We are witnessing an unprecedented economic crisis, the likes of which arguably we have not seen since the Great Depression.” So said Arun Raha, Washington States top economic forecaster, when he unveiled the ever-expanding budget deficit of $8.3 billion that is swallowing the states vital social programs and funding for education.
Washington State is not alone. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities predicts the combined budget shortfall for all 50 states could total upwards of $350 billion over the next 2.5 years!
In response to the economic crisis, declining tax revenues, and budget deficits, state and local governments from coast to coast have cut funding to Medicare and programs that provide healthcare to children, the elderly, and the disabled, child care (where it exists), and K-12 and higher education.
State and local governments (which are largely run by Democrats) are also laying off workers, freezing or cutting wages and benefits, and forcing workers to take unpaid time off even though they provide badly needed social services.
Meanwhile, the banks and Wall Street, who caused this crisis, have been bailed out with trillions of dollars! We get destructive cuts to healthcare, overcrowded and underfunded schools, unemployment, and an uncertain future, while enormously wealthy bank CEOs and Wall Street investors get bailout after bailout.
Our grandparents have to cut pills in half to make them last, while the bankers walk away with billions of dollars in bonuses after they drove the economy into the abyss. Our children and teachers suffer a broken education system, while Wall Street receives a blank check.
While its true that Obama has sent desperately needed funds to the states in the stimulus package, its not nearly enough to plug the holes in states budgets, and it pales in comparison to the enormous sums undemocratically handed over to the banks and Wall Street with virtually no strings attached.
Working people shouldnt be made to pay the price for a crisis created by the greed of the banks and Wall Street!