Sunday, January 31, 2010

Budget Freezes??

Did We Learn Nothing During the Depression?

Last week, the President announced that he was freezing discretionary funding except for defense, education and a bunch of other programs. First, I do not understand why the defense department is exempt, but second why do we need a freeze at this time? Didn't the current Fed Chair tell us that the Great Depression lasted longer than it needed to because government was not willing to take on debt in the early 1930s? We have only barely made it through this giant recession, and we are freezing the federal discretionary spending. It makes no sense.

The States all need help with massive budget deficits. Governor Strickland actually bragged that he has cut the state workforce by 5,000 in his State of the State address. How is this good? In a recession, we should not be cutting the public sector jobs. I get that it is an election year, and his opponents will run on small government and fiscal responsibility, but it does not make sense. The Republicans are always calling for a reduction in taxes and smaller taxes. This does not seem to be good fiscal policies right now. In good times, it makes sense to reduce taxes, but there have to be times to raise taxes or spend more money for government. Governor Strickland, there has to be times that we build roads and bridges or increase support for social services.

Now, the County transition group announced that they want a 15% reduction in spending to put more funds into economic development. This does not make any sense. How does cutting mental health services, treatment, human services by 15% in a time when there is increased demand make any sense? How much will economic development mean if families cannot find help with food or emergency assistance or help with a foreclosure? This whole push for a reduction in government at a time when our economy is so weak is cowardly and an ill advised course of action. It is like they are playing a game to win an election, while we slowly move away from the iceberg. They need to get together on a plan for the good of the country, and stop playing games. They need to come up with solutions to get us out of this mess together and stop thinking only about the next election.

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