Global Crisis Blog

America’s Hot Potato Deficit – Pass It On to Those Who Least Deserve It, Or Why You Must Never Die    in Virginia

By Shlomo Maital



The strength and beauty and compassion of a society is measured not by the brilliance and wealth of its strongest members, but by how it treats its weakest members – elderly, sick, handicapped, poor.  By that measure, America flunks.

    Everyone (including me) speaks of the U.S. federal budget deficit.  But one way the Feds have adopted to reduce and control the deficit is simply to pass it on, to the state governments.  According to the U.S. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the 50 state governments and District of Columbia have slashed spending by $430 b., laying off thousands of workers, paring benefits and pensions, hiked college tuition, slashed medical benefits and cutting education budgets.  They have had to do this because their revenues have been squeezed by the housing collapse, while Federal aid to the states has been cut.  The worst-off states, which are essentially bankrupt, are: California (deficit of 29.3% of spending, for 2012, meaning revenues fall short of spending by nearly a third),  Nevada (45.2 %),  New Jersey (37.4%), Oregon (25%), Texas (31.5%), and New York State (18.7%).  Only little Indiana, headed by Gov. Mitch Daniels, has a balanced budget. (Why don’t the other states benchmark his best-practice operation, that has made him a leading potential Republican candidate for President?).  

    The Federal budget pays for defense and interest payments, mainly.  The State budgets pay for public services.  So when the Feds squeeze the State budgets, the result is draconian cuts in services to all those segments of society who really need those services.   What is amazing is that it is the Republican Party that supports such drastic cuts, and the very people who suffer from them still vote, in large numbers, for that compassionless party!  Why?    

     According to the AARP Bulletin, many states are slashing child-care assistance.  Is this a just society, that dumps the burden of economic crisis onto children?  Virginia, not a poor state, is eliminating a fund that paid for funerals for those who had no money.  Good work, Virginia; just dump the bodies in the backyard.