Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Heavy Rains In San Francisco While Alaska Hit By Unnatural Disaster As Dunleavy Reveals Budget

From Accu Weather:
"Atmospheric river to fuel torrential rain in California"

It was raining steadily, but not terribly hard as we caught the bus to the CalTrain station this afternoon to visit good friends who live a little south of SF.

But the disaster happening in Alaska is totally man-made.  The ads promised a balanced budget and Permanent Fund Dividends forever.  They were paid for, in large,  by candidate Dunleavy's brother.  And the people who vote based on such ads and party identification - but ignore any kind of obvious signs, like the ones I saw at the special hearings set to pass Erin's Law.  

The Alaska state budget is a daunting document.  While I acknowledge that it is complicated, often the people preparing a budget have a vested interest in making it as confusing as possible.  Terms aren't clearly explained or the explanation is hard to find, especially online.  The lists of budget terms online like this one and this one don't explain all the terms and acronyms used in the budget.

Quantities aren't always clarified - like how many zeros you need to add to the numbers in columns to get the actual number.  Often people hide things they don't want people to discover - like funding for a pet project or removal of funding from an agency.

And there are different types of budgets.  Operating and Capital Budgets for instance.  But also Unrestricted General Fund That's all preface to the next item.


Note:  I'm not even sure what LF means on this page GF is General Fund.  Unrestricted means the funds are restricted to a specific use.  This page comes from here.  But at the State's Budget page you can find a whole slew of different takes on the budget.

I've just highlighted the education parts of the budget.  Despite the fact that Dunleavy taught in public schools in rural Alaska as well as being principal and a superintendent, this budget show total disdain for public schooling.  That was already clear when he talked about 'parental rights' at the Erin's Law hearings.  The parental right movement is related to the father's rights movement.  It's also connected to the home-schooling movement.  There's a touch of anti-government and a tough of fundamentalist religion and a touch of so called 'traditional family values.'  And it was clear to me back in 2012 that Dunleavy would try to cut public schooling if he were in a position to do it.  (Let me say that like in any group that forms, there are people with legitimate issues about how they were treated.  But a number of movements are really protests against losing power they once had - like men's power over their wives has eroded quite a bit over the last 100 years.  See this article on father's rights groups.
"The fathers’ rights movement is defined by the claim that fathers are deprived of their ‘rights’ and subjected to systematic discrimination as fathers and as men, in a system biased towards women and dominated by feminists. Fathers’ rights groups overlap with men’s rights groups and both represent an organised backlash to feminism. Fathers’ rights groups can be seen as the anti-feminist wing of a range of men’s and fathers’ groups which have emerged in recent years, in the context of profound shifts in gender, intimate and familial relations over the past four decades (Flood, 2010). While fathers’ rights groups share common themes, there are also diversities in their degree of opposition to feminism, their involvements in political advocacy, their reliance on Christian frameworks, and so on.Three experiences in particular bring men into the fathers’ rights movement. Painful experiences of divorce and separation, as well as accompanying experiences of family law and the loss of contact with one’s children, produce a steady stream of men who can be recruited into fathers’ rights groups"
And here's a piece on parental rights from a Home School website.

I offer those links, not as 'proof' or as an exhaustive review of the topic, but just as an appetizer to become more aware of the code words 'parental rights' which sounds very reasonable on the surface.  I think the link to the Home Schooling movement helps predict this budget.

The other issue that people have raised with this budget is the 'visiting budget director' as Dermot Cole dubbed Donna Arduin.  I haven't done adequate research on her, so for the time being, you can look at this (Sarasota) Herald-Examiner article form 2014 that reviews her run as a Libertarian 'expert' budget slasher, whose budget analyses are regularly debunked by real economists.

Sometimes being in Alaska and late on Lower 48 trends is a good thing.  We can learn from others' experiences.  Here's hoping that Alaskans will figure out really quick what we've done by electing Dunleavy before too much damage is done. Here's hoping we can learn from what's happened in Kansas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Wisconsin, and elsewhere.  [UPDATE Feb 14, 2019:  I added Kansas and links for a little more background about those states' outcomes of cutting taxes and government.]

Hopefully, those who blindly believed Dunleavy's promises to get people all their back PFD checks AND balance the budget without any new revenues, will realize it was all a scam before the state infrastructure for schools and health and safety are destroyed.  Perhaps the people who are now finding out that those tax rebates Trump promised are not really coming, will transfer that awareness to what Dunleavy is trying to pull off.

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