Recession, Rhetoric Threatening Public Services

Les Leopold warns that the recession and budget shortfalls at the state and local level are combining with intense "anti-government" rhetoric to justify the gutting and privatizing of public services.

Leopold, author of The Looting of America, believes that present trends are pointing to drastic declines in the quality of life as basic services such as libraries and schools face major budget cuts. The alternative, he argues, is to raise taxes on the super-wealthy. He writes,

"We'll feel the awful effects of state and local budget cuts all over the country, in virtually every area of public life. Parks will be closed and privatized. Libraries will cut hours or close altogether...As this race to the bottom accelerates, the budget-cutting mania will act as a gigantic anti-stimulus program, sucking jobs out of the public and private sectors. It's estimated that in 2010 and 2011, the states' budget shortfalls will total $375 billion. That will just about wash out the positive job impact of the federal stimulus program.

If we could just get over our blinding hatred of unions and public sector workers, we might see that we do in fact have the money we need to rebuild our ramshackle infrastructure, enhance public education and create a new green economy. It's right there--in the hands of the few...The 400 wealthiest Americans alone have more than $1.3 trillion (not billion) in wealth - just 400 people!

A surcharge on these super-rich individuals could help fund our collapsing public sector."

Full Story: Slaughterhouse '10: The Gutting of State and Local Government

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