Friday, August 16, 2013

Stop tripping over dollars

    It is bizarre that an Incident 1 official managing the Beaver Creek Fire begins comments with, “Hopefully, we will get the resources we need,” while in Washington, talk is ramping up about shutting down the government. Wood River Valley residents would be left facing walls of flame with shovels and garden hoses.
    It is bizarre that Idaho’s legislators resist  federal funding for expansion of Medicaid as the Oct. 1 implementation of health insurance exchanges approaches, abandoning many of the state’s poorest citizens to overburdened and astronomically expensive emergency rooms for their health care, which forces Idaho businesses to pay the bills.
    It is bizarre that we have learned nothing from 1937, when economy recovery sputtered back into depression because conservatives, worried about rising levels of spending, cut off the federal spigot to programs such as the Works Progress Administration, which had put spending money in people’s pockets. The dams, bridges, roads and public buildings the WPA built decades ago continue to enrich America.
    Federal spending is not the same as personal household—or even local and state—spending. Sacrificing all federal government services on the altar of deficit reduction is, as the old saying goes, tripping over dollars to save nickels.

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