Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Waking Up From the Stimulus Pipe Dream

The Tennessean has begun publishing the stories of those who could be impacted by State budget cuts as our budget deficit begins to drag us deeper and deeper into a collective financial hole:

Two months after declaring that the federal stimulus plan had saved the state from taking drastic measures to balance the budget, state officials now say hiring freezes, layoffs and deep cuts may be needed after all to deal with a sharp decline in tax receipts.

The shortfall will force the state to draw deep from the financial reserves that it built up earlier in this decade, officials say. But it also will mean speeding up cuts — possibly even to programs such as mental health, mental disability and children's services — that officials had hoped to phase in gradually over the next few years.

The cuts could mean sharp reductions to services like the state-paid personal assistants who help [Diane] Lara take care of her 17-year-old daughter, Megan, and her 10-year-old son, Nickolas.

First of all, let me clarify something for certain liberal ignoramuses whose first line of argument is "you just don't understand the impact of these cuts." I understand far more than most people who will make that argument because I have lived my entire life with cerebral palsy (I won't say that I "suffer" from it because I have had it essentially from birth and I haven't known a life without it, unlike some with disabilities that they haven't always had. I am not in a state of suffering.) and I do know how cuts in services can impact people with disabilities and those who care for them. I have a level of firsthand knowledge that most of our legislators simply wouldn't understand, so the whole "you don't understand" argument is moot. Trust me, I get it in a very big way.

I submit that it is our Governor, and even previous General Assemblies who have done the greatest disservice to people like Ms. Lara and her autistic children. Why? They have simply refused to confront the possibility of a budget trainwreck which was predicted in this very space almost two years ago. Those in the Legislature, as well as those of us who actively cover and follow Tennessee politics, could all see this coming (Ms. Lara and those like her didn't have the time to see it coming). When people warned of it they were brushed aside, while the Governor implimented new taxes which he knew were not going to enhance revenues.

Then Governor Bredesen told us all that the federal "stimulus" was going to be the panacea which solved all of our budget problems. Why he wouldn't even have to lay anyone off! So the Governor delayed presenting the budget this year, and continues to delay it, presumably so that he can exact what he wants out of a tired General Assembly. Now we learn that the stimulus will save us from precisely-nothing, just as Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey said a few weeks ago and was castigated for in the press.

If the Governor had been willing to make the cuts necessary two years ago, or even last year, to keep our State budget from nearly collapsing, many of the more severe cuts could have been phased in over time, and some programs-like those which help Ms. Lara's family, may not have needed cutting because the fat was trimmed appropriately from other agencies and the State was able to prioritize. In reality, everyone played the game of "don't cut me off, my piece of the pie is more important than their piece. Cut them but not me."

Instead, the Governor chose to believe the twin fairy tales that increasing consumption sin tax was going to somehow increase revenue, and then this year that our fairy Barack-mother was going to save us all. Now the executive branch is waking up from that pipe dream.

Meanwhile, families who truly do need help, like Diane Lara's, are going to be the ones to suffer because Prince Phillip didn't plan ahead.

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At Tuesday, May 26, 2009 7:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At Tuesday, May 26, 2009 10:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there was only some way we could search back in time to see what Phil Bredesen actually had to say about the stimulus funds - some way to figure out if Dave's interpretation of Governor Bredesen's words and actions was correct or just his usual bullshit. Wait, I've heard of this thing called "the Google". Let's check the facts - OK, once again Dave is simply full of shit, but we all could have guessed that. Dave is always WRONG!

A simple Googling of "Bredesen" and "stimulus funds" turns up nothing like Dave cites. In fact, Bredesen constantly states that the stimulus funds only delay the inevitable cuts that are coming in state services. They did help save some positions and reduce tuition increases, but Bredesen was very cleat that cuts were coming in the budget. Dave, you are an idiot and a consistently wrong one at that.

Throughout the past few years, there have been attempts to discuss the consistent budget shortfalls the state is incurring, but the idiot horn-honkers like Dave Oatney have prevented a real discussion of revenue and spending reform in the state. People like Dave want the government to spend on them, but demand drastic budget cuts in programs that don't affect them personally. Ever notice that for all the idiotic bitching Oatney does, he never once offers any kind of solution? Where are the suggestions now? Oatney suggests that Bredesen should have made cuts in the budget 2 years ago, but offers no reason why, or what he would have cut. Where, Dave, is all of this "fat" in the budget that can be cut with such ease? Since your beloved Republics are in charge of the legislature, i'm sure they'll have no problem bringing in a budget that produces a surplus for the state.

On the other hand, every Republic politician and voter I've ever known has been of the same intellectual caliber as Dave Oatney, so I'm sure there is a total and complete fuck-up coming down the road.


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