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Where are they?

So, look. I don’t get macroeconomics, and for all I bleat about it, I can’t say I really get national politics, either. But where are the Governors? Here in the Nutmeg State, the Land of Steady Habits, our illustrious Governor has come out with a brutal budget, and the towns are coming out with brutal budgets as well, because it’s a brutal time. And as a brutal time, brutal budgets are going to feel particularly brutal—Left Blogovia has been hocking about public transportation cuts just at the time when people can’t afford alternatives. My own home town is considering (or talking about considering) cutting back to half-day kindergarten, purely as a cost-cutting measure, which of course will add day care costs onto the burden many of us are sweating.

Meanwhile, our Federal Legislators are considering a stimulus bill that started moderately large and is being whittled down—and much of the whittling is being whittled out of aid to State and Municipal budgets. And where are the Governors? And the big-city Mayors? Why aren’t they on television Sunday morning and on my radio in the afternoon saying We’re doomed! Doooooooomed!

OK, my own Governor is a Republican, and presumably has little interest in getting this recovery bill passed. But there are lots of Democratic governors, aren’t there? And Mayors? Who can talk about the libraries they will have to close, the roads that they won’t be able to resurface, the kindergarten schedule they will cut, the bus stops that won’t have buses, the homeless shelters, the help lines that will go to answering machines, the DMV offices that will cut hours or staff, the job agencies that will be laying off staff, all of that stuff, particularly on the kind of street level thing that people don’t think about.

To take me and my town, off the top of my head, in addition to this kindergarten business, there’s the project to replace the traffic lights with some sort of futuristic LED or something that will cut the electricity budget by twenty thousand dollars a year or something, but the money has to be put out up front, and this isn’t the time. There are the swimming pools; I expect the hours for those will be cut, or the season, or both, and the fees will go up, almost certainly past the point we are willing to pay for a season pass. We already have surprisingly few field trips in the schools, we may have fewer next year, despite being located near the state Capitol, an Opera House, a good symphony, an excellent regional theater, the Mark Twain House, the Noah Webster House, and the Wadsworth Atheneum. All of which (including the Capitol, viewed as a historical/cultural destination) will undoubtedly be tightening their budgets for next year. The branch libraries will be closed on Sundays this summer, I expect, so we will have to find some other sort of activity. Free activity. The Elmwood Center will have, at a guess, fewer classes, and more expensive ones; my Perfect Non-Reader may not get to the Cheerleader Day Camp she wants this summer. Parking will get more expensive, as will, probably, permits of various kinds; if we had budgeted to get the work done on the house this summer, we would have to rebudget, I suspect. The bus system, already terrible. The budget for detailing police to help with traffic problems, conceivably; that could get ugly. The general budget for police, particularly for traffic calming but also for general patrolwork.

And I live in an affluent suburb.

Yes, we screwed up by not investing as heavily as we might have done when the money was good, but I think our situation is fairly typical. And our town can appeal to the State for help, but the State is broke. And both the town and the State are prevented, structurally, from borrowing heavily either to spur economic activity or to alleviate its citizens misery. Which leaves the Feds.

So, if I were managing the passage of this package through the Senate, I would have every Governor I could get onto as many screens and speakers as possible, talking about how this and that could be done, if only the bastards on the Hill would get off their asses and vote.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


it's a mind-blowing situation. my gut instant answer is this is the end result of years of economic morality play bullshit. public services as act of charity.

see note.

C-note? That, I'll take.


let's just say my funny money has a dry wit.

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