A few months ago, House Speaker Bill O’Brien was asked a question by a concerned former foster child, now a foster mother, about the future of New Hampshire’s successful “CHINS” program, at his town hall in Lyndeborough. CHINS, or Children in Need of Service, is the program in New Hampshire dedicated to assisting children suffering from dire circumstances and in need of state assistance, taking children out of abusive homes that foster the behaviors the program combats, and backing up Child Protective Services. And it has suffered from budget cuts.
Answering the citizen questioning why pointless revenue-wasters like the cigarette tax cut have come before the vital protection for our children, he raved that “there’s no money”, and that there was a “round table” in his office where any New Hampshire resident could come to him and show him cuts he could make to other spending to offset money for the programs they wanted. Let’s, for now, ignore the idiocy of the Republican policies of “Offset everything but revenue cuts” and of “we can never raise revenue EVEN A CENT, even when children are being beaten or are torching barns”. Let’s just go to what he’s supporting, and will doubtlessly get, now.
We had a $26 million dollar surplus in the state of New Hampshire last year. And what does the Speaker plan on doing with it? Placing it in a rainy-day account, claiming it will raise our bond rating. With all the draconian cuts we’ve made, with vital services like CHINS cut to the bone, he chose to put every dollar into a fund that he thinks may MAYBE increase the bottom line a little bit. Heartless. But, more to the point, have you ever heard of the phrase “starve the beast”?
Starve the Beast, a Republican economic philosophy championed by Bill Kristol and Grover Norquist, and to which Bill O’Brien appears to adhere, touts that cutting taxes unstimulatively and placing funds into positions where they will have little stimulative effect will in fact grow the deficit or remove the dollars from positions in which they could be used for social programs or other methods of helping the poor, thereby forcing the shrinkage of government by aiding the oligarchs. You can look almost anywhere for new information. But this placement of twenty-six million dollars into the rainy-day fund sure stinks of starving the beast.
So, Speaker O’Brien, I’ve got that round table proposal all ready for you. I get that it wasn’t your intention for the cuts to come from your diabolical attempts to “wean the poor off socialism”, but I have twenty-six million dollars to put into CHINS and other important programs for the general welfare that the Constitution instructed you to promote. Because really, is a rainy-day fund so important when the poor and middle class are standing in a blizzard?