No, it really isn't that simple.

Posted: 15 September 2009 in civil rights, human rights, republicans

Pennsylvania is having one big old clusterfuck of a budget battle right now. It’s been going on for 11 weeks past the day that they’re legally required to have a budget in place. One of the local state reps around here had a call-in town hall to hear the vox populi. One of the callers said this:

I have to tighten my belt and others have to tighten their belts and the state should tighten its belt. If you have less revenue coming in, you should spend less.

Ok, that’s fine. How about this: You spend less on your mortgage, don’t get sick so you don’t have to pay healthcare expenses, cut back on your food budget by, say, not feeding one of your kids, and stop using your car to get to work so you don’t have to pay for gas and maintenance. You do that, and the state will start not spending money on the numerous services it is required by law or mandate to fund. Along with that, it will stop spending the required minimums to get matching federal dollars, meaning that those programs that people depend on will be getting two dollars less for every dollar the state cuts. Because it’s just not that simple.

The state has many more economic concerns than the average taxpayer. Using the “I SPEND LESS SO SHOULD THE STATE” model is just plain ignorant. Are there cuts that can be made to the states $28 billion budget? Sure, but that’s not counting the fact that required services like health care rose by far more than that, and now we’re looking at close to $30 billion. It is not, in any universe, as simple as “just spend less.”

There’s this level of absurdity flowing freely about the healthcare debate. At a bar in Colorado, a libertarian gave this response to Obama’s speech the other night, concerning requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions:

And the whole concept of insurance is that you get it before you become sick or before something happens to you. It’d be the equivalent of not having any car insurance, hitting a tree and then calling Geico and saying that you want to sign up. It doesn’t make sense.

Yeah, it’s just like that! Except, when you run your car into a tree, you go to the body shop to have it fixed. If you’ve got insurance, they pay. If not, you pay. If you can’t pay, you don’t go to the body shop, and you walk. When you run yourself into a tree, you go to the emergency room. If you have insurance, they pay. If you don’t have insurance, you pay. If you can’t pay, the doctor still treats you because he’s legally required to, and then the costs get moved down the line, where it eventually becomes my problem. Also, the last time I checked, hitting a tree is slightly different from cancer. Lost your job because you were too sick to work? Lost your insurance because you lost your job? Trying to get new insurance? Too bad you hit that tree.

  1. Hitting a tree is just like getting cancer. You know, except for the chemo and the death.

    I live in PA, too, and for the past 3 months, I’ve been trying to get my boss’ EZpass straightened out. No luck. As it turns out, state workers are getting screwed by the no budget thing, and that makes them a tad . . . surly.

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