posted on January 28, 2009 13:17
Like President Obama, Governor Perdue began her administration with a series of executive orders showing she’s on the job and ready from day one. First came her “change orders.” This week her budget officer sent out an email touting her steps to save money.
She has little choice. North Carolina, like most states, has to balance its budget. It’s in the state Constitution.
Used to, governors and state legislators smugly suggested that things would be far better in America if Washington did like them and balanced its budget.
Today, instead of boasting, they’re begging.
One of the first things Perdue did after taking the oath was go to Washington and ask for stimulus money.
Governors and legislators should be glad now that Washington doesn’t have a balanced budget.
My friend Mathew Gross noted another irony: According to her budget officer, Perdue ordered “a stop to purchases of goods and services – except for materials required in the classrooms (and) limits on travel.”
What else does state government do, Gross pointed out, that more directly stimulates the economy? No purchases and no travel means less money spent across the state on gas, food, hotels, paper, computers, office supplies, furniture, etc., etc.
I’m no economist. But doesn’t this feed the downward spiral in consumer confidence – and spending – that is dragging down the economy?
The ugly truth is that the big money in state government is in salaries. You can get big savings by laying off people. But that only increases unemployment.
Historians condemn Herbert Hoover for sticking to balanced-budget orthodoxy during the Depression, instead of stimulative spending. Have the governors become little latter-day Hoovers?
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