The focus of the hundreds of "Tea Partys" held across America on Wednesday was largely on bad government policies like bailouts of companies that deserve to fail and the massive debt being taken on to protect the political and economic establishment from the necessary reforms that need to be made in order to ensure our success in this cyber-age. But some attention was paid to the gross incompetence on the state level, as evidenced by this sign at the Springfield rally photographed by Bill Dusty.
Now an article in Reason magazine reveals why the states are in such fiscal crisis, and why our state leaders have no one to blame but themselves.
In 2002 the National Governors Association issued a press release saying the “states face the most dire fiscal situation since World War II.” In 1990 The New York Times reported that states and cities faced a “fiscal calamity.” Fire up Google, pick almost any year, and you’ll find plenty of stories about a “fiscal crisis” around the nation.
For decades statehouses have followed a predictable schedule. In good economic times, they collect a lot more tax revenue than they really need. But instead of giving the money back to taxpayers or putting it in a rainy day fund, they pretend the good times will never end. When the good times do inevitably come to a close, governors plead poverty and either ask the federal government for help or raise taxes on their beleaguered citizens. Eventually, the economy rebounds and the vicious cycle starts again....
In the five years between 2002 and 2007, combined state general-fund revenue increased twice as fast as the rate of inflation, producing an excess $600 billion. If legislatures had chosen to be responsible, they could have maintained all current state services, increased spending to compensate for inflation and population growth, and still enacted a $500 billion tax cut.
Instead, lawmakers spent the windfall. From 2002 to 2007, overall spending rose 50 percent faster than inflation. Education spending increased almost 70 percent faster than inflation, even though the relative school-age population was falling. Medicaid and salaries for state workers rose almost twice as fast as inflation.
Now of course the state is crying that they need an increase in the Massachusetts state sales tax to compensate for their mismanagement. Let our voices be heard - NOT ONE MORE CENT!
File under "Unintended Irony" this photo by Bill Peters of the message on the electronic sign at the post office where the Springfield Tea Party took place.
This Bill Dusty video captures the feel of the event, but also reveals a flaw in the planning - the reciting of a long laundry list of political causes that was unecessarily partisan and distracted from the major issues. Focus people, FOCUS!
UMass 70's cartooning legend Steve Lafleur has a host of new products online. Such as paintings:
And T-shirts (as modeled below by his son Max).
Some of us who knew Steve in the 70's are surprised that he became someone who could get married and reproduce. Check out more of the wonderful world of Steve by clicking here.
Outside the UMass library I saw this retro-bike that reminded me of the bicycles my sisters used to have many years ago.
This is something the girls of Pine Point used to do - decorate their bike by carrying sunflowers around in a cheap wicker basket.
When I got to the Amherst Survival Center, Mark was doing bike leaps in the parking lot.
I don't know anything about the bands on this poster that's plastered all over the place, but they have way cool names.
I like this clever blending of Metallica and Grace Slick.