Thursday, May 27, 2010

Is This The Way to Fix a Budget?

I had an interesting email in my Front Range Community College inbox yesterday. It was an explanation of what would happen with the paychecks that employees would normally expect in their checking accounts on 6/18. Those checks will not be paid on 6/18, but instead on 7/1. Why 7/1? Well, like most governments, the state of Colorado, for whom we teachers at FRCC are technically employed, has a fiscal year that runs from July 1 to June 30. The politicians decided as a gimmick to balance the budget for the current fiscal year that they would put off paying that last check until the next fiscal year, which starts on July 1. To a politician, a problem differed is a problem solved!

This policy does not effect me at all, at least in terms of a paycheck. But, it distresses me a great deal. This is an example of the way politicians deal with difficult problems by pushing them off into the future. Paying employees 13 days later will not reduce the amount of money spent by the state, just delay it to another year. Easier to push a problem to next year, then solve the problem with a difficult decision that might cost a politician an election.

While this example is not a huge deal, it demonstrates the long term, national fiscal problems that are caused by this type of thinking by politicians more concerned with their next election than with the long term financial health of the country. We have a ticking time bomb of a fiscal situation in this country ( see "IOUSA") that will require both cuts in benefits and increases in taxes. Everyone in Washington knows it. But they won't solve it, because raising taxes and cutting government programs are the 2 surest ways to lose an election. Better to let the next guy deal with it.

We should all develop a taste for souvlaki, because we are going to be Greece in about 10 years!

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