Shannyn Moore: Parnell and friends rail at feds, but love that federal money

commentNovember 17, 2012 

Earlier this month, Governor Giveaway asked for disaster relief funds from the federal government to help Alaskans.

This week he refused to set up a state-run health care exchange, which would have helped tens of thousands of Alaskans buy insurance cheaper on the free market by pooling together.

That'll teach the federal government!

It reminds me of when I was a teenager. I wanted to go out with my friends. It was a Friday night, and I was 17.

"Be home at 10," Pop said.

"What? 10?! Are you kidding me?"

"OK, 9:30."

"But Pop!"

"9 is fine."

"That doesn't give me any time to . . ."

"8:30 works better."

"Are you serious?"

Finally he would look up at me with his "are-you-going-to-figure-out-that-you-need-to-shut-up" look.

I was home at 8:30.

I'm sure Barack Obama doesn't have a daughter as hard-headed as my dad does but I wish the president would go a bit "Pop Moore" on Alaska.

Gov. Sean Parnell, Lite Gov. Mead Treadwell, Sen. Murkowski and Congressman Don Young act, on our behalf, like spoiled teenagers.

With all the oil company boot-licking, they seem to have forgotten that Alaska has more federal employees than oil company workers. Yes, 35 percent of the jobs in Alaska are federal.

When the federal Recovery Act (the Stimulus) was passed, Alaska wasn't in a recession. Yet we received more federal stimulus dollars per capita than any other state. Triple your average dividend check -- that's what we got. Hey Mat-Su Borough Tea Partiers, how are those 111 million federal dollars working out for you? Schools and a park-and-ride.

The new hospital in Nome will care for people living in rural Alaska; the old hospital was almost old enough to be on Medicare.

Fairbanks, you did pretty well with $4,000 per capita. That money meant jobs. Private industry jobs.

I must have missed the press releases from Governor Giveaway and our congressional delegation condemning all this federal money coming into Alaska and all the jobs the Stimulus Act created here in Alaska.

While the rest of the Lower 48 has had hundreds of years of federal funding for roads, ports and bridges, we are still a young state and catching up. Alaskans know this -- that's why for decades we re-elected Ted Stevens. He was our Robin Hood! You can't throw a rock here without hitting a road, airport, school or building he got the federal government to pay for. He was proud of it and we were grateful.

When the Department of the Interior opened up almost 12 million acres to new drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve, Lisa Murkowski called it a bait-and-switch. Why? Because the oil companies can't drill in the other half of the reserve.

Pop might have asked Lisa: How about 10 million acres? How about 8? 6? Does 6 work for you?

Good grief. It's embarrassing.

With military spending and federal jobs, Alaska receives $17,762 a year per capita. Think about that. No state in the history of the U.S. has received more per person, ever. Defense spending is $7,337.59 for each of us. No other state comes close.

Federal spending is part of what allows us to not tax ourselves.

But now, with a Democratic president offering to help Alaskans who don't have insurance (through a bill originally conceived by Republicans) -- well, that's a moose of a different color. Parnell -- who is such a statesman that he couldn't even shake the president's hand when he visited Alaska -- has officially turned down federal money to start an insurance exchange for the more than 118,000 Alaskans who need it. (Next he'll be trying to shut down the "socialist" V.A. and Native hospitals.)

Of course, Parnell isn't above taking government-funded health insurance for himself and his family. But he won't let the state create an exchange to help uninsured Alaskans get coverage? No, he'd rather let the feds be the grown-ups in the room.

DO THEY MAKE A PILL FOR THIS KIND OF DISORDER? Whatever is wrong with the Alaskans who still support Parnell, it's time to call in the prescription.

What is Parnell's plan for insuring Alaskans without access to affordable health care, pray tell? If Alaska had crickets, you'd hear them right now.

This week a petition, one of at least 30 from different states, calling for Alaska to secede from the union popped up. (Remember Joe Vogler? This was his dream. He gathered 15,000 signatures the hard way in 1973.)

What if secession actually happened? The way the majority of our delegation talks, you'd think Alaska was Northern Alabama -- still fighting the civil war, or trying to start a new one. It's idiocy -- and, in Alaska's case, the most cynical kind of hypocrisy.

Thank God the federal government isn't cutting us loose. If it did, we'd be the People's Republic of ConocoPhillips faster than you could say "Sean Parnell."

Shannyn Moore can be heard weekdays from 6 to 9 p.m. on KOAN 1020 AM and 95.5 FM radio. Her weekly TV show can be seen Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. statewide on ABC affiliates KYUR Channel 13 Anchorage, KATN Fairbanks and KJUD Juneau.

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