Palin Fact Check about Fiscal Conservatism


Okay, let's look at the facts about Governor Palin in a realistic non-partisan view. Difficult with all the partisan rhetoric floating about, but not impossible. You have to be cognitive not emotional, like everyone, including myself, has been about Governor Palin. Let's start with the claims about her being a fiscal reformer. We are going to whom I consider the experts on fiscal reform, conservatism, and small government, CATO and the Libertarians. (No Brookings or Heritage on this one.)

Let's start with the "Bridge to Nowhere," first.

Palin has come under fire for supporting the “Bridge to Nowhere” in Ketchikan before she was against it. Aides said the cost of the bridge soared from $223 million to almost $400 million, prompting her to consider alternatives. [1]

My opinion of this assessment is that her support of the Bridge, at first, is a semantic that is being made into the main issue. If you want to claim a difference in ideological motivation go right ahead, but, it still does not change the end result that she blocked it because of wasteful and unnecessary spending. But because of her support and justifiable ideological criticism from Libertarians, I will give her a "B" on this one.

At best, Palin has been a convert on earmarks (and perhaps not a full convert). As governor of Alaska, she has requested 31 earmarks worth $197.8 million for next year, according to indicted Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens’ website, the Los Angeles Times reported. As mayor of Wasilla, Palin regularly traveled to Washington to request earmarks. The city obtained funding for several projects, including a bus depot ($600,000) and a water and sewer project ($1.5 million), according to Taxpayers for Common Sense. [1]

On this I do not like the earmark requests for her city, but what I do like is what she did with it, infrastructure. People are missing the concept on being a "fiscal reformer." It doesn't mean you will never accept money from the Federal government, it means you will eliminate fraud, waste, and abuse. It means you will only accept money for or request what your constituents need and use that funding responsibly. Also, by the mainstream Libertarian philosophy the Federal government should only be involved in three areas, 1)National Security 2) Enforcement of Common Law 3) Infrastructure. To me this qualifies for the last. I will giver her a "B" again because of some ideological considerations.

She slashed her salary and cut property taxes by 40 percent because of booming sales tax revenue from new stores. [1]

But Palin also increased the budget by spending on roads and sewers, left the town nearly $20 million in debt and raised the city sales tax by half a percent (she said the money was needed to support construction of an indoor ice rink and sports complex and a police dispatch center). [1]

Again, spending on infrastructure I have no problem with. Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisisana just depleted the state's $1.1 billion surplus on infrastructure repairs. His concern is spending money on highway and port repairs and upgrades will bring in more revenues later. This is sound free market thought applied to government. What I mean is that Governor Jindal and Governor Palin both realized that in order to attract investments you have to make your area appealing and very easy to do business in. A very important part of that is infrastructure development. No one wants to do business in a dump. I give her a "C" on this one because of the "Ice Rink to Nowhere," though.

One of her signature accomplishments as governor was a $1.5 billion tax increase on oil production, infuriating oil companies, according to The New York Times. She accused oil companies of bribing legislators to keep taxes low and, soon after, passed a $1,200 “energy rebate” to each Alaskan from the state’s budget surplus. [1]

I am against overt tax increases on any form of business, but, if the oil companies were up to the shenanigans, I do not blame her for punishing them and then returning the revenues to the people. But, this does smack a little of "stimulus package thinking." On the other hand, it could have been a symbolic gesture for protection of the individual family as well. On this one I will give her an "A-," for thinking about the little guy and gal.

I particularly agree with the phrase I have put in quotes, it sums up how Libertarians should view Palin.

Libertarians should be "cautiously optimistic" about Palin. She has shown a dogged willingness to go to war with the worst elements of the Republican Party, but her missteps on some tax and spending issues means that libertarians should aggressively pressure a McCain-Palin administration to toe the small government line. [1]

Yup, they should view her as "cautiously optimistic," she is not a Libertarian, she is a Conservative Republican. There will be differences as well as common ground. But the idea that they have to keep pressure ratcheted up on McCain and Palin to keep the government small is silly. They will keep it small, but, it will never be small enough for the Libertarians. That is alright,though,because the core of there argument is correct just not lengths they are willing to go with it.

Finally, my overall grade for Sarah Palin is a solid "B," for being a fiscal conservative and reformer. Based on the 1(A), 2(B's) and 1(C) I gave her. In my opinion the Liberal argument is worthless, they gloss over details and are nowhere near the authority on fiscal responsibility, then again neither are the Republicans these days. She fits the old school Conservative Republican and even the Libertarian mold for a fiscal conservative and a reformer. Back in the
80's she would have been just another run of the mill typical Conservative (This is not a bad thing at all). Now she is super star because there are very few like her.


Edit: Did a little more research into the Plain Earmark controversy and low and behold, the boys at Q&O, a Neo-Libertarian website, as usual come through with some amazing information.This is an response to an editorial that appeared in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on (March 2, 2008). Her response (March 5, 2008) on earmarks. The article.

This year, we have requested 31 earmarks, down from 54 in 2007. Of
these, 27 involve continuing or previous appropriations and four are new requests. The total dollar amount of these requests has been reduced from approximately $550 million in the previous year to just less than $200 million.

Bam! Halved earmarks in one year. Sarah, you just got yourself an "A" on fiscal reform. Cause this kid can admit when he didn't have all the facts.



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