As occurs every time spending cuts are proposed, the L.A. Times does another “Oh my God look how awful this is!” story about the proposed spending reductions:
Although lawmakers continue to argue over how to resolve the state’s fiscal crisis, they already have endorsed $6 billion in spending cuts that provide a painful preview of what is likely to be in store for Californians.
The proposed cuts would mean that money for the state’s university systems would decrease. Transportation and schools would take a hit. Funds for regional centers that help treat developmental disabilities in babies and toddlers would decline. Cash to help the elderly, blind and disabled keep up with rising food costs would be slashed.
Experts are quoted to tell us how awful this is:
“With 9.3% unemployment in our state, people are flowing into public benefit offices all over California,” said Michael Herald, legislative advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty, a Los Angeles-based legal services nonprofit. “This is when people need these programs, and yet our state seems to be headed in a direction of reducing them now.”
And personal stories are told, to put a face to the suffering the cuts will cause:
One of the provisions both parties have supported in the state Capitol would reduce the maximum monthly grant for low-income blind and disabled Californians. Individual grants would drop from $907 to $870, while couples would see their monthly checks drop from $1,579 to $1,524, according to the state Department of Finance. Those grants were supposed to increase this year and again next year to account for inflation.
Ismael Maldonado, a 20-year old from Pacoima who has glaucoma and asthma, said he may have to skimp on medications if lawmakers cut his grant.
The last time he did that, he said, “I ended up in the hospital emergency room” — an expense the state’s Medi-Cal program had to pick up.
The paper does not emphasize that the alternative to spending cuts is tax increases. And although it provides one example of a “cut” that is merely a failure to increase spending, it fails to tell readers that huge chunks of the scary $40 billion projected deficit result from automatic increases in spending — which are obviously insane in this climate.
What’s more, when is the last time you saw an article in the L.A. Times about the horrors of tax increases? When did you see a lede that summarized the negative economic consequences of tax increases (especially in a recession), which then fleshed out the summary with quotes from experts, and then gave a concrete example of a family who would be adversely impacted by the tax increases? Surely the paper could find a family that is barely making its mortgage payment — and who may lose the family home if forced by the state to cough up still more money.
I can’t remember ever seeing a story like that in the Los Angeles Times. But stories like this detailing the horrors of spending cuts come around every time cuts are proposed, like clockwork.
No bias here!