The Real State of the Union: Drowning in Ice Edition

Bill Scher

CNN earlier today was running disturbing video of a man who fell through the ice of a pond in Weymouth, MA. He thankfully was rescued, but because of budget cuts, that almost didn’t happen.

The Associated Press reported: “Authorities say they were lucky to have the canoe to help the rescue. A fire station a half-mile from the pond has an ice boat, but the station was closed because of budget constraints.” The Weymouth fire chief told the Boston Globe that “had it been open, the situation might have been less hazardous for the victim, who spent ’20 to 30 minutes’ in the frigid water.”

If a recession hits, state government budgets will be squeezed further. But the stimulus package compromise between the White House and the House does not include additional support for state governments.

Yet economist Jared Bernstein recently wrote at TPMCafe that such support is critical:

…a dollar spent on fiscal relief to the states yields $1.24. This last idea—ratcheting up state grants from the Feds—is particularly important right now, since many state and city coffers are coming up short due to the local revenue impacts of the housing meltdown.

Fire houses, and other aspects of our foundation keeping us safe and secure, are under duress because of the conservative failure on the economy. That’s your state of the union.

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