Pin It
Favorite

Disaster Politics 

The snow is a perfect metaphor for how our state deals with crises

click to enlarge Ted S. McGregor Jr.
  • Ted S. McGregor Jr.

Watching the snow dump on the East Coast over the weekend, you had to love New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urging calm and doling out cash his city doesn’t have while wearing his crisis-mode bomber jacket. He was the perfect disaster manager — the highest purpose our elected leaders can fulfill.

And it’s a job they’re all getting plenty of experience with, from Congress and the president desperately figuring out ways to save us from economic meltdown, to our state leaders trying to keep public education and social services alive, to local officials working to keep enough cops on the streets. Top to bottom, we’re trying to manage the disaster that is our economy.

You’d think by now it would be getting better, and in fact 2011 should be a solid year for American business — they enter the year with tax cuts in place and lots of cash on hand. But for state governments, 2011 will be painful. The stakes for the economy are high — more job cuts will add to unemployment, more cuts to social services will only deepen poverty and an anemic balance sheet could undercut the states’ ability to sell municipal bonds.

It’s ugly all over. In Illinois, state troopers have had their state credit cards rejected when they went to fill their cruisers because the state doesn’t pay its bills. In New Jersey, thousands of teachers have been laid off. In California, where they have a $19 billion shortfall, the state’s credit rating is teetering on junk status.

Here in Washington, our $1.1 billion shortfall has been cut in half by proposals put together in a recent special session; the remainder will have to be handled by the new session of the Legislature. But starting in July, for the 2011-13 budget, we’ve got another $4.6 billion disaster to manage.

How did we get here? States spent too much money over the years, made too many promises they can’t keep, and citizens continue to vote against spending. People want to keep their money and are apparently happy with fewer services. Now we’ll see what that really looks like.

Whatever the reasons, the disaster management ideas here are brutal — killing the State Tourism Office, which helps bring in $14 billion a year, removing another $100 million from public education and shuttering our beloved MAC. And there will be a lot more to come.

This is one mess you can’t clean up with snowplows and a cool leather jacket. But it will be riveting to watch.

Ted S. McGregor Jr. is the Editor and Publisher of The Inlander.

  • Pin It

Speaking of...

Latest in Comment

  • The Landed and the White
  • The Landed and the White

    How Americans followed tradition when they voted for Trump
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • Do Something!
  • Do Something!

    Writers Resist, MLK Day activities and more ways to engage with your community
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • On the Street
  • On the Street

    Will you tip differently because of the minimum wage increase?
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Women's March on Spokane

Women's March on Spokane @ Spokane Convention Center

Sat., Jan. 21, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

  • Fake-News Nightmare
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • BOOKS
  • BOOKS

    From Twin Peaks to the darkest reaches of our galaxy, there's a new book for everyone on your list
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Trump wins: America's great state of disconnect
  • Trump wins: America's great state of disconnect

    • Nov 9, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Thanks, Obama

    The legacy of the 44th President goes far beyond the election of the 45th
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

scandal


Comment


scandals


Briefs


green zone


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Tragedy of John Wayne
  • Tragedy of John Wayne

    Why the John Wayne Pioneer Trail is worth saving
    • Oct 29, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation