After expressing some skepticism of Joe Biden earlier this week, let me demonstrate this blog's nonpartisanship and cast the same suspicious light on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The fact that she's not very well known, was announced as John McCain's pick just today, and has been governor of Alaska for not even two years means there's a vacuum of information around her, especially regarding her stances on business and entrepreneurship.
But maybe that makes it all the more distressing for people who like pro-entrepreneur policies that one of Palin's most significant acts as governor seems to have been propping up a failing state-owned enterprise that had lost over $700,000 in two years. I am sure this part of her record will be highly scrutinized in coming weeks, but at first glance it looks like typical special-interest politics. There's no doubt that state-run companies are not very good for your average entrepreneur, because they crowd out room in the market that could be going to more innovative and competitive players. Enterprises run by the state are not exactly known for their innovation and competition, but if you've read about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the newspaper recently, you know that.
I'll admit that Alaska is a unique state with notoriously weird politics. So this might not reflect what Palin would do should she find herself in the Oval Office (a very real possibility given Senator McCain's age). But the problem is that because McCain has selected someone with such relatively limited experience, we only have so much to go on when judging her record. When I look at that record and compare it with what she would have to deal with as president, I think that this system she supports of paying dairy farmers to produce sounds a heck of a lot like our federal farm subsidy programs. Those are policies that have been disastrous for entrepreneurs the world over.
I'm sure we will be able to make more definitive conclusions about Palin as more facts come in.