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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Scott Brown's priorities

When Deval Patrick crafted his version if the state's fiscal 2011 budget, Scott Brown was a state senator who had voted for the state's health care reform law. Today, US Sen. Scott Brown is threatening to blow up that budget -- inflicting serious pain -- in the name of the ideological crusade that sent him to Washington.

Patrick unveiled a contingency plan yesterday that slices another $800 million across the board. The reason? Congress has failed to act on a six-month extension of Medicaid reimbursements available through the federal stimulus plan. The money is part of a long-term federal commitment to fund health care reform.

But Brown, who stood up for banks and financial service firms and voted to spend federal dollars on a jet engine of questionable need has decided this is where he intends to take a stance against spending -- tossing Massachusetts and 29 other states into chaos, refusing to support a so-called tax extenders bill that contains the funding:
“I cannot support the extender bill because, as currently constructed, it includes billions in tax increases and deficit spending. As our national debt soars past the $13 trillion mark, we need to stop the deficit spending that is putting future generations of Americans in a deep financial hole. We are borrowing against our next generation. Washington must start offsetting the cost of worthy programs by cutting wasteful spending in other places. This requires elected leaders making hard choices, but our country’s economic stability requires that we reign (sic) in our excessive spending habits and get our fiscal house in order.”
Nice campaign speech, senator. Of course you didn't mention how that deficit was created by reckless tax cuts for the rich and unchecked spending on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But what about the realities that should trump the rhetoric, particularly in the home state you were elected to serve?

Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker was quick to blame Deval Patrick for counting on money he didn't have -- ignoring the fact that congressional leaders made a commitment to the funding last winter. The only thing to change since then was Brown's election.

Republicans have stood virtually united against the stimulus bill in the face of long economic theory -- and now hard evidence -- that government deficit spending is the only way to jolt an economy out of recession.

And the signs -- from a slowly improving jobs picture to rising GDP -- suggest the stimulus has worked despite initial GOP-inspired timidity not to spend as much as we really needed to pull out of the spiral.

Although Brown pledged to work for what's best for Massachusetts, he continues to seek approval from the Tea Party crowd. Rejection of the extenders bill -- despite the much needed $800 million infusion for the Bay State -- is the most recent example of a man talking out of both sides of his mouth.

If the Massachusetts Legislature is forced to follow through with the additional cuts because of a Brown-aided broken promise, voters should point their fingers at him when police, firefighters and teachers are laid off, when pools and libraries are closed.

But at least he stood up for GE and Mass Mutual.

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Anonymous Bill said...

Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states in the nation. Why should we be reliant upon taxpayers in poorer states to fund medical spending in Massachusetts? We need to pay our own way.

If that means tripling state taxes to provide Healthcare to our citizens, I'd support it.

June 09, 2010 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. Let's give the states more power to control their own destiny. The uber liberals can all move here and make a socialist utopia and be a beacon to the world on how things should be. Leave other places like Arizona alone to handle things their own way.

June 10, 2010 4:54 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

The only problem with your reasoning Bill is that Massachusetts and other northeast states send more of our tax money to places like Alabama and Mississippi (and for all I know Arizona) than we get in return.

If paying your own way means everyone gets to spend only what they pay in, we would see a lot of freeloaders squawk.

Those who yell loudest about "socialism" benefit the most.

June 10, 2010 5:06 AM  

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