Friday, August 16, 2013

Short Takes| Good lord, now the @AlaskaDemocrats can't even get a press release right ...

Readers of these pages will recall that, for the past couple of weeks, I have been noticing a deteriorated quality in the tweets coming from the @AlaskaDemocrats.  Others have noticed as well.

That is somewhat troubling, of course.  Generally speaking, I believe competition produces the best quality products and believe that extends to politics as well.  In my view, a public is served best by a vibrant, ongoing exchange of competing ideas that forces all sides to come up with their best arguments and policies.  But in order for that to work, both sides have to put their best foot forward and make certain they produce high quality arguments.

Up until yesterday, the @AlaskaDemocrats quality control problem seemed mostly confined to tweets and twitter exchanges.  Those sometimes have an off the cuff, looked at my phone while eating lunch and decided to respond, quality to them and so, a less than stellar argument here or there is understandable.

But press releases should be different.  There, the writer generally is in command of all the words on the page, can do it at his own pace, look up whatever facts he is doubtful about, vet it through others and scrub the words and tone until its just right.  Unlike twitter, there shouldn't be any unforced errors.

In a press release yesterday, however, the @AlaskaDemocrats demonstrated that they are suffering a quality control problem even in that medium.

In a press release entitled "AHCC Slush Fund Masks Size of State Deficit," the @AlaskaDemocrats argued this:
HCC [Alaska Housing Capital Corporation] transfers to the state have hidden the size of Alaska’s state budget deficit by transferring money saved during past budget cycles to fill part of the budget hole created by the Oil Giveaway. By transferring some $269 million for state operations and capital expenditures in 2013, AHCC has been used to reduce the perceived deficit by one-third. In fact, Alaska is in massive deficit spending as a direct result of the Oil Giveaway, and is projected to run billion-dollar deficits next year. Taking into account AHCC transfers in 2013, the actual state budget deficit this year is nearly $1 billion.
The problem?  The argument is just flat out, unarguably and demonstrably wrong.

SB 21 -- the law which the @AlaskaDemocrats have taken to calling the "Oil Giveaway" -- wasn't in effect during FY 2013.  Instead, ACES was.  So if its the oil tax that's responsible, the thing that caused the "budget hole" and produced "the actual state budget deficit this year [of] nearly $1 billion?"  ACES.

Ready.  Aim.  Fire.  Oh darn, I was aiming at my own foot?

Look for this one to come back to haunt the @AlaskaDemocrats again and again and again.  They called their own favored oil tax approach a deficit creator.  I, at least, am going to remember that one.