Thursday, August 29, 2013

Short Takes| This reminds me of ...

In reading the morning news and commentary, I caught up with Amanda Coyne's piece posted after my bedtime last night (which admittedly is pretty early) on state spending:  "Days of 'spend baby spend' are coming to an end."

I had forgotten about Bill Proxmire and the federally-focused "Golden Fleece Awards."  But once she mentioned the term, it immediately brought back to mind Proxmire's monthly press releases highlighting this or that federal program -- during both Republican and Democrat Administrations -- that seemed to cross the line in terms of wasteful government spending.

It seems Amanda has been dipping into Alaska's online state checkbook for a few examples at the state level.  I encourage her to continue her efforts.

But there was one sentence in her piece that stood out starkly above all others:
"The [state] budget has increased 55 percent since Gov. Sean Parnell took over."
Just wow.

That fact, and Amanda's discussion in her piece of how the Administration's opponents may use it, brought back to mind a quote from the Wall Street Journal from a few years ago that I have used previously on these pages, but bears repeating for a state political party that may have grown somewhat complacent (and based on my recent experience, maybe even a shade or two intolerant) on the subject.

The quote was reflecting on the 2006 election, in which the Republicans lost control of the US House for the first time since gaining it back in 1994:
…the number of earmarks multiplied from nearly 1,500 in 1994 to a little under 14,000 in 2005—before voters ousted what had become the Grand Old Pork Party. It isn’t easy to spend so much money so egregiously that even Nancy Pelosi could campaign as a relative fiscal conservative, but the Tom DeLay Republicans managed the feat in 2006.
As they are purging the party of potential speakers at their events, maybe the Alaska Republican Party leadership also should reflect on that experience a little bit.

And while on that topic I want to add one postscript to my commentary yesterday on being disinvited to speak on budget issues at an upcoming event.  The commentary may have been taken by some as a criticism of the host group.

It wasn't.  During an exchange yesterday following my piece one of the members of the host group had this to say:  "Slow down everybody.  Don't blame the Anchorage Republican women for something beyond their control. They are a great group providing an excellent forum to help educate people."

I agree.  Reading between the lines of that post somewhat, there seem to have been larger forces, coming from elsewhere in town, involved in the disinvitation.  I wish the host group the best on their endeavor and now that I no longer get in free, may even buy a ticket to listen to the other speakers.