No mother wants to see her child crammed into an overcrowded classroom, where she can experience the joys of head lice. I’ve never been to a community meeting where anyone said, “I’d like to wait longer for an ambulance,” or, “I hope America stops spending all that money on cancer research.” Nor did I see anyone at a Tea Party rally burning his Medicare card […]
So here’s my two-word response: Defund Kentucky. Cut it off the federal dole. Kentucky is a welfare state to begin with. The conservative Tax Foundation says the Bluegrass State received $1.51 back from Washington for every dollar it paid in federal taxes in 2005 (the most recent data I could find on the Tax Foundation’s website.) We need to listen to the people of Kentucky. They don’t want any more federal spending in their state—and they certainly must be appalled by the notion that they’re a bunch of welfare queens, living off the taxes paid by blue states like California (which only gets 81 cents back on the dollar), Connecticut (69 cents), Illinois (75 cents) and New York (79 cents).
A report in the Lexington Herald-Leader says 80 percent of Kentucky’s Medicaid bill is paid by Washington and more than one in five Kentuckians receives a monthly check from the Social Security System, totaling $8.5 billion a year. Washington also spends over $2 billion a year on flood insurance for Kentuckians, $667 million in crop insurance, and $877 million in mortgage insurance. Plus the Bluegrass State is home to federal facilities ranging from Ft. Knox to the Department of Energy’s Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Paducah […]
So give the people what they want. Defy Shields’ Law. Defund Kentucky. Kentuckians are addicted to federal spending—they’re the Lindsay Lohan of states, the Charlie Sheen of commonwealths. Let’s put them in detox. By trying this experiment in one state we can honor the conservatives’ belief in states’ rights, allowing Kentucky to truly be a laboratory of democracy.
At first glance it might seem like Begala has scored a clever “gotcha!” against conservative hypocrites, but it relies on misrepresenting spending critics on several levels. First, some of the Tea Party’s more pure libertarian elements would like to see a wholesale gutting of the feds’ role in everything from Medicaid to emergency aid to education, so whatever else the Paul Begalas of the world might think of their convictions, they certainly can’t be called hypocrites.
Second, where’s his, y’know, evidence that Tea Partiers want their own states exempt from scrutiny? So far, they’ve been pretty candid about the GOP’s job performance—the New York Times reports that Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler called the GOP “a disaster” who stood strong on a few things only “because we stood behind them with a big stick,” and Mother Jones quotes Florida Tea Party leader Robin Stublen as saying Republicans “can’t keep a commitment.” (Oh, and y’know who else thinks Republicans need to cut more? Rand Paul.)
Third, not all Tea Partiers are ideologically conservative or libertarian, but are just otherwise-nonpartisan Americans who think Washington has gone too far. Such people don’t oppose in theory a national safety net, or even the idea of the federal government trying to help Americans without healthcare, but above all they want government to work, and they understand that sometimes you just can’t afford things you’d really like to have.
If Begala were to actually meet one of the many independent Americans who aren’t partisans for the Left or the Right but would still prefer their kids not be crushed by debt, I suspect he’d find them less than impressed with his ingenuity.