Slaughterhouse ’10: The Gutting of State and Local Government

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* Les Leopold Huffington Post *

The Jeffersonian anti-federalists feared that a strong national government would lead our fledgling nation back towards monarchy. Instead they wanted government closer to the people where it would better serve their interests rather than interests of the moneyed merchants and traders.

That not good enough for Tea Party and other conservative activists today: They’re against all government, at all levels. They don’t want government to provide much of anything except maybe a vast military industrial complex. But public schools, environmental protection, social services for low and moderate income people? Fugetaboutit!

The Wall Street-led crash has created the perfect climate for this crusade to eviscerate the public sector, especially at the state and local level. It’s ugly and getting uglier.

With 29 million American unemployed or forced into part-time jobs, tax receipts have plummeted more steeply than any time since the Great Depression. State and local governments are slashing their services–at the very moment when people most desperately need them. This is the very definition of a fiscal crisis.

In a saner world it would be obvious to everyone that state and local governments are not to blame for this mess. They didn’t cause the Great Recession–Wall Street did. And if you can’t see that, then you’re enveloped in an ideological cloud so thick that no facts can penetrate. Even Alan Greenspan, the life-long anti-government libertarian, has confessed that under his watch as Fed chair, Wall Street ran wild, touching off a global economic calamity. So let’s not argue about this any more.

Read more at Huffington Post

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