11.01.2008 0

Birds of a Feather

  • On: 11/26/2008 10:43:42
  • In: Economy
  • By William Warren

    When Barack Obama inadvertently blurted out his desire to “spread the wealth around” during the midst of his campaign, it was assumed that he was referring to wealth redistribution among citizens. But that, however, may just be the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

    As the federal government pulls more and more money from the taxpayer ATM and bails out more and more industries, it’s not surprising that others want to get in on the action. Like flea-bitten pigeons flocking to the park bench benefactor, the cash-strapped entities have begun to swarm.

    One such group of fowl-weather friends eagerly lining up for a hand out is the very states comprising these United States—and the pecking order couldn’t be clearer.

    According to a recent article by stateline.org, more and more state governments are looking to dip their beaks into the federal bailout. Like nesting squabs, hearing the sweet chirp of the federal nanny state, they cannot help but salivate. As the article describes:

    “With President-elect Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress pledging quick action on a proposed multi-billion dollar fiscal package to boost the U.S. economy, states are banking they will get a cut of any federal rescue plan…

    “Staying clear of the term ‘bailout’ and ‘handout,’ states and governors for weeks have been pressing Congress and the incoming administration for billions of dollars in direct aid…

    “But states collectively face $30 billion in gaps in their current budgets and that number could climb even higher. These deficits are on top of the $40 billion states have already cut to balance their budgets for this fiscal year that for most states ends June 30.”

    The most notable of those weighing in on the issue are New York Governor David Paterson (D) and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). Both men are at the helm of two states engulfed in troubled financial waters. Rather than figuring out how to rise above the deepening tide, however, they’d rather raise their hands with open palms and hope for a bailout. As the article continues:

    “But once states dig themselves out of their current fiscal holes, they are looking at shortfalls that could reach more than $80 billion for fiscal 2010, according to estimates from the National Governors Association.”

    According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 29 states and Washington D.C. face budget shortfalls for the 2009 fiscal year. And here’s the tell-tale statistic: Of these 29, 21 of them are—as of the 2008 election—Blue States. And of the nine states with budget deficits surpassing a billion dollars, eight are Blue States. These are California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Virginia. California and New York, not surprisingly, top the list with budget deficits of $22.2 billion and $4.9 billion respectively

    So when President-elect Barack Obama begins plying his wealth redistribution and federal bailouts, it’s only natural to expect this to play a role on the state level as well. Moreover, it’s highly likely the first states in line for government largess will be the 28 Blue States that put Mr. Obama in the White House.

    In other words, hard-working and fiscally responsible Red States may very well be forced to help foot the bill of the cash-strapped, Obama-loving Blue States. Having long dodged the responsibility of building a secure nest egg, they are now flocking around the President-elect, ever eager to wing their way to higher deficits. And the full meaning of “bird brains” becomes increasingly more apparent.

    William Warren is a contributing editor of ALG News Bureau.

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