Budgets are more than just numbers
Let’s face it. It’s easy to complain about how many government employees there are, and how federal, state and county budgets need to be trimmed and payrolls cut.
But, don’t forget, plenty of people, including folks you know, earn their livelihoods through publicly-funded jobs and are helped by government programs.
A couple years ago, we moderated a political forum that included two candidates who spent the whole afternoon loudly calling for deep state and federal government cuts. Funny thing, they were both school teachers, and school systems are the biggest employers here and in many communities.
We couldn’t help but wonder if they were even aware that they had job security, health insurance, retirement and other benefits that workers in the private sector can no longer count on. They reminded us of those Social Security recipients who insist they don’t get a government check or Medicare beneficiaries who tell pollsters they don’t believe in government health insurance.
We’re very conscious of the fact that there is a tipping point, where those working in the private sector can no longer afford to pay the higher salaries and benefits of all those public employees.
We’ve earned the ire of some educators by pointing this out before.
But we also understand that without those public jobs, law enforcement, schools, road maintenance, all manner of public services — the very quality of life itself — would suffer, not to mention the general economy.
Perhaps those who want to swing the axe wildly at government budgets have forgotten the old saying, Be careful what you wish for.
Virtually every economist will tell you that righting the course is a balancing act between taxes and spending. Simply cutting spending or raising taxes won’t do the trick alone.
Like it or not, government is big because so many people rely on it. They just don’t like paying for it.