Over at the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Lanier Cansler has been lamenting that he’s got to cut $4 billion or $1 billion (the number seems to change from day to day) from his department’s budget.
When you think about it it’s an odd thing – but the liberals in the Perdue Administration have decided to cut medical care (especially Medicaid) to everyone from pregnant women to troubled children to senior citizens who receive home care so they don’t have to go into Nursing Homes.
So given all Secretary Cansler’s complaints about the dire financial straits of his Department it comes as shock to open the newspaper this morning and read he’s sending a troop of sixteen bureaucrats on a two-week sojourn to San Diego, paid for with $140,000 of President Obama’s ‘Stimulus Money.’
When the story hit the front page of the News and Observer Secretary Cansler’s P.R. machine went into high gear, waxing eloquent and telling the press how much benefit North Carolina children were going to reap from sixteen bureaucrats attending a child care seminar in sunny San Diego. But the News and Observer gave them a pretty blunt answer, pointing out there are 41,000 children (from low-income families) the state says it can’t provide financial aid to so they can receive day care.
Cansler’s decision puzzled even Governor Perdue’s fellow liberals and left child care advocates shaking their heads. As one told the News and Observer, “It seems like they have it backwards.”
But Secretary Cansler’s P.R. machine had an answer to that too. They explained Secretary Cansler had no choice, that the federal government wouldn’t let him spend the money to provide day-care to children from low income families – so he spent it on the trip to California instead.
So let’s get this right: President Obama forced DHHS to spend stimulus money on junkets for bureaucrats – rather than on providing child care?
That’s hard to believe.
Maybe the bureaucrats in Washington are as crazy as the bureaucrats in Raleigh but I can’t help but ask if anyone at DHHS – or Governor Perdue herself – called the White House and said, Look, we’ve got a better idea about how to spend this money – so let’s work it out.
DHHS is a pretty odd place so maybe it’s fitting it’s located on the old Dorothea Dix campus. Last summer in the middle of the budget crisis Secretary Cansler spent $38,000 to buy 1,100 crab pots to set a disabled man up in the fishing business as part of a vocational rehabilitation program. Now, he’s spending $140,000 to send bureaucrats to San Diego to improve child care.
Welcome to how government works over on the Dorothea Dix Campus.