Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Wrong Way

In the midst of it's horrific budget crisis, the state of California today announced that it will soon be forced to pay it's creditors with IOU's.

I've followed the California crisis only tangentially, but I've been more than a bit disappointed with the political response. As reported by the Times, the state plans on cutting health insurance for poor children, the state's main welfare program, and college financial aid. This is the wrong way to go, particularly for Republicans. Not only does it play into the stereotype that Republicans don't care about the poor and downtrodden, but it does little to actually reduce the scope of California's government which is the state's largest problem.

As a conservative, liberal, or libertarian, why should cutting programs to the poor be the first response? In local government, proposed budget cuts are usually directed at "essential" services, but be it state, local, or federal, budget cuts are rarely directed at the bureaucratic infrastructure. Why not cut consumer protection, environmental protection, or any one of the other big agencies that eats up tax dollars with a big mission and even bigger salaries? What political ideology honestly tells us that employing X number of people in an environmental protection department is more of an imperative than emergency services or programs for the poor? Yet that's precisely the message we get from government, regardless of party and regardless of ideology.


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