Saturday, April 16, 2011

Where Would We Be Without Their Help?

Reader Gordon Calkins writes in with his perspective on President Obama's ghastly budget speech:
I am the primary care-giver to my autistic and developmentally delayed son. I must admit that we accept from our state Division of Services for People with Disabilities some monetary support. The state gives us a small grant with federal matching money that allows us to hire extra support workers and care givers which gives us a few hours a month to run errands and have a little time out of the house.

The program has been a benefit to us. But to put this into perspective, in order to be eligible for the support, we work with a state-contracted support coordinator, a state-approved fiscal agent that handles the payroll, and we have to keep logs of what we are doing to meet the state-approved training goals. We have several hours of doing paperwork each time we hire a new person. Our current employees are the adult kids of some of our friends, but they are still required to get background checks, fingerprinting and annual reviews. I've known people who have opted out of this system because the hassle of dealing with the state is too much.

Although, as I said, I believe that this support is a net positive for us, the benefit we receive is much less than I pay in federal taxes each year. I would be even better off if the federal government would cancel programs like this and just let me keep more of my money, and there wouldn't be nearly so many people making money off the support we get.

So, the purpose of government is to take my money, filter it through a bunch of agencies and contractors, each taking their cut, and then give a small fraction of it back to me to spend on "approved" services. Gives new meaning to the phrase "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." I wish they would stop helping.
As if to illustrate the point, has a "gallery" of the "meanest budget cuts" in the legislation Congress approved this week. One is the Administration on Aging:
This agency, which helps senior citizens navigate the maze of federal bureaucracy and maintain independent lives, saw its budget of over $2 billion cut by $16 million.
Imagine if, instead of trimming the Administration on Aging by a paltry 0.8%, Congress had slashed funding to "the maze of federal bureaucracy" by, say, 20%.

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