In the words of Bill Engvall, “Here’s your sign.” Clinton had the intelligence and the wit to hang it on the wall of his campaign headquarters, and we could use a little bit of ‘Here’s your sign’ in the Obama campaign right about now. With the economy tanking, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac being bailed out (at the cost of billions to the taxpayers) and unemployment hitting record high rates across the country, McCain’s solution is to continue the tax cuts to those making over $250k a year, extend further tax credits and incentives to businesses, and drill for more oil to bring gas prices down at the pump. The Obama campaign needs to be hammering away at the lack of any cohesive economic policy statements coming out of the McCain camp. They should also think about stealing a line from Reagan’s campaign: “Are you better off than you were 8 years ago?”

Interestingly, in January, the Boston Globe wrote about McCain’s repeated admissions that he doesn’t understand economic issues. At that point, he told a columnist for the New York Times that he’d “look for people who maybe have talents that you don’t, or experience or knowledge you don’t, as well.” When asked what qualities he didn’t have that he wouldn’t mind complementing, he said, “Uh, maybe I shouldn’t say this, but, somebody who’s really well grounded in economics.”

Palin has a bachelors degree in journalism, which, of course, requires an in-depth knowledge of economy. She describes herself as a hard-nosed conservative economically. While her proponents point to her experience as a mayor as proof of her executive and economic ability, her own words from the beginning of her mayoral term put it in perspective. Asked how she would run the city without experienced department heads, she responded, “It’s not rocket science. It’s $6 million and 53 employees.”

While she was mayor, she cut property taxes, and business inventory tax, but raised sales taxes. From 1996 to 2002, the budget for Wasilla increased from $3.9 million to $5.8 million (but she talks about cutting government spending). She used a half-percent income tax increase to fund a $15 million sports complex, which has been embroiled in legal issues over the taking of the land on which it is built by eminent domain. The town has been ordered to pay the legal fees of the landowner who brought suit, to the tune of $350,000, in addition to the $250,000 it has already paid its own law firm. On top of that, the city will end up paying another $770k+ for the clear title to the land itself.

Here is how Anne Kilkenny, a citizen of Waslla, describes Sarah Palin’s performance as mayor of Wasilla.

During her six years as mayor, she increased general government
expenditures by more than 33 percent. During those same six years, the
amount of taxes collected by the city increased by 38 percent. This was
during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive
property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax, which taxed even
food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefitted large corporate
property owners way more than they benefited residents.

She inherited a city with zero debt but left it with indebtedness of
more than $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to
borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she
supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? Or a new
library? No. $1 million for a park. $15 million-plus for construction
of a multi-use sports complex, which she rushed through, on a piece of
property that the city didn’t even have clear title to. That was still
in litigation seven years later — to the delight of the lawyers
involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community
but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be.
She also supported bonds for $5.5 million for road projects that could
have been done in five to seven years without any borrowing.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a
budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology
that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as
governor Sarah proposed distribution of this surplus to every
individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues
and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for
road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state
revenue: Spend today’s surplus, borrow for needs. (bolding mine)

These are facts, not smears. I haven’t even quoted the parts of the letter from Kilkenny that speak of Palin’s ethics and supposed vindictiveness. I left out the part about the fact that during her tenure as mayor, most of the city business was handled by a business manager that the city council has insisted she hire. This is the performance of the woman that McCain chose to balance out his admitted lack of understanding of economics. This is where the Obama campaign – and anyone who supports a Democrat in the White House, should be placing their focus, not on supposed racist comments that may or may not be true, not on whether or not her son is really her son, and not on her abilities as a mother. If raising five kids is any measure of ability to be vice president, then hell, someone call Obama and volunteer me for the job.






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