All the talk in D.C. and in state congressional houses has been about budgets and how to fix them. To no one’s surprise, GOP’s answer to solving the issue is tocut, cut, cut anything and everything they consider to be socialism (you know that whole “small government” thing), i.e., Medicare, Social Security, education funding, unemployment benefits. The Democrats (in that bang your head against a wall way) want to compromise, AGAIN.
I have written many posts on this subject, but in my research on this, I discovered just what lengths Republican-controlled state governments are going in order to tackle their budget woes (Starve the Beast at its best). In many states, under the guise of fixing the budget, they have been slashing programs that many poor and working class as well as the chronically unemployed depend on. The level at which they have gone continue to surprise me (remember this is the same party that runs on Christian values). Here are a few examples.
Texas Governor Rick Perry and his Tea Party pals have pushed for the deepest cuts in the nation—$23 billion, or one-fourth of current spending levels—while carrying on their tax-shedding frenzy, paying special attention to the need for tax relief among luxury yacht owners (yes, luxury yacht owners). Some of the deepest cuts in the country are spending cuts to public schools, already among the nation’s most poorly funded, could mean some 100,000 teacher layoffs, pre-K programs decimated and schools closed. Huge cuts to Medicaid could push an estimated 60,000 senior citizens out of their nursing homes.
Florida Governor Rick Scott is conducting a similar experiment, having decided that the best path to solvency for the state, which faces a $3.6 billion deficit, is trimming taxes and reducing the burden on employers imposed by unemployment insurance, a drastic reduction in unemployment benefits, which already rank forty-sixth in the nation in a state with 11.1 percent unemployment, the third-highest in the country.
We all know the Scott Walker story in Wisconsin.
Ohio Govenor John Kasich and the Republican controlled state government have resorted to making huge cuts to public services, what some have dubbed the “Slash, Seize and Sell Budget” slashes services; seizes revenue from local governments, libraries and schools; and sells public assets, including five prisons and the liquor distribution business, eliminating long-term revenue sources and reducing public control over vital public functions. The cuts to services used by low- and middle-income families are extraordinary, including an apparent $1.4 billion reduction in Medicaid, the K–12 cuts and a $1 billion cut to local governments (a mind-boggling 50 percent chop in the second year).