|
|
|
Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • 5% cut causes wailing, gnashing of teeth

  • So have you heard much lately about the dreaded and devastating sequester that was going to bring the nation to its fiscal knees? I hear bits and pieces here and there – usually about how they aren’t going to be able to paint some national park buildings or how some programs are going to be totally devastated.
    • email print
      Comment
  • So have you heard much lately about the dreaded and devastating sequester that was going to bring the nation to its fiscal knees? I hear bits and pieces here and there – usually about how they aren’t going to be able to paint some national park buildings or how some programs are going to be totally devastated.
    Well, the latest news story falls into the later category. Normally I don’t get to watch any of the big three left-leaning news programs but I just happened to see one the other day and they were interviewing people about the effects of the sequester on Head Start.
    The lady being interviewed said that her son was not going to be able to go to a summer program and she couldn’t afford child care. That meant that he was going to have to tag along with her on her job – she was a paid person who delivered Meals on Wheels. That’s good that she was able to do that but in this area volunteers normally deliver those meals but that’s probably another column sometime.
    According to the report, Head Start has an annual budget of $8 billion and they were going to get cut $400 million. That would be a reduction of 5 percent. But, the report went on to say that this particular program where this lady lived was going to slash employee salaries in half and lay off additional employees.
    Now anyone who knows anything about my academic career will tell you that I’m not much of a mathematician when it comes to higher math. But, for normal, everyday math I’m pretty darn good. So, I’m just a little baffled as to why they would have to resort to such draconian measures of slashing salaries by 50 percent and laying off staff to meet a 5 percent reduction.  
    I know that the program has a lot of components in its budget but I would assume that the largest part of the budget would be in staff costs so how does 5 percent translate into 50 percent salary cuts and firings? I wonder if the bureaucrats in Washington that head the program are being affected the same way?
    Surely this couldn’t be more scare tactics and well-placed cuts to get the most attention from the media and the public. Kind of like laying off air traffic controllers to impact air travelers and inconvenience the most people that they can.  
    As I’ve said many, many times in the past, the cuts we are talking about are most likely cuts in the amount of increase that most federal programs are receiving or have received in just the last few years. I may be wrong (it does happen) but I would bet that I’m right on this one.
    Page 2 of 2 - And, if a 5 percent cut causes such gnashing of teeth and wailing then what would happen if we ever really got serious about cutting the federal budget. I think that the IRS may get the opportunity to find out what it will take to operate on a budget that is actually reduced and not just slowed down. I have heard talks that Congress is most likely going to slash their budget – especially in light of the fact that they spent $50 million on training programs instead of hiring additional staff.  
    I fully understand and support the importance of training but there are ways to train efficiently and there are ways to waste money – like making Star Trek parody videos and putting top managers up in luxury suites. And, don’t forget that the IRS is going to want even more money next year since they are tasked with implementing and overseeing the ever-unpopular Obamacare program.
    So, back to the subject of sequestration. If we can’t even cut just 5 percent of a federal budget that has ballooned in the last five years without kicking and screaming then will we ever be able to curb runaway government spending?  
    If there is any good that could possibly come out of all the recent scandals it’s the fact that more and more people are finally waking up to the fact that the government has risen to new heights of intrusion and arrogance. People are now talking about the overreach of the federal government which may, just may, mean that more people will now be willing to accept less government spending as a new reality. I guess good things do sometimes come out of bad situations.
    Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.

        calendar