Monday, February 23, 2009

Forcing States

Good Stuff here at WSJ:

These Governors -- Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Butch Otter of Idaho, Rick Perry of Texas and Mark Sanford of South Carolina -- all have the same objection: The tens of billions of dollars of aid for health care, welfare and education will disappear in two years and leave states with no way to finance the expanded programs. Mr. Perry sent a letter to President Obama last week warning that Texas may refuse certain stimulus funds. "If this money expands entitlements, we will not accept it. This is exactly how addicts get hooked on drugs," he says.

I can't think of a more apt analogy. The Federal Government is our drug pusher and the people who have long depended on them, need their fix. This is the vicious cycle of government dependency.

Consider South Carolina. Its annual budget is roughly $7 billion and the stimulus will send about $2.8 billion to the state over two years. But to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars allocated to the likes of Head Start, child care subsidies and special education, the state will have to enroll thousands of new families into the programs. "There's no way politically we're going to be able to push people out of the program in two years when the federal money runs out," Mr. Sanford says.

Once a government program is introduced into the system there is almost no way to eliminate it. That is why the government has become the real life version of the movie, "The Blob."

For example, the stimulus bill temporarily increases the share of state Medicaid bills reimbursed by the federal government, but in 2011 almost all the $80 billion of extra federal Medicaid money disappears. the Democrats in Congress know that no state is going to just dump people when the money from the federal government runs out, so it's their sneaky way of making states pay for programs that that they themselves want.

The Democrats get millions more on the dole, and then come election time pat themselves on the back for being so benevolent with our money and ask those same people who are receiving their vote for them.

See how this works?

I suppose the Democrats in Congress saw that many Republican Governors would see this ruse, so they stuck in a little-noticed provision into the stimulus bill giving state legislatures the power to overrule Governors and spend the money "by means of the adoption of a concurrent resolution." Since legislatures are a lot like Congress, in that they simply adore spending our money, most of the Governors will be overruled.