Thursday, January 16, 2014

Governor Bentley of Alabama Holds his State Up as a Paragon of Republican Ideals

Governor Bentley, in his state of the state address on Tuesday night continued to reject Obamacare, Medicaid expansion, and federal government intervention. Instead, he showed the nation what Republican ideals of low taxes and small government can do for a state. After all, Alabama was practicing low taxes, small government and resistance to federal programs long before it was Republican cool, way before there were Tea Party rallies – and it has really paid off. “The poorest county in the United States of America is located just 73 miles from where we sit tonight," the governor proclaimed. "If we were to drive a little over an hour from this historic hall we would find ourselves in Wilcox County where the median household income is below that of any other county in this nation.” 

To the governor’s credit, he has refused to accept a salary until his state achieves full employment. According to the official Alabama Governor website, “To date, Governor Bentley has never accepted a salary as Governor.” Many Alabama citizens are of the opinion that Gov. Bentley is worth every cent they pay him. In 2012, Alabama ranked 39th in the nation in job growth. 2013 saw a dramatic change as the state moved to 49th in job growth (wait a minute – a larger number is not really better in this case is it?).

Finding the Right Government Is the Key

The governor expressed pride in refusing Medicaid expansion and the jobs and benefits that would come with it. Dependence upon the federal government is no way to improve our state, Governor Bentley maintains. Instead, he would rather depend upon the Japanese government, stating that, “There are over 60 Japanese companies in Alabama. Two months ago I had the opportunity to travel there to recruit more jobs and strengthen relationships with Japan's biotech industry.” In other words, Governor Bentley would much rather his state be a vassal of an Asian economic power than to be beholden to what he sees as an increasingly socialist Democratic regime centered in Washington, D.C.

Would it be possible for our own government to invest in Alabama? There was actually one Democrat still on hand in Alabama who took issue with Governor Bentley's aversion to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion. The Democrat, a businessman who wished to remain anonymous stated that Governor Bentley is passing up an opportunity to give Alabama a number one ranking. Currently, Alabama ranks among the top ten states that receive more in federal aid than they pay in taxes, which amounts to a positive return in federal tax investment. Currently, however, the state ranks number nine in the country. If the Governor would accept Medicaid expansion and buy into Obamacare, then Alabama would have a chance to be number one in something besides football. It could be number one in substantial economic returns on taxes paid into the federal government. 

The Democratic businessman went on to explain that Alabama should think of Medicaid expansion and The Affordable Care Act as an investment strategy. Since the demise of the iron and steel industry, healthcare is actually the state's largest industry, already employing more people than any other single industry. Furthermore, it has been estimated that Medicaid expansion would bring an influx of 35,000 additional new jobs. It could be such a boon that the Governor might actually be able to allow himself a salary and could take credit for achieving full employment in the state (which by the state's own definition would be equal to 5.2% unemployment rather than the current 6.2%).   

Campaigning for Tomorrow

The Governor expressed pride in the hard-working people of Alabama who are privileged to live in a state that espouses better than any other state the Republican ideals of low taxes, small government, and state’s rights (Gov. Bentley made sure to emphasize the Tenth Amendment in affirming state’s rights and rejecting federal government intervention). These are the principles that will bring true pride and prosperity to the people. When asked why Alabama remained at the bottom in terms of jobs, income and education, the Governor responded that if the problems of unemployment and education were solved today, there would be nothing to campaign against tomorrow.