And that’s kind of by design. “I think this is a plan,” Young told the crowd.
He said he thinks President Barack Obama wants federal budget cuts mandated if Congress doesn’t strike a deal to be painful so voters will blame the House of Representatives. That way the mid-term elections the majority will flip, putting both houses of Congress in the hands of Democrats. And if that happens? Socialism, Young said.
“The government will tell you when to be born, who to be born to, what to eat,” Young said, before adding the government also will control citizen’s education, the medical care they get and when they die.
But, he said, if the House takes the blame it would be an injustice because it’s the Senate’s fault.
“If in fact the Senate had passed a budget we wouldn’t be here,” he said. “But the Senate has not passed a budget in four years because they don’t want to make the tough decisions.”
Young also discussed transportation funding at the chamber meeting, a subject that has long been among his favorites.
“The transportation trust fund is going broke,” he said. “I want to raise the gas tax.”
He said people object to that idea, but he believes it’s necessary.
“Somebody’s got to pay for the roads,” Young said.
And with the debt and deficits, Congress isn’t going to pay for roads from general fund revenues.
He said the tax doesn’t have to be borne equally. It could be tied to how much a person drives. Young said he’s heard objections that such a system would be a nightmare to implement. He doesn’t think it would be. Cellphones are the solution. They already track people.
“You’re being watched by Uncle Sam right now,” he told audience members with cellphones. “He knows right where you are, probably knows what you’re eating. Do I like it? No, but that’s modern technology.”
Asked what his priorities are this year, he said one thing he’s working on is a bill to transfer federal lands to state management if the state makes such a request.
Specifically, he talked about the Yukon Charlie Rivers National Preserve and how the park is managed for outsiders, not for Alaskans. He said he believes that under state management that would change.
“It may not go anywhere, but at least we can start talking about the mismanagement of federal lands,” Young said.
He also reiterated his oft-stated position that he is in favor of federal earmarks, juxtaposing earmarks with appropriations done by bureaucrats.
“I’m for earmarks and by God I’ll tell you why I’m for earmarks. I, at least, am elected,” he said.
Young many times mentioned his age — he’s closing in on 80 — but said he still believes he’s the right man for the job and will run for office as long as he still thinks that.
He said he loves fighting for Alaska and still has some fight left in him. He joked that he’d told a general that he wanted to create and join a “senior corps” to go to Afghanistan and fight.
“I can out-shoot about 98 percent of your troops,” Young remembered telling him. “Just let me go hunting.”
He said his rules of engagement would be “if it moves it dies.”
Maybe he can’t do everything the younger troops do and maybe he’d be in danger.
“But rather me than some young person who has his life ahead of him,” Young said.