T Nation

Pork Barrel Palin

One could almost mistake her for a Democrat.

  • In just three years Palin has requested nearly one billion dollars in earmarks. That�??s nearly a million dollars for every working day

  • $3.2 million to be spent in part researching the �??genetics of harbor seals

  • Palin, meanwhile, has requested $3.2 million to be spent in part researching the �??genetics of harbor seals

  • $400,000: Alaska Invasive Species Program: Continues to comprehensively prevent, identify, and respond to the threat of invasive species on the Alaska environment.

  • $494,900: Assessment of Recreational Halibut Harvest in Alaska: This is an ongoing effort to collect data on the recreational halibut fishery that is conducted by federal agencies though relying on the state for data.

  • $2 million: Bering Sea Crab Research and Management: Researches Bering Sea crab productivity and sustainability as necessary to restore crab stocks.

  • $3.2 million: Seal and Steller Sea Lion Biological Research: Funds monitoring of ice seal populations in Native villages, research on the species delineation and genetics of harbor seals to understand the declines in population and provide for population restoration, and continues research into Steller Sea Lion population decline.

Palin’s earmarks: Not just for the halibut
By: Ben Smith
September 10, 2008 07:47 PM EST

Senator John McCain recently told reporters that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has �??learned that earmarks are bad.�??

But not that bad, apparently. According to a �??summary of requests for federal appropriations�?? posted to her budget office�??s website earlier this year, Palin requested millions of federal dollars for everything from improving recreational halibut fishing to studying the mating habits of crabs and the DNA of harbor seals.

It�??s a position at odds with her recasting as an anti-earmarking champion, and with the tone of the biting scorn she�??s employed toward the budgetary practice this week.

�??In just three years our opponent has requested nearly one billion dollars in earmarks. That�??s nearly a million dollars for every working day,�?? Palin told a crowd in Lebanon, Ohio, Tuesday. �??So as we reform the abusive earmarks in our state our opponent was requesting nearly a billion dollars in earmarks as a senatorial privilege as I was vetoing half a billion as an executive responsibility.�??

Palin�??s earmark requests aren�??t unusual, of course. Every self-respecting mayor and governor in America seeks federal dollars for local projects. And Palin has, at times, sounded a cautionary note on earmarks despite the fact that Alaska receives more earmarked federal money per capita than any other state and is unusually reliant on those funds because of its geographic isolation, massive size and extreme climate.

Indeed, in her January state of the state address, Palin said the state �??must not rely so heavily on federal government earmarks.�??

But the document summarizing Palin�??s earmark requests was created the next month, and it suggested a still-healthy appetite for earmarks. Soon afterward, Palin wrote an op-ed in a local newspaper outlining her not-so-reticent posture on earmarks.

�??My role at the federal level is simply to submit the most well-conceived earmark requests we can,�?? she wrote.

Obama’s campaign has responded by challenging Palin’s reform credentials.

See Also
Could Clinton have Palin-proofed Dems?
YouTube takes down McCain webad
Palin team stocked with Bush veterans
“Senator McCain said Governor Palin �??learned that earmarks are bad�??, but in 2008 alone Gov. Palin requested $256 million in earmarks for Alaska, and her state received more earmarks per person that any other state,” said spokesman Tommy Vietor. “The fact is that Governor Palin isn�??t just good at getting pork projects, she�??s one of the most successful pork barrel politicians in history.”

Alaska has indeed been spectacularly successful in getting earmarks, largely through the efforts of its senior senator, Ted Stevens, who is now fighting corruption charges. (Stevens�?? requests include far more than those listed by Palin.) And Palin�??s office has actively backed some of its legislators�?? requests, according to the document, which covers requests for the fiscal years of 2008 and 2009.

Her campaign didn�??t respond directly to the question of whether Palin still supports those specific earmarks, or how she would defend them.

Though McCain has avoided this campaign year saying which earmarks he’d cut from the federal budget, he is recognized in general as a consistent opponent of earmarks who has focused on the cumulative effect of pet projects written into the federal budgets by parochial-minded legislators.

Some on Alaska�??s list are the kind of uncontroversial projects that make most earmarks hard to cut �?? even if it�??s difficult to see their importance to the nation, rather than the state: construction of Alaska National Guard facilities, for instance, to stop drug abuse, and to improve a crime database.

Many others, though, are of exactly the sort that McCain has made a career of mocking�??like animal research.

�??We�??re not going to spend $3 million of your tax dollars to study the DNA of bears in Montana,�?? McCain has said during this year�??s campaign, referring to a study he�??s mocked for years of whether grizzlies need to keep their status as an endangered species.

Palin, meanwhile, has requested $3.2 million to be spent in part researching the �??genetics of harbor seals,�?? in one of the state�??s many requests for federal funding of research into Alaska�??s fauna.

She�??s seeking $1 million, for instance, for a project to investigate rockfish fisheries, a request that, according to the Alaska document, was presented to and refused by Congress last year.

�??Our state’s economy depends a certain amount on tourism�?�and there are a lot of charter fishermen who have clients that want to come up fish for halibut, and likewise when they’re fishing for halibut they’re catching �?� rockfish as a by-catch in that fishery,�?? said Cleo Brylinsky, who heads up the rockfish project at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. �??So it’s important to our tourism economy that we have sustainable fisheries and well-managed fisheries,�?? she said.

The rockfish research is one of several requests for federal help studying marine wildlife, which, coming from another candidate, might have drawn McCain�??s mockery.

Here are a few, with the state�??s description of the project:

�?� $400,000: Alaska Invasive Species Program: Continues to comprehensively prevent, identify, and respond to the threat of invasive species on the Alaska environment.

�?� $494,900: Assessment of Recreational Halibut Harvest in Alaska: This is an ongoing effort to collect data on the recreational halibut fishery that is conducted by federal agencies though relying on the state for data.

�?� $2 million: Bering Sea Crab Research and Management: Researches Bering Sea crab productivity and sustainability as necessary to restore crab stocks.

�?� $3.2 million: Seal and Steller Sea Lion Biological Research: Funds monitoring of ice seal populations in Native villages, research on the species delineation and genetics of harbor seals to understand the declines in population and provide for population restoration, and continues research into Steller Sea Lion population decline.

The McCain-Palin campaign didn�??t respond to the questions of whether Palin still backs those specific requests, or how she would defend them in light of her opposition to earmarks.

In response to those questions, McCain-Palin spokesman Ben Porritt said the governor believes in �??open, transparent, and efficient government�?? and criticized Obama for making extensive earmark requests.

Earmarks? In what respect?

mccain’s campaign is realpolitik at its worst…

wow, great cut and past job. too bad you look any deaper in to this other than the cut and paste.

How many of these were hidden in bills they had nothing to do with?

You do understand that we do have transportation budgets and research budgets? don’t you?

If they are going to spend this money anyway, I really don’t give a shit whether they send it to harbor seals in Alaska or San Francisco.

The real problem is pork for a new building or some pet project stuck into an armed services bill.

The federal government takes money away from the citizens of Alaska. It is then Palin’s job to get as much of it back as possible. If she didn’t request this money, some other state would have received it.

It seems all of this is being used to support Alaska’s fishing/crabbing industry. Even the seal genetics plays into the overall picture.

[quote]doogie wrote:
The federal government takes money away from the citizens of Alaska. It is then Palin’s job to get as much of it back as possible. If she didn’t request this money, some other state would have received it.[/quote]

Actually, it’s not really her job which makes this thread and line of thinking peculuar. She is not a senator.

My favorite thing is that when it’s a Democrat that does this shit, everyone jumps on them and says, “Oh, well that’s the democrats again, wasting money.”

But now that it’s Pig everyone defends it.

Alaska still has 10x the national average per capita in federal earmark funding. How the fuck can anyone defend that?

And earmarks are not all bad, its just the dumb ones, like the bridge for nowhere (yes, she supported it, yes, she decried it AFTER it was dead in the water, and yes, she still took the money for it to use elsewhere, reformist my ass)

THAT’S IT!!!

I’m voting for Obama

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
My favorite thing is that when it’s a Democrat that does this shit, everyone jumps on them and says, “Oh, well that’s the democrats again, wasting money.”

But now that it’s Pig everyone defends it.[/quote]

I don’t understand this either.

Government spending is my biggest problem with both parties. The neocons that have been in power haven’t done any better than the libs.

Pisses me off.

[quote]doogie wrote:
The federal government takes money away from the citizens of Alaska. It is then Palin’s job to get as much of it back as possible. If she didn’t request this money, some other state would have received it.[/quote]

Doogie, you may be the biggest hypocrite on this board for defending her. If I said that about Biden, you’d have been all over with comments about how bad government spending is, blah blah blah.

I really am surprised you sold yourself out like that.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
My favorite thing is that when it’s a Democrat that does this shit, everyone jumps on them and says, “Oh, well that’s the democrats again, wasting money.”

But now that it’s Pig everyone defends it.[/quote]

I know you’re not talking to me personally, but I do not do that. GWB has spent money like a sweepstakes winner on a spree.

[quote]dhickey wrote:
doogie wrote:
The federal government takes money away from the citizens of Alaska. It is then Palin’s job to get as much of it back as possible. If she didn’t request this money, some other state would have received it.

Actually, it’s not really her job which makes this thread and line of thinking peculuar. She is not a senator.[/quote]

Exactly. It is her job to ask for money. She doesn’t vote on it and she has no real power in the matter.

This is a congressional issue and a bullshit attack on the woman.

[quote]
doogie wrote:
The federal government takes money away from the citizens of Alaska. It is then Palin’s job to get as much of it back as possible. If she didn’t request this money, some other state would have received it.

FightinIrish26 wrote:
Doogie, you may be the biggest hypocrite on this board for defending her. If I said that about Biden, you’d have been all over with comments about how bad government spending is, blah blah blah.

I really am surprised you sold yourself out like that. [/quote]

Have you ever taken a basic government class? Do you understand Biden actually votes on the budget and Palin doesn’t?

Government spending is bad, blah, blah, blah. But as long as the Feds are taking my money, I hope my governor is getting as much back for our state as possible.

[quote]Christine wrote:
FightinIrish26 wrote:
My favorite thing is that when it’s a Democrat that does this shit, everyone jumps on them and says, “Oh, well that’s the democrats again, wasting money.”

But now that it’s Pig everyone defends it.

I don’t understand this either.

Government spending is my biggest problem with both parties. The neocons that have been in power haven’t done any better than the libs.

Pisses me off.[/quote]

What most don’t understand is that our economy functions on debt. Money is actually created when government incurs debt; they give the Federal Reserve System a bond and the FRS credits Uncle Sam with that many dollars.

If anyone were to stop this process, it would be like cutting off the heroin to a heavily addicted junkie.

The trouble arises when this process creates speculative bubbles, like the dotcom and now the housing bubbles. The housing bubble is very bad because it is pulling down some major banks like Lehman Brothers. That can cause an economic implosion.

No politician wants to cause a calamity that decreased debt creation would cause. And that’s why both parties spend like crazy and must continue to do so, no matter who wins in November.

Another reason Palin wants to drill here and now in Alaska is Alaska should be a member in OPEC with the profit they make

[quote]pittbulll wrote:
Another reason Palin wants to drill here and now in Alaska is Alaska should be a member in OPEC with the profit they make [/quote]

…So profit is bad?

When did governors start deciding how much money a state gets? I thought that was decided in congress…?

And isn’t the vast majority of Alaska land owned by the government anyway? Amazing that so many federal dollars would end up going back there.

It is called tax