Sunday's off-lead story by Eric Eckholm from Phoenix outlines budget cuts being made by the states during the recession, or as the overheated front-page headline described it: "States Slashing Social Programs For Vulnerable."
Eckholm, a political appointee during the Carter administration,doesn't question the liberal idea of spending on social programs as an investment that will actually save money later on (apparently that's why the country is only several trillion dollars in debt ).
To make his point, Eckholm again quoted the liberals at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. He's a fan of the group, citing it often in his reporting, but never identifying it as a liberal organization (it even opposed welfare reform in the '90s).
Battered by the recession and the deepest and most widespread budget deficits in several decades, a large majority of states are slicing into their social safety nets - often crippling preventive efforts that officials say would save money over time.
President Obama's $787 billion stimulus package is helping to alleviate some of the pain, providing large amounts of money to pay for education and unemployment insurance, bolster food stamp programs and expand tax credits for low earners. But the money will offset only 40 percent of the losses in state revenues, and programs for vulnerable groups have been cut in at least 34 states, according to theCenter for Budget and Policy Priorities, a private research group in Washington.
Perhaps nowhere have the cuts been more disruptive than in Arizona, where more than 1,000 frail elderly people are struggling without home-care aides to help with bathing, housekeeping and trips to the doctor. Officials acknowledge that some are apt to become sicker or fall, ending up in nursing homes at a far higher cost.
Ohio and other states face large cutbacks in child welfare investigations, which may mean more injured children and more taken intofoster care. Despite tax increases, California has ended dental coverage for adults on Medicaid, all but guaranteeing future medical problems.