March 19, 2013

Fiscal conservatism?

Republicans claim to be fiscally responsible and to be fiscally conservative.  That means saving money, having a balanced budget, etc.  

But from where I sit, I see an awful lot of conservative proposals that do not save money, but actually cost the state or federal government.  Here are a couple:

  1. Passing unconstitutional laws as exercise in defiance.  These usually require the state or federal government to defend those laws in court.  Examples include:
    • DOMA at the federal level.  Republicans are funding the defense, all at the same time while cutting WIC and other safety net programs.  
    • State efforts to test welfare recipients for drugs.  Questionable under 4th amendment (and Florida's law just got thrown out on those grounds.
    • Anti-abortion laws that proponents know will be thrown out.  Attacking access to abortion clearly trumps any claim for fiscal conservatism.  
  2. Then there are those laws that are supposed to save money but do not.  
    • Best example that I can think of are the aforementioned laws drug testing welfare recipients.  Every study I have seen suggests that welfare recipients use drugs at the same level as non-welfare recipients.  Small percentage, actually, and so the savings to the system are usually vastly out weighed by cost of administering the program.  
    • Here in OK, the House Speaker has proposed a law to mandate that able-bodied persons spend somewhere around 30 hours a week in "work like" activity (or something of that sort.  Requires more staff and oversight to make sure that this actually occurs, and the estimates were that it would cost far more to implement than you would see in actual savings.  
Others?  I am not bashing conservatives here, but noting that the version that is leading most states and the House of Representatives seems to have not thought some of this through very well.  


steves said...

Another popular proposal from the law and order crowd is mandatory drug testing for people on welfare. Not only would this cost a tremendous amount just for the testing, they would also have to set up a means for people to appeal/protest losing their assistance. This would also cost a lot.

Streak said...

Yeah, that's in this list. I find it funny that when the cost is raised in many situations, these same fiscal hawks dismiss cost as a factor. but when those programs are supposed to help the poor, cost is almost first on the list.