Monday, February 20, 2006

A moment of candor

Seth of In Effect says the following in the comments section on Thought Experiment No. 4 below:

Amendment opponents also largely believe that budgetary decisions should privilege the discussion of the actual services provided by governments, rather than putting cost as the primary dictator of public policy. Cost should certainly be considered, but any constitutional amendment that caps the growth of public services is not putting those public services first.

That's pithy, accurate and, in my view, illustrates why the WTPA is a good idea. Why, exactly, would the legislative process "privilege" the discussion of the provision of government services over their cost. Shouldn't legislators be just as concerned over what the state can afford? Shouldn't they treat the amount of money that they have to work with as a brutal reality that cannot easily be avoided.

But they don't, as Seth recognizes in suggesting that the legislative process privileges focus on services over focus on their cost. This is because the particular interest of those who benefit from, or provide those services, is, for any particular program, more intense than that of those who pay taxes. The WTPA is, as Seth would put it, an effort to "privilege" or, as I would put it, balance the interests of those who pay against those who receive.

My view is that the state will be better off in the long run because legislators will be forced to make the hard choices that they currently avoid.

1 comment:

Seth Zlotocha said...

You can read a full response at my blog.