A Rich Lesson in Government Finances from Gregg
The article’s a few days old, but one comment from writer Katherine Gregg yields too rich of a lesson for Governor Carcieri not to highlight:
How did we get to this point? Despite orders to cut spending, some state administrators simply couldn’t bring themselves to do it. And state lawmakers seemed content to accept the Carcieri administration’s promise of millions in unspecified cuts, rather than demand the kinds of emergency cutbacks in state-subsidized Medicaid programs, municipal aid, layoffs and government shutdown days that might have worked.
Yes, anybody who’s followed the headlines for the past nine or so months can attest that every difficult decision made in the course of trimming our overgrown government brings indignation and media coverage painting the pruners as perpetrators, and here we are with a post facto instruction that such steps “might have worked.” And no, going in the other direction — making the tough decisions in order to save the budget — probably won’t produce post facto statements about doing what we had to do.
The lesson: hack away, because if one pays attention to the vested interests, the invested politicians, and the local media, becoming the fall guy for calamity is the likely result. The people of the state understand, though, and strong action will win them over.