By Gary P Jackson
Earlier this week, on Facebook, Governor Sarah Palin ripped Big Government liberal Congressman Paul Ryan’s latest budget proposal calling it “not an April Fool’s joke” but a joke nonetheless.
My Own Final Four Bracket For America’s Future
Holy Moly! Are you kidding? You’d think one who is representing the mighty Badgers, who made it to the Final Four based on sacrificial work ethic and discipline that obviously pays off in the end, he who represents the great state of Wisconsin that hosts this underdog celebrated college basketball team, would understand that future success depends on hard work and sacrifices.
The latest Ryan (R, Wisconsin) Budget is not an April Fool’s joke. But it really IS a joke because it is STILL not seeing the problem; it STILL is not proposing reining in wasteful government overspending TODAY, instead of speculating years out that some future Congress and White House may possibly, hopefully, eh-who-knows, take responsibility for today’s budgetary selfishness and shortsightedness to do so.
THIS is the definition of insanity.
Do we still not understand how dangerous it is to allow government to grow unchecked as we shackle ourselves with massive debt – a good portion of which is held by foreign nations who don’t necessarily like us? If we can’t balance the budget today, what on earth makes us think it will happen at some future date? The solution is staring us in the face. We need to rein in spending today, and don’t tell me there is nothing to cut when we know every omnibus bill is loaded with pork and kickbacks.
Reading the article linked below gave me the same reaction that my daughter just caused when she punked me with a very unfunny April Fool’s Day announcement. As my Dad would say after these April Fool’s announcements, “This would kill a lesser man.” This out-of-control debt is killing our economic future.
~ Sarah Palin
Here’s the article:
Of course many of the usual suspects were quick to chastise Governor Palin, claiming she was either somehow unqualified to comment, or hopelessly unrealistic. Of course what’s hopelessly unrealistic is thinking we can afford to keep allowing government and it’s massive debt to continue to grow. Ryan’s budget, at best, RAISES debt by TRILLIONS of dollars. That’s not only idiotic, but totally immoral.
The only silly people involved here are those that take Paul Ryan, and his budget, seriously.
For the other naysayers, who thing Governor Palin is just too “radical” in her ideas to save America and get this out of control budget under control, I’d like to point out that she was a highly successful two term Mayor, who turned a small dirt road village into the fastest growing city in Alaska. She built major infrastructure, including roads, water, sewer, and so on. She brought in major retailers, which spawned new local businesses, transforming the sleepy little berg into the trading hub for the entire Mat-Su Valley, an area roughly the size of Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware!
Oh, and she did all of this while LOWERING taxes every single year in office! [She also cut debt, AND her own salary, just to show people she was serious!] In fact, the only major debt Palin created was to build a new sports arena/community center, that residents voted to fund through bonds. The arena was finished on time and under budget, and the bonds paid off early.
Of course, Palin’s ability to surgically remove wasteful spending and debt became legendary, once she took office as Governor of Alaska. Going to work immediately after being sworn in, Governor Palin went through the state budget line by line, cutting spending to the absolute bone.
Governor Palin made headlines for putting the useless state jet airplane [that Governor Murkoski purchased fly to the Lower 48] for sale on eBay, a marketing ploy that got it sold through a broker. People also took note when she fired the chef and other nonessential staff at the Governor’s Mansion, and even refused an official car and driver, choosing to drive herself in her own personal vehicle, whenever possible. She really made headlines by turning down a $25,000 a year raise the Alaska legislature voted to give her and the Lt Governor. [who also turned down his $25K raise]
While those were major things, Governor Palin also sweated the small details, which is where the significant debt reduction and savings came in.
In just two years Governor Palin created more than $12 BILLION in savings, and a $5 BILLION budget surplus.
More on Governor Palin’s budgeting was including in Whitney and Stacy’s exhaustive piece detailing Governor Sarah Palin’s Incredible Executive Accomplishments
Budgeting and Spending
* Cut state spending between 2007 and 2010 by 9.5%.
* Reduced federal earmark requests by more than 80%
In FY2007, Gov. Frank Murkowski requested $350 million in federal appropriations, which Gov. Palin reduced to $256 million in FY2008, $198 million in FY2009, and $69 million in FY2010.
* Invested $5 billion in state savings, overhauled education funding, and implemented the Senior Benefits Program to provide support for low-income older Alaskans.
* Stopped the “Bridge to Nowhere” and wanted to redirect the federal funds to Minnesota after the bridge collapse in 2007. In an email to her staff, she wrote:
[W]e MUST come out with a strong position against AK ‘ s perceived ” Bridge to Nowhere” so we quit looking clueless and selfish across the nation and can clear up the perception that the Gravina project is the state‘ s priority . The $350m bridge is not our priority.
The nation needs to be spending $ on fixing what we have – Minnesota needs ” bridge money” today more than we need a few Alaskans to perpetuate the nonsensical notion that our Gravina earmark is more important than fixing aged infrastructure. We would gain so much if we get that message out there – that the nation can pull, and work , together and make wise decisions on federal priorities … we should see that earmark redirected to Minnesota ‘ s tragedy be the Gravina bridge isn’t going to happen on our watch anyway.
* Rejected much of President Obama’s “stimulus money” in 2009. During a press conference on the matter, she said:
We are not requesting funds intended to just grow government. We are not requesting more money for normal day-to-day operations of government as part of this economic stimulus package. In essence we say no to operating funds for more positions in government.
Also stating in a press release:
As I wrote to our congressional delegation on January 7, our administration recognizes that President-elect Obama and the congressional leadership of both parties favor the use of formulas to ensure fairness among the states and to avoid the earmark abuses of the past.
We also have to be mindful about the effect of the stimulus package on the national debt and the future economic health of the country. We won’t achieve long-term stability if we continue borrowing massive sums from foreign countries and remain dependent on foreign sources of oil and gas.
* Proposed a $2.6 billion investment in the Education Fund to help fund public education for the future.
* Used her line-item veto to cut more than a quarter billion in superfluous spending in 2007:
The Governor vetoed nearly a quarter of a billion dollars of projects contained within Senate Bill 53. Establishing a budget process, the Governor focused her decisions on the Constitutionally-mandated services of education, public safety and health, and infrastructure.
* 2007 vetoes included projects such as berry economic development, the AT&T Sports Center, a Salmon Study, a tennis court at the Lions Club, batting cages, gun club facility improvements, motocross course construction, a virus free seed potato project, and numerous other items placed in the budget that were not the State of Alaska’s responsibility.
* In 2008, Governor Palin vetoed more than a quarter billion in superfluous spending:
In all, $268 million was vetoed from the budget bills. “The budgets will provide needed services, will leverage other funds and will make a significant investment in Alaska’s future,” Governor Palin said.
* Vetoed 361 line-items in 2008.
* Utilized line item reductions to reduce proposed spending by $80.3 million in 2009.
* Instituted a temporary hiring freeze to reduce expenditures during a period of unanticipated low oil prices in 2009.
* Cut spending more than 33% in FY2010 from FY 2009’s budget.
* Signed energy legislation suspending the state motor fuel tax.
* Provide Alaskan residents with a “resource rebate” to help offset high energy costs:
After funding the state’s priorities, putting billions away in savings and still seeing a budget surplus, the Legislature agreed to a special one-time payment, sharing part of our resource wealth with Alaskans, who under our Constitution are the owners in common of these resources, and who I believe can decide better than government how to use that share.
* Signed legislation opposing a federal aviation fuel tax.
* Lowered unemployment insurance tax rates:
* For the second year in a row, unemployment insurance tax rates have dropped.
“The 2009 unemployment insurance tax rates will be the lowest Alaska employers have experienced in 29 years,” Governor Sarah Palin announced today. An employer in the average rate class will pay approximately $93 less for each employee than in 2008. The rates are applicable to the first $32,700 of the individual employee earnings.
* Cut property taxes as Mayor of Wasilla. She eliminated small business inventory taxes; cut property tax mil levy every year she was in office (6 years straight)
*Reformed the state’s pension program by ensuring a successful transition from a defined benefits to a defined contributions system and addressing the $8 billion unfunded liability in Alaska state’s retirements, making it more solvent and leading to a decrease of 34.6% in state liabilities during her tenure.
* Left Alaska with an improved credit rating during and following her tenure as Governor:
Standard & Poor’s raised Alaska’s credit rating from AA to AA+ in April, 2008:
“Our fiscal prudence is being recognized by the financial markets. It affirms our efforts to control government spending and live within our means,” Governor Palin said. “We have been working hard advocating for Alaska, both within the state and outside, and I am pleased to see it paying off.”
* Moody’s upgraded Alaska’s credit rating to AAA in November 2010 and Standard & Poor’s upgraded Alaska to AAA too in January in large part due to Governor Palin’s policies as indicated below. Each italicized bullet point is a point provided by Standard and Poor’s as an indicator for credit upgrade:
“The state’s strong financial management and generally conservative forecasting”: during her tenure, Governor Palin cut spending 9.5% and reduced earmarks 80%.
“The state’s financial flexibility, enhanced by the maintenance of large reserves derived from windfall oil revenues since fiscal year 2008”: Governor Palin’s oil tax reform plan implemented in FY2008 was a severance or production tax on oil companies—a tax they paid as a recompense for developing the Alaskan owned natural resources has helped create fiscal reserves for the state.
“The state’s moderate debt burden”: During her tenure, Alaska’s overall debt decreased nearly more than 157 million dollars between FY2007 (her predecessor’s final budget year) and FY2010 (her final budget year), while debt outstanding increased at 4.2% annual rate (between FY 2007 and FY 2010) compared to the 6.8% annual rate of her predecessor (between FY2003 and FY2007).
“An accumulation of multiple budget reserves equal to more than 200 percent of the general fund budget”: Due to legislation like ACES and the frugal budgeting of Governors Palin and Parnell, Alaska now has a 12 billion dollars in savings. During the VP campaign, Governor Palin was able to tout a more than $5 billion surplus.
* Spent less on travel expense than her two predecessors despite having a larger family.
In fact, she spent over $913,000 less on personal expenses in her first two years than former Governor Frank Murkowski did his last two years.
* Rejected a gubernatorial pay raise.
Gov. Sarah Palin didn’t ask for a pay raise and won’t accept one during her current term.
* Took a voluntary pay cut as mayor to set the tone for her administration.
Leading up to the 2012 Presidential race, Whitney put together a comparison between Governor Palin, and the Republican Governors who would all run for President. The comparison between Palin’s budget competency at that of others, including Rick Perry, Tim Pawlenty, and Mitt Romney is both staggering and breathtaking.
While the differences in both spending and liabilities between those looked at is an eye opener. For example, debt increase under Governor Palin was a mere 4.2% annually, much less than under the previous governors of Alaska, as compared to Texas Governor Rick Perry who grew outstanding debt by a mind-blowing 184.2%, or 20.5% per year, the REAL eye opener though is this:
Governor Palin was the ONLY governor to actually REDUCE her state’s liabilities and did so by an incredible 34.6%, or 11.5% per year.
This compares to Mitt Romney, who had the lowest INCREASE of liabilities: 18.7%, or 4.7% per year and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty who has the dubious honor of beating Rick Perry for the greatest INCREASE: 40.7%, or 5.8% per year. Both Pawlenty and Perry saw significantly larger percentages of INCREASES in their state liabilities than Governor Palin’s amazing 34.6% DECREASE.
Bottom line, to all those who think Governor Palin has no clue about budgeting, WISE UP! Governor Palin is the nation’s leader in fiscal responsibility and budget control. If ANYONE has a right to comment on Paul Ryan’s joke of a budget, it’s Governor Sarah Palin!
I wrote all of the above to get us to Governor Palin’s appearance on Hannity Thursday night.
With the Governor speaking from Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto’s Florida cookout, where she formally gave the Senator her endorsement, Sarah and Hannity started off with small talk about her Tonight Show appearance and of course whether the Governor is thinking about a run herself. Then Sean made note that he had Paul Ryan on his radio show that day. Ryan had said if he could only talk with Governor Palin he felt he could convince her that he had a solid plan packed with fiscal goodness. As you’ll see in the video, Governor Palin is shaking her head “no” the entire time Hannity is telling her this. The first words out of her mouth being “Bless his heart“!
Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows Governor Palin is right. Budgets are never binding, and the idea that someone can rely on the fantasy of budget cuts 10 years down the road, leading to a balanced budget, is simply delusional.
As Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, the solutions to our problems are simple. NOT easy, but simple. We MUST take the same sort of approach that Governor Palin took in Alaska. We MUST go through the federal budget LINE-BY-LINE and make tough choices and real cuts. It’s the ONLY way the budget can be balanced, and America can survive.