Democrat gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff believes that he is the cure for the “Otter fatigue” that is ailing Idaho. Balukoff chides Gov. Otter and the Republicans for being too close to special interests and business lobbyists.
It is surprising, then, to read the following on Balukoff’s campaign website, “The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry projects that businesses would profit from statewide Medicaid expansion.” As someone who touts his business experience, it is disturbing that Balukoff would gloss over the fact that the expansion relies entirely on federal money and largely targets childless, able-bodied adults.
Medicaid expansion would increase Idaho’s dependence on the federal government, a scary prospect given that the federal government is more than $17 trillion in debt.
The “Democrat Brand” is badly damaged in Idaho in part because it is associated with the national party and President Obama. However, Balukoff ought not to pretend that ideas like expanding Medicaid and simply shoveling more money into the public sector represent a departure from the tired thinking of Democrats everywhere.
Idaho Democrats need to make the case that they will not take the state in the direction of low-performing states run by their political brethren. Simply increasing spending, taxes and regulation produces long-term economic fatigue.