Erick-Woods Erickson from RedState.com examines the catch-22 that local governments find themselves trapped in as the public sector balloons and the small town governments are left footing the bill. And to see Glenn lay out what happened to our economy and the solutions to get it going again, be sure to check out Broke: Restarting the Engine of America this Thursday, December, 2nd at a theater near you.
In 2009, Democrats passed the Obama stimulus plan to heal the American economy. On February 9, 2009, Barack Obama said, “More than 90 percent of the jobs created by this plan will be in the private sector.” Unfortunately for him, the White House’s house organ, the New York Times, reported on November 4, 2009, “Although President Obama initially said that 90 percent of the jobs created by the stimulus program would be in the private sector, the data suggests that well over half of the jobs claimed so far have been in the public sector.”
Being a city councilman in Macon, Georgia, I know first hand how the stimulus plan amounts to nothing more than trickle down bankruptcy.
Last year, the City Council of Macon, Georgia, along with communities across the nation, was presented with money from the Obama stimulus plan to hire close to a dozen new police officers. There was a catch. The city had to continue paying these police officers for several years after the money ran out or pay all the money back.
It presented a classic no-win situation for the city. Voting against hiring the officers in the middle of a crime wave would be a tough vote for any councilman. Voting for the new officers, however, would be an equally tough vote. The city was in the midst of laying off existing employees and cutting benefits. To hire these officers, the city would have to come up with money it did not have to ensure the city could keep paying the police officers once the federal money ran out.
Only two of us voted against hiring the police officers — myself and the Chairman of the city’s Appropriations Committee. There’ll be an election next year and finding the money to keep paying the officers will be someone else’s problem. If the money can’t be found, taxes will have to be raised.
This is typical of how both parties have operated over the years and, in particular, how this administration has operated. Consider that the federal payroll has only increased by roughly 200,000 people since 1960. Taking inflation and population growth into account, that is actually a pretty insignificant increase in employees.
At the same time, state and local payrolls have had to balloon to hire bureaucrats whose jobs are focused solely on compliance with federal programs. It becomes a catch 22 — if the states and municipalities do not go along with federal demands, the federal money does not flow for crime prevention, education, health care, and roads. If states and municipalities do comply, their overhead costs go up.
The question no one wants to ask is “why?” Why should the federal government be funding education programs or local roads programs? Certainly the feds have done so for years, but why should they? Some would argue the states do not have the resources. But if the feds were not paying for these things, the costs of the federal government could go down, federal taxes could be cut, and states could either raise their own taxes or innovate their way out of the problem.
As the federal government trickles bankruptcy down to the states and local governments, the nation will keep doing as it has always done without a reassessment regarding whether it should continue the same old approach.
Eventually, another bailout of the states will have to occur as the feds continue offloading their overhead to states. And the cycle will continue.