Newsflash: D.C. sends lots of money to Alaska!

September 13, 2008

Michael Kinsley recently wrote an essay in Time to prove that Sarah Palin is not a fiscal conservative.


His proof? Well, for one thing, Palin has raised taxes on oil companies. Look, conservatives are not opposed to all taxes: a state has to generate revenue from somewhere. Alaska has a lot of oil and can generate revenue from its business. Are the taxes too high? Perhaps, but this alone doesn’t prove she’s not “fiscally conservative.” What are Palin’s stances on income and property taxes? He doesn’t say. What he does say is that Alaska is no. 1 in taxes and spending per resident, and that Alaska’s trick is to “spend[] money on its own citizens and tax[] the rest of us to pay for it.” Huh?


Kinsley also criticizes Palin because the state of Alaska has spent money while she is governor. Like most liberals, Kinsley fails to make a distinction between what the federal government does and what state and local governments do.


Oh wait, Kinsley does understand the distinction – when it helps his argument. For example, Kinsley chides Palin for taking too much money from Washington:

As if it couldn’t support itself, Alaska also ranks No. 1, year after year, in money it sucks in from Washington. In 2005 (the most recent figures), according to the Tax Foundation, Alaska ranked 18th in federal taxes paid per resident ($5,434) but first in federal spending received per resident ($13,950). Its ratio of federal spending received to federal taxes paid ranks third among the 50 states, and in the absolute amount it receives from Washington over and above the amount it sends to Washington, Alaska ranks No. 1.

Oops. As Kinsley would no doubt point out elsewhere, Palin wasn’t governor of Alaska until 2006, so the 2005 numbers tell us nothing about Palin’s record as governor. Ridiculous.


Besides, as Kinsley damn well knows, Alaska gets all of this money because of its representation in D.C. – Representative Dan Young (currently under investigation for corruption) and Senator Ted Stevens (no longer under investigation since being indicted).


While Kinsely doesn’t mention them, he does criticize Palin for supporting the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it. True, but she did eventually oppose it, and she is not popular with Stevens – precisely because she’s got a record of opposing stupid spending. (By the way, as long as we’re talking about the Bridge to Nowhere, both Obama and Biden voted for it even after they had a chance to redirect that money to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.)


Maybe next time, Kinsley will explain what Mrs. Palin has actually done – instead of what happened in Alaska before she became governor.

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