answer is to make government bigger- take more of your money- give you more orders from Washington...." But Noah explains

The woman who made this complaint about big government taking your money is the governor of Alaska. Please take a moment to look at this U.S. Census chart showing federal-government expenditures, per capita, in the 50 states. You will observe that Alaska receives about $14,000 per citizen from the federal government. That's more than any other state, and a good $4,000 more than every other state except Virginia, Maryland, New Mexico, and North Dakota. The chart is from the Census Bureau's Consolidated Federal Funds Report for Fiscal Year 2005. I skipped over the 2006 report, the most recent one available, because Hurricane Katrina put Louisiana and Mississippi ahead of Alaska that year. But that's an anomaly. Alaska held the per-capita record for sucking on the federal teat in 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, and 2000. According to the nonprofit Tax Foundation, Alaska gets back $1.84 for every dollar it pays into the U.S. Treasury—even though Alaska enjoys a higher per-capita income than 34 of the 50 states. This is a state that preaches right-wing libertarianism while it practices middle-class socialism.

Everyone knows that Governor Palin supported the "bridge to nowhere" pushed by the recently-indicted Senator Ted Stevens until Congress stood up against it, whereupon she opposed the bridge because it would have to have been paid by state funds. Ironically, this is nearly the reverse of her claim "I told the Congress "thanks, but no thanks," for that Bridge to Nowhere. If our state wanted a bridge, we'd build it ourselves." Less well known is her success at receiving federal earmarks ($27 million over four years) after she hired Stevens' former chief of staff to lobby congress- and that earlier this year she "sent Stevens a memo outlining $200 million in new funding requests." (Or that she was tight with the Alaska Independence Party, whose founder proclaimed "the fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government.")

Noah concludes that Mrs. Palin is less a pit bull with lipstick than "a hog who recommends diet books while feeding at the trough."

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