Friday, August 31, 2012

Cost is too high

All actions come with costs. Elected officials and voters also act in ways that come with costs, ones we as voters might not fully understand or want to pay, and too often in ways that are penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Between 2010 and 2012, according to The New York Times, in the name of cutting taxes and deficits, House Republicans forced a reduction of 43 percent in the Federal Emergency Management Agency primary grants.

Those cuts mean $1.8 billion will not be available for evacuation equipment and supplies, communications gear that lets first responders speak to one another and training exercises.

Further, budget proposals by Congressman Paul Ryan, who is now the Republican nominee for vice president, could mean federal non-entitlement line items would be cut by more than half.

Of course, voters can pretend that budget cuts only result in lower taxes. But what help would be available for those affected by an Atlantic hurricane or an Idaho wildfire or a California earthquake if FEMA and the Forest Service have only half the resources they have now? 

The consequences of current government budget proposals are well beyond “cutting the fat.”

If lighting strikes and a fire breaks out, as happened locally five years ago with the Castle Rock Fire, will a Forest Service recording that says no one is available right now so please check the web page for further information about current fire suppression policies be enough when concerned citizens call for help?

As voters and taxpayers, it’s time we look at all the consequences and all the costs.

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