Saturday, August 21, 2010

Republican Hypocrites, Especially in Alaska, Take Federal Money and Whine about Taxpayer handouts.

Why would it figure that the biggest talkers about self-sufficiency, state cessation and small government, like half governor Sarah Palin, come from the state that gets the biggest government handouts?

NY Times: Backed by a blue row of saw-toothed mountain peaks, the Republican state lawmaker Carl Gatto (says) “I’ve introduced legislation to roll back the federal government. They don’t have solutions; they just have taxes. I’ll give the federal government credit: they sure give us a ton of money. For every $1 we give them in taxes for highways, they give us back $5.76.”

Alaskans tend to live with their contradictions in these recessionary times. No place benefits more from federal largess than this state, where the Republican governor decries “intrusive” federal policies, officials sue to overturn the health care legislation and Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, voted against the stimulus bill.

Although its unemployment rate sits at just 7.9 percent, about two percentage points below the national rate, Alaska has received $3,145 per capita in federal stimulus dollars, the most in the nation, according to figures compiled by Pro Publica, an investigative Web site.

Nevada, by contrast, has an unemployment rate north of 14 percent and has received $1,034 per capita in recovery aid. Florida’s jobless rate is 11.4 percent, and the state has obtained $914 per capita.

The state avoided the unemployment devastation visited on the Lower 48 in part because federal dollars support a third of Alaskan jobs, according to a university study. Not that this has assuaged antigovernment rancor. The Alaskan Representative Don Young, a Republican, denounced the stimulus as appalling, done under the cover of night and without full disclosure. He also promised Alaskans that “if there are earmarks, we will have our fingerprints on them.”

(Curiously, that pattern plays out in Louisiana, Wyoming and the Dakotas, states relatively low in unemployment but high in per capita stimulus aid and growling antigovernment animus.)

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