Sunday, May 9, 2010

I'm From the Government, and I'm Here to Help

There is, as Washington Post hack Dana Milbank remarks (via, h/t to Doonesbury's Daily Briefing) with unseemly Schadenfreude, "something exquisite about the moment when a conservative decides he needs more government in his life." Which doesn't mean I don't share his Schadenfreude, as:

About an hour later [after Senator David Vitter, R-La. called for Big Government to help clean up the oil spill rather than require the Private Sector to clean up after itself] came word from the Pentagon that Alabama, Florida and Mississippi -- all three governed by men who once considered themselves limited-government conservatives -- want the federal government to mobilize (at taxpayer expense, of course) more National Guard troops to aid in the cleanup.

That followed an earlier request by the small-government governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal (R), who issued a statement saying he had called the Obama administration "to outline the state's needs" and to ask "for additional resources." Said Jindal: "These resources are critical."

These would be reasonable requests if they weren't coming from vocal opponents of Big Brother's terroristic interference with ordinary citizens' lives. As Milbank goes on to point out:

It may have taken an ecological disaster, but the gulf-state conservatives' newfound respect for the powers and purse of the federal government is a timely reminder for them. As conservatives in Washington complain about excessive federal spending, the ones who would suffer the most from spending cuts are their own constituents.

An analysis of data from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation by Washington Post database specialist Dan Keating found that people in states that voted Republican were by far the biggest beneficiaries of federal spending. In states that voted strongly Republican, people received an average of $1.50 back from the federal government for every dollar they paid in federal taxes. In moderately Republican states, the amount was $1.19. In moderately Democratic states, people received on average of 99 cents in federal funds for each dollar they paid in taxes. In strongly Democratic states, people got back just 86 cents on the tax dollar.

That's nothing new, of course. Opponents of big government usually have their hands deep in the taxpayers' pockets. And that "newfound respect for the powers and purse of the federal government" will disappear down the memory hole as soon as right-wing pols go on the campaign trail, which means next week.

So I want Sarah Palin to denounce those crooks in Washington who want to waste the taxpayers' money on cleaning up after a foreign oil company that her husband worked for for 18 years. And what happened to "Drill, baby, drill"? Oh, she still supports it of course. But about keeping government out of Louisianans' business, nada so far.

And Teabag Nation, where are they? I want to see them get out there and denounce Jindal, Vitter, and the other hypocritical Republicans-in-Name-Only who want the socialist (or fascist, depending on which day of the week it is) Obama to send National Guard troops in to suppress the freedom-loving people of Alabama, and government money from their pockets to help Big Oil. But I doubt it very much. As shown by their general allegiance to Social Security and Medicare (for themselves), they're quite willing to ignore Ronald Reagan's infamous quip about government help when it suits them. (The blogger who endorsed Reagan's quote seems mainly concerned about how the oil spill will affect his god-given right to eat his favorite foods.) Government helps those who help themselves to the contents of the Treasury, especially Republicans.