The New York Times has a story on how governors around the country are facing deficits and having to make tough decisions about cutting services or raising taxes.
This is an opportunity for Democrats to be truly progressive in addressing the relationship between the people and the government.
We should establish some principles that we proceed with:
1. We should have a bias towards leaving markets free and people alone unless there is a good case to be made for laws, rules, intervention.
For example we need to cut back on weather disaster relief where it is clear the people could and should have planned for emergencies. People living in Katrina related areas shouldn't live there unless they accept the risk of more disasters. The same for hurricane prone areas, and large snowstorms.
The state and federal governments should make this clear now. Perhaps encourage a better insurance market, or take other steps; rather than waiting for a disaster and then helping people who could have helped themselves.
This will reduce a great burden on state budgets, promote personal responsiblity, and is the right thing to do.
The government should of course help people who aren't in a position to help themselves.
Next the states should look to legalizing and taxes many things that happen regardless like sports betting and non-violent drug use. From the beginning we can work to deal with any of the negative aspects, but let's be realistic. The damage can't be worse than the problems alcohol cause in society. If the rules are clear, punishment for dangerous offensives really strong and certain, then we can legalize this types of activities and tax them.\\
Within the normal political realm, we should stop warning against cuts and starts making them sometimes. People are very flexible and soon learn to live with less.
I would cut education by starting a voucher system.
Many people would gladly add some of their money to a voucher and choose a private school. That reduces the cost of education on the local government, and the parent is happier.
There are parents who would pay say $4,000 of a private school tuition if the government paid the other $7000. Since many districts pay much more than that per child, the district would actually save money, while we would have a better chance at getting an educated adult.
Regardless of the specifics, as the governing party, we should actually do things that might work well in the long run. This rather than patching up state and federal budgets one crisis at a time, and always pressuring the American people with higher taxes.
making the word "liberal" safe again!