As Predicted, Irresponsible States Stay Irresponsible, Lobby for Stimulus II

Piggybacking onto Nick Gillespie's post below about the still-fattening state sector vs. the rest of us, you may have seen scare-headlines about California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger threatening to euthanize cripples on live television unless he gets a second bailout:

If Washington does not provide roughly $8 billion in new aid for the state, the governor threatens to severely cut back -- if not eliminate -- CalWORKS, the state's main welfare program; the In-Home Health Care Services program for the disabled and elderly poor, and two tax breaks for large corporations recently approved by the Legislature, the officials said.

Missing from both that story and others like it are these non-irrelevant numbers: What was the state payroll in crisis-wracked 2009, compared to 2008? Recall that in mid-year, after California voters bitch-slapped the state's political class over the Last Great Budget Fix, the governor was only then proposing a staffing cut of 2 percent.

As both Michael Barone and Business Week's Joe Mysak have detailed this week, statehouse talk of "draconian" payroll cuts should forever be taken with entire rocks of salt. Here's Mysak:

Any expectation that state and local governments would use the worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression to reduce their biggest expenditures is proving to be wishful thinking. [...]

The states have raised taxes and fees, cut programs and services, sold property, borrowed money, raided rainy-day funds, tapped emergency money provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, according to the National Governors Association and National Association of State Budget Officers -- and cut a quarter of 1 percent of those on the payroll. [...]

Politicians everywhere are talking about layoffs, of course. They have been talking about eliminating jobs, often in threatening tones, since at least January. As the numbers show, for most, it's just talk.

Other cheery California headlines? How about "State spends big on prison health temps," and "Pension crisis about to hit cities and counties"?

And while we're at it, two of our pre-emptive I-told-you-so cover stories from 2009: "Failed States," and "The Next Catastrophe."

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  • P B||

    Same old same old. If we don't raise taxes we will have to cut funding for schools, police, fire, aid for the poor children, single mothers, blah blah blah.
    Too bad it is not we are going to stop pissing away your money on brother-in-law jobs.

  • Some Guy||

    I'm absolutely shocked to find that their payroll didn't go up.

  • healthscarequotes||

    Call me crazy, but I don't think we killed the right Arnold in The 6th Day.

  • ||

    I think you may well be onto something here dude. This makes good sense to me.

    Jess
    www.invisibility-tools.pl.tc

  • ||

    and cut a quarter of 1 percent of those on the payroll

    Hey, in California, that's probably a significant amount of people considering how many scumbags are employed by the state.

    Not that it's significant in any way, shape, or form, though.

  • ||

    Will California "furlough" the people who drive around looking for smoking chimneys?

    That's an essential public service.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    I've always foound it amusing that so many liberals think there is something extradordinarily "special" about public sector jobs that make them so much more important and worthy of saving vs private sector employment.

  • CTHORM@IBIS||

    Well, they aren't motivated by greed man. It's all about the hope and change and altruism. For the love of the Earth and your fellow Man, man.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Oh yeah, I forgot.

    The basic laws of human nature are explicitly altered by magic when one accepts public sector employment.

  • KT||

    I'm confused. Did Schwartzenneger threaten via TV to kill cripples or is he going to execute cripples live on TV?

  • Mike M.||

    ...the governor threatens to severely cut back -- if not eliminate -- CalWORKS, the state's main welfare program; the In-Home Health Care Services program for the disabled and elderly poor, and two tax breaks for large corporations recently approved by the Legislature, the officials said.

    I'm not seeing the downside, someone help me out here.

  • ||

    You might want to read this article about the relationship between the level of happiness people feel and the level of taxes they pay.

    here

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