Paul Krugman once again calls out the idiocy of the short sighted fiscal conservatives who worship at the alter of a balanced budget, no matter the true cost to the economy or the social safety net.
No modern American president would repeat the fiscal mistake of 1932, in which the federal government tried to balance its budget in the face of a severe recession. The Obama administration will put deficit concerns on hold while it fights the economic crisis.
But even as Washington tries to rescue the economy, the nation will be reeling from the actions of 50 Herbert Hoovers — state governors who are slashing spending in a time of recession, often at the expense both of their most vulnerable constituents and of the nation’s economic future.
Sadly, Governor Gregoire, after all of her enlightened talk on the campaign trail, has cowardly decided to embrace her inner Herbert Hoover in order to please her political opponents, who, no doubt, will reward her with more smears and personal attacks.
Here are some of the highlights of Gregoire’s atrocious budget from the P-I:
HIGHER EDUCATION: Gov. Chris Gregoire proposes a $300 million reduction in higher education, including a 13 percent reduction for the state’s research and regional institutions. Raises for faculty and staff are suspended.
K-12 EDUCATION: Suspends nearly a quarter of the money from the voter-approved initiative to ensure smaller class sizes, and suspends the entirety of another initiative for cost-of-living raises for teachers.
PUBLIC SAFETY: Gregoire proposes eliminating the requirement to supervise misdemeanor criminals and low-risk felony offenders once they are released from prison, saving nearly $70 million. Sex offenders and violent criminals would still fall under supervision. She also proposes early release for elderly and ill criminals, and deporting noncitizens who have committed property or drug offenses.
HUMAN SERVICES: Gregoire suggests saving $160 million by eliminating grants to people in the General Assistance- Unemployable program. About 21,000 people, as well as 6,500 people in a program for alcoholism and drug addiction, would stop receiving assistance.
HEALTH CARE: Gregoire wants to continue providing access to health care for low-income residents, but is calling for a $252 million reduction in the state basic health plan, a 42 percent reduction. Medical coverage would also be eliminated for those in the General Assistance- Unemployable program, and the state would no longer buy vaccines for children not covered by Medicaid.
PUGET SOUND: Gregoire is seeking more than $284 million for Puget Sound recovery projects, including hatchery production and toxic prevention and cleanup. But she suggests closing 13 state parks.