President Obama told Congress today that he seeks yet another $50 billion to states. According to the administration, these funds are needed to prevent layoffs of teachers, police, and firefighters. Give me a break.

Last year, a massive state-aid package was passed, so that unemployment would not rise over 8%. I guess that that ship has sailed. So now, we’re being told that a depression can come unless we send about $200 per citizen to the federal government, which will funnel it back to the states in the form of pork. Since the goal is for the money to go to schools and public safety, which are mostly the domain of localities, then the states funnel it down to the local areas. I can’t imagine how there will be any waste in this system.

Here’s a strange idea, so strange that it just might work. How about the feds actually cut taxes by some arbitrary amount, let’s say $200 per citizen. Then, it is up to the states, if the need is so urgent, to actually raise taxes by a similar amount. If a state opts not to do that, then I guess the need wasn’t urgent. Since states have balanced budget amendments, generally, then they’ll cut spending by an equivalent amount. If they have to cut state aid to localities, then so be it. If a locality wants schools to maintain their quality, then they raise taxes. If not, well that’s why we have a representative government.

Let’s just talk for a dirty little secret about last year’s huge gravy train. Here in Louisiana, we used the money to cut our state taxes. That’s right, the state just did the same thing I suggested. Nobody’s mad at Jindal because kids can’t read or add. If we cared, he’d raise taxes back to their old levels. Do you actually think that’s gonna happen? There are other states that aren’t being hit hard by this recession. I’d guess they did similar things.

If you’re unfortunate to live in one of the states where the recession has caused hardship, you should be particularly upset about this plan. Once again, same as last year, you’re being cheated. If the plan is to reduce hardship, you should expect to get the lion’s share of the benefits. In reality, you won’t receive any more federal funds per capita than I do. So your schools will get ever more decrepit, your public safety will be more endangered, but the states that haven’t been hit will conduct business as usual.

I’ve got an idea. I’m stealing this from Bill Clinton, so the crime is sort of ambiguous in nature. When the Republicans wanted to reduce federal spending in 1995, what did Clinton do? He shut down national parks. Obviously, he didn’t have to; instead he did that because a number of families had already made vacation plans to visit the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, or some other place. So they pressured their Representative to pass the budget. Well, if a state is in deep financial trouble, announce plans to shut down ALL public colleges and universities beginning fall term. If that isn’t enough money, then shut down ALL schools until January. Shut down all other state services that have nothing to do with public safety, state parks, road crews, everything. If people don’t like it, they’ll clamor to pay more taxes; if not, they’ll get the government they want.