Monday, February 13, 2012

The Kenai Sucks (off of the Federal Gov't Teat)

In case you haven't figured it out, there's a slight left-of-center bent to the ramblings on this blog. Yep, I'm a do-good, bleedin'-heart, tree-huggin' liberal.  Treating others like you want to be treated and cleaning up your mess are the basic philosophies that guide what I say and do.  What's so funny about peace, love and understanding?

And here I am smack in middle of the land of ACT,  the Nikiski Militia, SoundOff and KSRM, tea-baggers galore and a population that voted overwhelmingly for Joe Miller, one of the sleaziest, most hypocritical, bullies to come around these parts since Jerry Ward. You know, Joe the lawyer and tea bag favorite who applied for a hardship hunting and fishing license while he was paying a contractor $280,000 to build his house.  The same Joe who was collecting a federal gov't subsidy for farmland in Kansas while blasting federal spending. (BTW, did you see that Joe is going to run for Mark B's US Senate seat in 2014?)

Anyhoo, one would think my fellow Kenai Peninsula residents would spit in the eye of taking any sort of federal aid.  Don't Tread On Me! Cut the entitlements to welfare queens and illegal immigrants.

But then I saw this chart published in the NYTimes that broke down the amount of Federal assistance we Americans receive by county.

Well, seems a lot of the welfare queens are right here in river city and the rest of the peninsula. 

Nationwide, the average person receives around 17.5% of their personal income from federal handouts.  Here on the Kenai, it's 19.25% of the per capita income for a total of more than $7,800 each per man, woman and child. 

Wait, you might think that because we have a high percentage of retirees, it's just the old folks getting back the money they paid in. Actually, local SSI  payouts come in just under the national average.

I don't begrudge anyone who is desperately in need of assistance. Remember, I'm a liberal and I'm down with what Jesus said: What you do to the least of these, you do to me.

But I guess I have a problem with the folks who collect the dough and then shoot their mouths off about how we have a welfare state.  I'm reminded of Mrs Ted Spraker who stood up during Murkowski's town hall meeting at the Sports Center about the health care bill. She railed against the socialism of government health care, but carefully omitted the fact that she herself has health care funded by taxpayers. 

The accompanying news story in the NYTimes also notes that an increasing number of people who accept government handouts are the same ones who complain about all of the people getting government handouts. And a lot of them claim they don't really need it.

Just for the record, this liberal, tree-hugging leftie receives exactly $0 in federal handouts.   My taxes are carrying a lot of your asses.  If you are truly in need, good luck to you and I hope your life gets better.

If you are raking in the handouts and are voting for Republicans, supporting the tea party, and bashing Obamacare, have some dignity and integrity and don't bite the hand that feeds you.  Of course, the official republican motto in Alaska is the same one they have at 'Koot's bar in Anchorage: We cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Junkets and Taxes: The Politics of Juneau

By law, the legislative session is just 90 days long and once again, Mike Chenault has scheduled another golf trip, oh, I mean lobbying trip to DC during a week of that already short session.  You might remember that last year, just before the crucial vote on oil taxes, Mike skipped out to play golf in Atlanta, saying he was attending some country-wide state leadership conference. Um, there's no evidence that he attended any meetings that weren't held on the links. 

The leadership group really doesn't schedule any meetings, well meetings that the various state legislatures from around the country actually attend. It's a vacation club on the government dime.  Golf last year, fishing and sight-seeing ANWR this year.

The DC junket that Chenault is going on this time is officially to lobby to open ANWR, but of course, Alaska pays lobbyists to do just that.  Mike and the other legislatures that are going are not talking to the press about what they did or will actually do. When's T-time Mike?

SOL has not been kind to another of our local politicos, Tom Wagoner.  But maybe that attitude will change  a little. Tom is working on the senate re-write of the ACES tax scheme.  Much to his credit, he didn't roll over like the industry lapdogs, Chenault and Kurt Olson during last year's session.  It will be curious to see the bill that does come out of the senate.  I'm sure you've all aware of the record profits the big 3 oil companies made last year, despite being taxed to death like the governor insists.

The ADN has a good piece about the debate here. Stay informed.  The oil in the ground belongs to us, not the oil companies.  I don't understand why we need to charge less than the going rate to companies that are so, so profitable.  That is not a good business decision and don't we want government run like a business?

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