Ezra Klein at the Washington Post is an interesting journalist with a wonkish policy focus. This week he published a piece on state budget problems as the "anti-stimulus", amounting to a huge amount of money not being spent that can equal or even exceed the size of the federal stimulus package.
See his article here.
Some reader's subsequently object (quite correctly) that federal aid to the states amounts to enabling their bad budget management and just encourages them to delay confronting the basic shortcomings of their budgeting. Klein raises that issue and presents some counter evidence, along with a link to an academic analysis of the state budget short fall and its roots in unemployment levels:
That link is here.
And finally, what are the roots of government (state and federal) deficits and can't they be readily cured by eliminating Waste, Fraud and Abuse (WFA). The public seems to think so. See this piece by Democratic pollster Mark Mellman.
Link to opinion about WFA here.
Is Klein's empirical argument one that both lefties and righties should (in principle!) be able to agree on, even if they differ on policy solutions? Or is there an underlying ideological debate about the fundamental point Klein is making, which means that no such empirical agreement is possible?
What role do you think public attitudes play in state and federal efforts to address budget deficits and revenue?
Why does the public continue to believe that such large portions of government revenue is wasted and therefore could be cut without any consequence?
If it is so easy to do, why has NEITHER party made significant headway in cutting spending? (Consider the record of the 1990s and the federal surpluses that resulted as both a positive and a negative example.)