In the Grand Forks Herald today House Majority Leader Al Carlson, and Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, have a column outlining what they see as the highlights of the 2013 legislative session.
It’s a little hard to read, what with the championing of phony-baloney property tax relief and aggressive spending, but this passage in particular made me cringe:
For those who might think Republican legislators do not care about people, consider this: The North Dakota Human Services budget for the next biennium will exceed $2.7 billion. We increased funding for programs that help better provide for our veterans, seniors, children and the disabled. We extended Medicaid coverage to more than 24,000 additional low-income families.
And this Legislature created new programs to make child care more available and affordable.
So that’s how we’re measuring compassion now? That’s how we’re measuring how much we care about our fellow man? By how much money we spend? I guess this sort of compassion is easy when you’re spending other people’s money.
There a solid grounds upon which to question the rapid expansion of the Human Services budget. At a time when North Dakota is perhaps more prosperous than any other time in history, our budget for welfare and other social services continues to explode. It grows in bad times and it grows in good times.
You’d think Republicans, of all people, would show at least a little bit of skepticism about that growth.
And the expansion of Medicaid? The legislature has put us on a short road to an expensive health care quagmire by agreeing to that expansion as requested in the Obamacare legislation, despite the US Supreme Court granting states the choice of opting out (something the State of North Dakota fought for in the courts).
Now it’s a bullet-point on a list of legislative achievements?
Democrats and their allies in the state’s editorial boards gripe a lot about the Republican supermajority, but behind the scenes they have to be snickering at the hapless Republicans advancing their agenda for them.