Sarah Palin and the Bridge to Nowhere

Garey Ramey, an economist at UCSD, has provided some very helpful context concerning Sarah Palin’s role in the funding controversy over the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere.” I recommend that you check it out. To summarize,

(1) Congress reversed its decision to earmark funds for the Bridge, but funds were still allocated under Alaska’s state budget. Rather than seek federal and state funds for the bridge, Palin zeroed out the project over the objections of many powerful and influential Alaska Republicans.

(2) Federal funding represented only a small portion of the funding for the bridge — in truth, termination of funding for the bridge was first and foremost (gasp) a move that benefited Alaska’s own taxpayers, though it’s certainly true that the federal funds will now go to other, hopefully worthier projects.

(3) And Palin has worked to limit earmark requests for Alaska — total requested funding has fallen from $550 million to $200 million, which hardly seems trivial.

So will we stop hearing that Palin “lied” about the Bridge to Nowhere? I’m guessing we won’t.

Compare Ramey’s analysis to the facts selectively cited in this AP story, which, amusingly, cites the earmark requests made in Palin’s first year in office, before she had an opportunity to sharply reduce requested funding.

I like the idea of Republicans criticize President Obama on Day 12 of his Administration for the fact that U.S. forces are mired in military quagmires. Actually, I’m pretty sure some Republicans will be happy to do exactly that.