Government can cut expenses, keep services

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 20, 2005

So what does our government have in common with a set of parents working at low-income jobs?

Both must be resourceful in how they manage their money and make tough financial decisions each and every day.

From the City of Ironton to the State of Ohio to the United States of America, all forms of government are facing tough financial decisions.

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And, like the fictitious parents we referenced, each form of government must take a frugal stance on spending public dollars – especially during these trying economic times.

Yet in almost every case, government resists change – even when it knows that change is absolutely necessary.

In Ironton, for example, last year some folks stood up and swore that it was impossible to collect the city’s garbage with one less crew. The city eventually held firm to its beliefs, cut the crew and the piles of garbage disappeared. The situation proved the fear and propaganda often thrown out when government debates spending cuts is often more bark than bite.

At the county level, the Lawrence County Commissioners have already begun pointing out to the various county offices where the overspending is occurring. And many of those same officeholders are complaining that they simply cannot do the job without more money.

Commissioners and the taxpayers they represent would probably be more sympathetic if the county’s office leaders were able to show evidence that they had attempted to live within their means.

On the state level, Ohio must do something to curtail the ever-growing Medicaid coverage. The Medicaid system needs to be reformed. Critics of the system will argue the system as it currently operates is rife with abuse, misspending and waste. Yet, each year when the debate begins, one side will begin using the media to paint a rather ugly picture of the consequences.

"You’ll be evicting residents of nursing homes," they argue.

That kind of black-or-white, all-or-nothing, attitude is what’s wrong with government.

We think that with a little ingenuity and some discussion, government can cut expenses and not completely destroy all public services.

Just ask a set of low-income parents how to do it.