Not Socialism

According to our fierce leader on the Alaska/Soviet frontline, holding back Putin from the lower 48, raising the top marginal tax rates from 36 to 39% will usher in a new era of socialism, but this is not socialist at all:

Ms. Palin, in an interview in her office on Friday, said she was ready to work.

“Now we kick in that fiscal conservativeness that needs to be engaged, and we progress this state with $57-a-barrel oil,” Ms. Palin said. She said the state would have to “be prudent with public dollars and provide services more efficiently than have ever been provided in the state of Alaska before.”

The price and production of oil determines state finances: taxes on oil bring in about 85 percent of state revenue. To balance the budget for the 2008-9 fiscal year, the price of oil needs to average $74 over the 12 months, said Karen J. Rehfeld, director of the state office of management and budget. If it falls below that average, the state could have to make emergency cuts or dip into a reserve account that contains several billion dollars. High prices early in the fiscal year may help keep the average up this year, but next year is another matter.

That is right. Taxes Alaska takes from oil and gas companies balance their budget, and that only happens if oil costs more than 74 bucks a barrel. In other words, in order for Gov. Palin to be that reforming mavericky fiscal conservative, you and I and every other American, real or not, needs to pay through the teeth for gas. If we don’t have high gas prices, Alaska doesn’t have a balanced budget. In a sense, Alaska is taxing YOU to pay for their budget. A nice gig if you can get it.

Also, while clearly not socialism, either, Gov. Palin gets to mail out big checks to every Alaska resident. In 2008, that was about $3300.00 big ones. That buys a fair bit of moose hunting ammo.

In addition to all this, Alaska is one of the largest recipients of federal aid to state and local government per capita. In 2006, it was 3600 per person, making them #2 in the nation. Only Dick Cheney’s Wyoming ranked higher. This fiscal conservatism is fricking awesome, and you almost have to wonder how she managed to get Wasilla 20 million dollars in debt.

This socialism thing is so hard to figure out these days. It is almost like the rules keep changing. And WTF was that sentence in the beginning of what I quoted (“now we kick in that fiscal…”)? That was worse than Bush.

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46 replies
  1. 1
    TenguPhule says:

    This socialism thing is so hard to figure out these days. It is almost like the rules keep changing.

    It’s a feature, not a bug.

    Everything not Republican is Socialism. Everything that is Republican is Free Markets that just need a helping hand.

  2. 2
    jcricket says:

    "Now we kick in… " is folksy for "Let’s get to fucking over the poor people who depend on whatever meager social services we dole out".

    BTW – I like that Alaska, which can afford to give every citizen $1k – $3k/year in oil slush/hush money, is so "self sufficient" that it needs a billion or so from the Feds to build a couple of bridges to nowhere.

    Next time the Republicans are in charge I suggest we take them up on the whole "redistribution is bad" meme and pass a law that says no state can get more money from the feds than it puts in. See how well that works out for the worthless rural pukes who couldn’t survive a fucking day without all the redistribution they’re getting.

    Not a day goes by that I don’t want to let eastern Washington secede and see how well they do in their Republican utopia. Let the libertarians go all John Galt on us too. I don’t want to divide America into real and fake parts, but it seems to me the fake parts are the ones doing the dividing these days.

    Excuse me. Back to your regularly scheduled program.

  3. 3
    burnspbesq says:

    Note that the Palin family received slightly more than $23,000 in Permanent Fund payments this year.

    But karma is always lurking. The size of the Permanent Fund payments this year means that a separate Federal income tax return has to be filed by or on behalf of every minor child in Alaska. One suspects that Palin’s approval rating is going to take it in the shorts come next April.

  4. 4
    Jennifer says:

    This is off topic, but not completely…I spent a few hours over at Secret Agent Flowbee’s place this evening, and wow, the crazy is only getting deeper. It’s like everyone there had a brain transplant…but the brains came from Pam Atlas’ commenters. A number of them were protesting Sarah Palin’s deep intelligence and readiness for office. I guess for some Hillary supporters, voting for one Vaginal-American was just as good as voting for another.

  5. 5
    mogden says:

    How about this, the government doesn’t take my money and give it to somebody else?

  6. 6
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    “Now we kick in that fiscal conservativeness that needs to be engaged, and we progress this state with $57-a-barrel oil,” Ms. Palin said. She said the state would have to “be prudent with public dollars and provide services more efficiently than have ever been provided in the state of Alaska before.”

    Sweet Christ in the foothills on a tricycle, is American English this woman’s mother tongue? I am far from being a stickler about grammar or usage but, her speech is suggestive of some form of brain damage.

  7. 7
    Comrade Stuck says:

    n addition to all this, Alaska is one of the largest recipients of federal aid per capita. In 2006, it was 3600 per person, making them #2 in the nation. Only Dick Cheney’s Wyoming ranked higher. This fiscal conservatism is fricking awesome.

    Not to mention the overall disparity of all federal dollars going to a long list of red states with the lowest per capita incomes from more productive blue states, especially New England.

    Shorter Wingnut Socialist Baiters. Give us your money, or we’ll call you commie pinkos. And after you give us your money, we’ll still call you commie pinkos because it helps us win elections.

  8. 8
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    This fiscal conservatism is fricking awesome

    Don’t you mean "fiscal conservativeness" ?

  9. 9
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    Pretty funny that Alaska needs oil to be at a certain price level to make or break the budget. What about milking the constituents for cash like other states do? Alaska is one giant welfare state being led by a party that hates welfare states.

    Alaska conservatives are a strange lot. Welfare queens who hate anyone else getting the same deal they do. If they had to survive like the other 49 states do they wouldn’t be able to do it. Rugged individualists my ass. More like spoiled rotten crooks.

    … and we progress this state with $57-a-barrel oil.

    Does this idiot even understand English enough to speak it? No wonder the wingnuts love her, she makes them feel like they are geniuses.

  10. 10
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Dennis – SGMM:

    It’s like listening to grinding gears on a cement truck. Also.

  11. 11
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:
    Or throwing a beer bottle into the garbage disposal. You betcha.

  12. 12
    Splitting Image says:

    "In order to boost the British economy, I would tax all foreigners living abroad."

    Must have sounded reasonable to Alaskans.

  13. 13
    Walker says:

    Oil is priced on a world market. She doesn’t get to add taxes until it becomes $74 dollars/barrel. Adding huge taxes to Alaskan oil ensures Alaskan oil does not get sold.

  14. 14
    tripletee says:

    @Jennifer:

    the brains came from Pam Atlas’ commenters

    Non sequitur. You’d have to assume that Pammy’s commenters had brains to begin with for that to work.

    I guess for some Hillary supporters, voting for one Vaginal-American was just as good as voting for another.

    Same deal over at Riverdaughter’s PUMA Paradise. I can’t even imagine the cognitive dissonance involved in holding up Sarah Palin as a feminist icon. Which I guess makes me a raging misogynist or something.

  15. 15
    r€nato says:

    “Now we kick in that fiscal conservativeness that needs to be engaged, and we progress this state with $57-a-barrel oil,” Ms. Palin said.

    This is how not-very-educated people speak when they’re trying to sound edumacated.

    (did you know that ‘disassemble’ means to not tell the truth?)

    To truly appreciate the awfulness of this quote, however, you have to imagine it spoken in Palin’s high-pitched, sing-songy voice.

  16. 16
    sarah says:

    Maybe if she weren’t so short sighted giving away cash from the rainy day coffers (while simultaneously cutting programs she morally disagreed with). Teachers have to plan for summer and retailers can’t live every day like it’s the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. She got in office, looked at the price of oil knowing she’d only be in power for a few years and started cutting checks. The woman is a taker, a moron and a liar and she deserves every bad thing that befalls her. I just feel bad for the few well meaning people in her state. And the rest of us in the lower 48 who are going to bail out her crybaby capitalism state when it comes calling.

  17. 17
    r€nato says:

    Maybe Palin could slap a tax on rape kits in order to balance the budget.

  18. 18
    Soylent Green says:

    did you know that ‘disassemble’ means to not tell the truth?

    The word you’re looking for is "dissemble," which means to hide the truth.
     
    /grammar police

  19. 19
    tripletee says:

    @Soylent Green:

    Pretty sure that renato engaged that word, diassemble, in a purposeful way, also, it can mean to take something apart, ya know, youbetcha.

  20. 20
    ThymeZone says:

    Socialism is remarkably easy to figure out and identify.

    Just look it up.

    1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
    2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

    Hasn’t got much to do with progressive taxation.

    It’s got very little to do with this:

    "The government doesn’t take my money and give it to somebody else?"

    All taxation is about taking money and giving it to somebody else. If they took it from you and gave it back, it would just be borrowing.

    If anyone wants to propose a system that works without taxation, let him put forward the plan and lets get a look at it.

  21. 21
    ThymeZone says:

    I’ve asked this before, mainly because I think you guys don’t know the answer …. but why is comment at 1:37 am in moderation?

    I don’t think anybody at the BJ store has any idea, and for that reason, I propose that your moderation filter is just capricious and doesn’t work.

    Also the posting in IE6 throws an error message and hoses the browser. 100% of the time, on any machine I try it on with that browser.

  22. 22
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Saudi Alaska. Say it, repeat it, get it out there. When the Palins went on their Neiman Marcus spree, it reminded me of minor Saudi princelings buying gold-plated Bentleys and catwalk-model hookers in London.

    I hate quoting Thomas Friedman, but he wrote about the characteristics of petrostates in a way that applies to Alaska:

    The motto of the American Revolution was “no taxation without representation.” The motto of the petroauthoritarians is “no representation without taxation”: If I don’t have to tax you, because I can get all the money I need from oil wells, I don’t have to listen to you.

    He also noted, reasonably, that "political participation and accountability of those in office all tended to go up" in petrostates during the mid/late-1990s, when oil was cheap. That was, curiously, a time when a Democrat held the governor’s office in Alaska.

    Philip Gourevitch was right when he described the status of Alaska as ‘subsidized subsistence’: people living a subsistence life that is basically unsustainable without the federal tit. I’ve said elseblog that it makes you wonder about the whole statehood deal, given that Stevens and Young may get sent back to DC: that’s not a slight at Alaskans, but an observation based upon how it’s possible to run remote bits of countries as federally-administered territories with more limited self-government.

    (‘sfunny, too: we never heard a peep about Palin’s dealings with the Canadians on her border. Not even the B.C. provincial government.)

    Added w/ edit: now, I think that the global recession is going to bring a temporary respite in oil prices, just long enough to make life pretty shitty for Sheikh Sarah, and very amusing for the rest of us.

  23. 23
    ThymeZone says:

    Socialism is remarkably easy to figure out and identify.

    Just look it up.

    1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
    2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

    Hasn’t got much to do with progressive taxation.

    It’s got very little to do with this:

    "The government doesn’t take my money and give it to somebody else?"

    All taxation is about taking money and giving it to somebody else. If they took it from you and gave it back, it would just be borrowing.

    If anyone wants to propose a system that works without taxation, let him put forward the plan and lets get a look at it.

    I’m reposting this because it’s late and the previous attempt went into moderation for no reason whatever.

    If you like, you can take down one of the duplicates. I don’t care. I don’t have time for this goofy shit.

  24. 24
    Nylund says:

    The funny thing is that all Obama is doing is letting the highest rate revert back to 39.6%

    Do the wingnuts not know that under Eisenhower, defeater of the nazi’s, Commander in Chief of the last great era before the dirty fucking hippies started complaining, had a 90% tax rate on the wealthiest Americans? Even Nixon, the first GOP candidate to rally behind the south, had a 70% tax rate for the rich.

    So if 39.6 makes you a marxist, what are Nixon and Ike? They must be like Mao, Pot, Marx, Lenin, and Stalin combined!

    39.6 is WELL below the average of the post-war era.

    Currently, the highest rate is about 35%. Obama could DOUBLE the taxes on the rich and they’d still be less than Ike’s and about the same as Nixon.

  25. 25
    gnomedad (fmr. Nixon Hailfire Palin) says:

    Saudi Arabia on the tundra.

  26. 26
    Joshua Norton says:

    The meaning of the words they use have absolutely no reference to their actions.

    It’s like a person insisting they don’t smoke while puffing their way through a carton a day. Or claiming they’re on a diet as they polish off an entire cheesecake.

    Clueless doesn’t even begin to describe the extent of their constant synapse misfires.

    And they always default to how popular she is as a governor. Hell, I’d kiss Schwarzeneggger on the mouth if he sent me a check for 3,000 dollars every year. You can’t buy love, but you can buy a lot of popularity as long as that free money keeps popping up in your mailbox.

  27. 27
    Oliver's Neck says:

    @mogden: Why would "the government" want to take currency that you’ve established and backed yourself? I know I certainly wouldn’t.

  28. 28
    Nylund says:

    Nevermind the fact that Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford all had higher taxes than Obama.

    Only three of the previous 11 post-war presidents had lower taxes than Obama (and Bush 41 is debatable in some ways). No way were Nixon and Ike commies! Nevermind the 70-90% income tax rate for the richest Americans. Never mind Nixon’s price controls where the gov’t DICTATED the prices of certain goods. Nevermind the massive farm subsidies he started where in many cases the gov’t paid farmers to NOT GROW things.

    The question I have is do winguts simply NOT know history? OR are they knowingly lying? Is it ignorance or manipulation?\

    I always suspected the Kristol’s and other "smarter" winguts knew they were lying, but the Confederate Yankees, and Jonah Goldbergs of the world were simply nincompoops and actually believed the lies their masters told them to spread.

  29. 29
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Dennis – SGMM:

    Yeah, that’s it. Exactly.

  30. 30
    Nylund says:

    Fun fact. Since WWII (the beginning of our huge national debt), there have been 11 presidents. Under 8 of them the debt/gdp ratio decreased. under 3 it skyrocketed.

    Obama’s tax plan has lower tax rates than 8 presidents, and higher tax rates than 3.

    Guess what? those two lists are an exact match.

    (the 8 are Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Clinton. The three are Reagan, G. H. W. Bush, and G. W. Bush) Even Reagan and G.H.W. Bush realized the errors of their ways and RAISED taxes eventually.

    G. W. Bush never saw that mistake, and, by no coincidence, accumulated more debt than EVERY previous president COMBINED.

  31. 31
    AnneLaurie says:

    I’ve asked this before, mainly because I think you guys don’t know the answer …. but why is comment at 1:37 am in moderation?

    Possibly because when you use the political s-word, the spam filter reads the middle chunk of letters as referring to a brand of boner pills?

    As in C-I-A, then L, which would otherwise be followed by I-S.

  32. 32
    Pooh says:

    Point of order, the PFD itself was $2100 this year. The extra $1200 was a separate energy relief stimulus bill or some such shit that Gov. Palin decided was teh awesome. With it, my GF and I went to Vegas. Sadly, those who live in say, Adak, still can’t afford power and/or heat, even with the extra dough…

  33. 33

    One thing that has pissed me off for quite some Republican time was their refusal to deal with PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) calling it welfare. The dirty bastards control 1/2 my county, removing it from the property tax rolls and call PILT welfare? Never mind that when the land was federalized that PILT was part of the deal, never mind that property taxes on the land would be higher, just never mind that OR is a net Fed loser. We have to deal with the land and its consequences and get called whiners and welfare queens?

    They keep wanting to talk about Timber Payments when that is not the damn issue, that was never more than a mechanism to make the payments and I don’t give a damn if they never get another board foot out of the mountains or the rest of the land produces anything, that money is still owed.

    I don’t want that land in private hands, I don’t approve of the rape of resources, but if you are going to remove it from the stream then you’d damn well better replace it, at least partly – which is all PILT ever was. And they pour money into Alaska? WTF?

  34. 34

    I am so damn glad this woman will not be our next V.P. I cannot tell you.

    “be prudent with public dollars and provide services more efficiently than have ever been provided in the state of Alaska before.”

    Ha ha, suckers! You can’t get the GOP to blow 150K on your asses so we’ll have to make some cuts. No funds for rape kits, schools with blasphemous curricula or libraries that carry books about teh ghey, Toddles wants a new snow machine!

    I’m not sure, though how this deluded bint think she can move the price of oil, also. Perhaps she ‘s going to call that Mr. Carzeye from Afganirabia and tell him to do something about it. "Aw heck! Winking doesn’t work on the phone, also!"

  35. 35
    maxbaer (not the original) says:

    Would it maybe help balance the federal budget if Obama and the Democrats in Congress cut a lot of money going to Alaska and these southern red states? Tough love!

  36. 36
    Svensker says:

    did you know that ‘disassemble’ means to not tell the truth?
    The word you’re looking for is "dissemble," which means to hide the truth.
    /grammar police

    I believe the reference was to our current Dear Leader’s careful explanation of what "disassemble" meant to a crowd of somewhat perplexed news folks. One of my fonder memories of the Idiot in Chief.

    And, sorry, Alaska, but I am SO looking forward to Ms. Palin dealing with trying to fix her "oops, spent too much!" budget on cheap oil. Double heh.

  37. 37
    Redhand says:

    Some great comments in this thread!! My favorites:

    Alaska conservatives are a strange lot. Welfare queens who hate anyone else getting the same deal they do. If they had to survive like the other 49 states do they wouldn’t be able to do it. Rugged individualists my ass. More like spoiled rotten crooks.

    I looked up on the internets and saw that the Alaska State Nickname is "The Last Frontier." "The Grifter State" would be more like it.

    Saudi Alaska. Say it, repeat it, get it out there. When the Palins went on their Neiman Marcus spree, it reminded me of minor Saudi princelings buying gold-plated Bentleys and catwalk-model hookers in London.

    Brilliant analogy. Really.

    As for Palin’s "Now we kick in that fiscal conservativeness that needs to be engaged, and we progress this state with $57-a-barrel oil,” the comment, This is how not-very-educated people speak when they’re trying to sound edumacated" sounds right.

    However, equally likely is that it’s calculated doubletalk: Palin is an obvious ignoramus, but with enough low cunning to survive in Alaska’s perverse political landscape.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    Real interesting discussion on Washington Journal this am. The topic is how other nations around the world are reacting to Obama’s win. An older woman from the UK called in and she had some very astute observations about America and its people.

    She said that, in her opinion, the differences between the two parties is intellectual and moral. Her hearing John McCain saying to his supporters that ‘you’ve made your money and now you should keep it’ while ignoring the millions of needy poor in our country just doesn’t make sense coming from a people who are supposedly religious.

    Judging from the comments from around the world, Obama has some political capital that John McCain would not have had. Arabs seem inclined to give him some time to get his act together, but that time is not unlimited (estimated at a year or so) so it is imperative that Obama take advantage of this for the benefit of our country and others who we interact with.

    Some are not happy with the selection of Rahm because of his IDF past and total support of anything Israel related, and that Obama needs to take care of who he surrounds himself with to prevent any misconceptions of what direction he may take in regards to the middle east. I agree.

    After 9-11, I told my wife that I would bet that Israel would be given a free hand to do as they wish. History has proven me right on that point, unfortunately. While Israel has a right to exist (IMO), it does not have a right to do so without any consideration of the nations that surround it. There has to be a solution to the strife found, and Israel needs to realize that they are not the only people who matter in that region. As much as it would piss off the rapture ready crowd, Israel needs to stop acting with impunity and start working towards a resolution.

    I hope Obama has his thoughts on what possible avenues that may exist for him to pursue peace in the middle east, and that he will work on setting up a framework for moving forward and trying to find solutions for one of the biggest headaches that the world has been dealing with for far too many years.

  40. 40
    boonagain says:

    Did you read this?

    She’s not gonna budge on the cultural issues, is she?

    Keep to your standards, Sarah Baby!

  41. 41

    I was watching some video at the Anchorage Daily News of her ‘triumphant’ return to the Gov’s office and couldn’t fail to notice that while her sentence structure is still imbecilic, she seems to have dropped the phony folksy twang since she got home.

  42. 42
    karen marie says:

    that $1200 supplemental has an impact on alaskans’ perceptions of palin. AKmuckraker over at "mudflats" reported an encounter with a woman who was offended that people would vote against palin after she worked so hard for that extra payout. palin bought her support.

    my favorite part of palin’s press conference was where she acknowledged that the flow of earmark money will not be what it has been. it’s a good thing alaskans believe themselves to be self sufficient, because now they’re going to have to prove it.

  43. 43

    Possibly because when you use the political s-word, the spam filter reads the middle chunk of letters as referring to a brand of boner pills?

    As in C-I-A, then L, which would otherwise be followed by I-S.

    I am aware of all parsing tradtions. I work with programmers, and this is exactly how they think.

  44. 44
    Joel says:

    Venelaska? Alaskazuela? I made this point a while ago, about Palin’s selection rendering (now long forgotten) McCain "gas tax" attack ironic.

  45. 45
    uila says:

    While I’m not an economist, there seems to be a critical piece of information missing from this story. I’m going to get to it in reverse, Seinfeld-style:

    – In addition to the whole base-energizing, Hillary-projection thing, Palin was seen as a credible VP based upon her ridiculously high approval ratings as governor

    – her high approval ratings among all Alaskans were no doubt fueled by the increased payouts (i.e kickbacks) she gave them via the new windfall oil tax she passed

    – the one upshot of the new oil tax, if you’re an oil company, is that the taxes are now based on net profits rather than gross receipts (see the last two paragraphs of this article)…

    Now again, I’m not an economist, but there’s a pretty good chance she traded long-term security for short-term gain. In other words, now that the price of oil has dropped, the people of Alaska can stuff their sorries in a sack!

  46. 46

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