Monday, March 8, 2010

From A Torrent To A Trickle: North Dakota Should Expect Less Federal Dollars In The Future

Byron Dorgan is leaving the Senate. When that happens, North Dakotans should expect to see a sharp decrease in the amount of federal dollars funnelled to the state.
In its annual report, Taxpayers for Common Sense attributes North Dakota’s continually high ranking to the level of influence its Democratic congressional delegation wields.

Dorgan is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Water and Energy Development. In that position, Dorgan has secured millions of dollars for state projects including flood protection, rural water development and university research.
So North Dakota is a national leader in sucking at the government teat. Yippee. I realize that trumpeting how much federal tax dollars you bring to the state coffers is a point of pride for politicians. It's expected from a dishearteningly large percentage of the population. Dorgan's replacement is not going to be in a position to siphon anywhere near the numbers he could. Dorgan was so "successful" that he eclipsed another North Dakota representative, Earl Pomeroy, who was credited with only $200,000 in individual earmarks. In defending his record while brushing aside tranparency concerns raised by the group Taxpayers for Common Sense, Dorgan said:
“The reason they call them earmarks is to implicitly to suggest that they are unworthy, and that’s simply not the case,” Dorgan said. “These are wonderful investments in North Dakota’s future. … Part of them are investments we are owed, and part of them deal with flood control and building jobs.

“If they don’t think those are wise investments, then we have a real disagreement,” he said.
Which is a wonderfully obtuse way of knocking down a strawman. The call for transparency from Taxpayers for Common Sense doesn't mean it thinks the investments are unwise. Of course, there's a lot more money coming to the state in the form of farm bills and other programs. Those get left out in all the talk about "flood control" and "building jobs". What Dorgan should be asking is, if we are "owed" so much money by the federal government, why are they taking so much from us in the first place? In the long run this means that the percentage of the bloated federal budget pie that gets sent back to North Dakota will be smaller. From that standpoint I understand the allure of having an old hand in the Senate. But shouldn't the goal be to reduce the pie?

(Crossposted from Say Anything)

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I was looking forward and didn’t expect to see it so soon! Again, great, sound advice. Looking forward to read more under those new tabs you added!