Saw this on Hit & Run:
Why Governments Are Lousy at Running Business, But Excellent at Scaring You About “Annihilating” Budget Cuts
Good piece in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal from John Steele Gordon (hat tip: Veronique de Rugy), reminding a forgetful nation why it is that state-run enterprises almost always end in tears. Here’s one point that has resonance for those of us interested in California’s tribulations:
“Cost cutting is alien to the culture of all bureaucracies. Indeed, when cost cutting is inescapable, bureaucracies often make cuts that will produce maximum public inconvenience, generating political pressure to reverse the cuts.”
What’s that you say about “generating political pressure to reverse the cuts”? Here’s the headline on an L.A. Times news piece today: “California braces for brutal budget cuts.” The lede:
“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers scrambled Wednesday to avert a financial meltdown, and public officials across California braced for annihilating cuts on the day after voters trounced their leaders’ rescue plan for the state.”
Italics mine, to emphasize the objectivity.
Then I remembered I saw this in today’s Dallas Morning News:
While acknowledging the gravity of Dallas’ financial woes, many City Council members balked Wednesday at specific budget cuts that City Manager Mary Suhm says are necessary to close a massive deficit.
From senior services to swimming pools, council members defended the importance of pricey programs that Suhm has targeted to balance the city’s books for the upcoming fiscal year.
Rudy and Dave didn’t fall into the sand trap the LA Times did, but I see similarities from council folk.