Gov. Deval Patrick filled in some of the details today from this week's announced $1 billion dollar cut from the state budget to help close a projected $1.4 billion gap. Obviously he's doing what he needs to do, although I expect to find considerable disagreement with some of his choices, especially when it comes to those services provided for those who have the least to spare in their own budgets.
Patrick also intends to lay off 1,000 state workers. Some of those workers will not be able to pay the mortgages on their homes and will fall into foreclosure. Other workers will have to apply for food stamps and fuel assistance. Food stamp usage is at an all-time high in this country and fuel assistance funds are in short supply.
There's nothing like a fiscal crisis to move an economy into a penny wise, pound foolish mode. That's one thing I'm appreciating about Barak Obama-- when asked what he will cut from his proposed programs if he becomes president, he says he is not going to cut fund to promote energy independence. Not only would it free us from dependence on other countries to meet our needs, true energy independence would create jobs.
I'm finding it hard to figure out how we're going to get out of this mess short-term-- maybe even long-term-- and I worry about how the poorest people are going to survive. Usually I aim to be pro-active, but I think I'm going to cut myself a little slack and let myself realize that like it or not, a lot of us will do a lot of suffering before this is over.