As the mainstream media fixates on the black gold washing up on the beaches of the Gulf Coast, the rest of the United States is quietly drowning in Red Ink.
Illinois is facing a $13 billion deficit for the upcoming fiscal year (roughly half of the state's operating budget), and it is just one of many states facing financial problems:
- "[Thirty-two] states have run out funds to make unemployment benefit payments and that the federal government has been supplying these states with funds so that they can make theirpayments to the unemployed. In some cases, states have borrowed billions."-- EconomicPolicyJournal.com, 5/21/10
- "Over the last two years, at least 45 states have slashed health, education and low-income assistance programs; 30 raised regressive sales taxes and fees; and 42 cut their payrolls through layoffs, unpaid leaves (furloughs) and hiring freezes. Since August 2008, state and local governments eliminated 192,000 jobs."-- WSWS.org, 5/21/10
Bob Herbert of the NY Times sums it up:
"A story that is not getting nearly enough attention is the ruinous fiscal meltdown occurring in state after state, all across the country. Taxes are being raised. Draconian cuts in services are being made. Public employees are being fired. The tissue-thin national economic recovery is being undermined. And in many cases, the most vulnerable populations--the sick, the elderly, the young and the poor--are getting badly hurt."--3/20/10
How did we get into such a predicament?
No"it is not because the terrorists attacked us; or because Obama is a Kenya-born card-carrying communist bent on destroying America; or any of the other conspiracy theories that Glenn Beck scrawls across his blackboard daily. "but it is a conspiracy, and it has been going on for thirty years.
- "Back in the 70s a Republican strategist [and Reagan advisor] named Jude Wanniski came up with what he called the two Santa Claus theory: when Republican are in power they should cut taxes, spend like drunken sailors and put it all on the national credit card--without ever mentioning a word about the deficit they were creating. This allows Republicans to be the tax cutting Santa Claus and the spending/stimulus Santa Claus."--Thom Hartmann, progressive radio host and author, 6/1/10