The dimensions of the social needs generated by the financial crisis greatly exceed the budgets of the state governments. But these sums are insignificant compared to the resources which the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress are devoting to their two principal priorities: bailing out the Wall Street financial interests, and continuing (and in the case of Afghanistan, escalating) the two wars launched by the Bush administration.
Total spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—$130 billion in the Pentagon budget and another $40-50 billion in an expected “emergency” spending bill—would by itself cover all the state budget shortfalls. And the bailout of the super-rich, with an estimated $23.7 trillion in loans, guarantees and direct cash injections, is more than 100 times as large as the total state deficit.
Thus the crisis of the states is not an inevitable byproduct of the recession, regrettable but unavoidable. It is a deliberate policy choice made by Obama and the congressional Democrats—and fully supported by the congressional Republicans and the corporate-controlled media—to devastate the living conditions of tens of millions of people. There is not a single “mainstream” political voice calling for the diversion of major federal resources in order to prevent state bankruptcies and safeguard essential services like education and public health, which are largely funded and operated by state and local government.
Read the rest at: WSWS.org
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