This being October and my birth month, it’s the month not only for checking the batteries in your smoke detectors but also for me to check the expiration date on my drivers license and other various cards I carry. This year I needed to renew my drivers license. Which should not be a big deal. So, on Monday I collected what papers the drivers license people might ask for and headed on over to the Drivers License office. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I was informed that the office was closed for a one day furlough. I would have to come back tomorrow. At that moment I realized that I and the furloughed Drivers License clerk had become victims of the cry for smaller Government.
Part of the problem of the 2nd Great Depression is the loss of revenue to fund the workings of government. The loss of revenue at the Federal level has decreased the amount of money that is given to the states to help them balance their budgets. The states in turn cut employees as a way to make ends meet and when they do so they also cut services. What services get cut depends mostly on whose supporters are stronger in the state legislature. State employees usually end up getting the short end of the stick in these deals. Layoffs and furloughs fall more heavily upon them. Somehow it’s easier to short them rather than say, eliminating the bonus our legislators get when they don’t finish their work on time and the Assembly session has to be extended.
Here’s a novel idea! How about instead of cutting the much needed employees and services, we start at the federal level, cutting subsides for any business that has shown a profit in the last year. This could eliminate some of the shortfall of revenue due to depression job losses. The billions in oil and gas subsidies would go a long way in keeping citizen services open and functioning at their full capacity, especially when increased services for the poor and unemployed are vital precisely because of the depression. Had it not been for these safety programs, among them Medicaid and unemployment, there would have been breadlines like those of the Thirties in every city in America.
The cry for smaller Government is for the most part, an effort to weaken the Federal Government so businesses can carry on without an effectual oversight of how their operations might hurt the rest of us. It is also an effort to privatize functions of Government to try to squeeze a profit out of them. When this happens be prepared to pay more for these services as private business is not there to serve the citizens, not there to serve you, but is there for only one reason, to make a profit.