Eliminating wasteful, unproductive government programs is always good for a press release, but cuts like those (and the positive press that goes with them) can only go so far. If one really is to make a difference in a bloated budget, he has to be willing to not just trim the fat, but cut some meat, too. The resulting heated criticism, my friends, is the political furnace that tests one’s fiscal and political courage, and it is from which emerges the true “budget hero.” Of course, the budget’s hero is the public’s villain.
Supervisor Delgaudio’s proposed termination of the DARE program demonstrates the challenge of unpopular cuts. Facing opposition from the sheriff and others, Supervisors Ken Reid and Delgaudio offered an amended proposal that would have resulted in a marked reduction in the program itself, but ultimately no reduction in spending. I’m not saying that DARE should or should not be cut, but the debate (and the result here) show the tough choices that lie ahead, as well as the apparent lack of resolve from even the most fiscally conservatives members of the board.
Representatives at any level holding budgetary responsibilities must be willing to risk being vilified - if they hold to their conservative principles, it’s virtually certain they will be. Cuts in education, seniors programs, drug programs, transportation programs and the like always draws wild opposition, and much of it justified. Crowded classrooms and crowded roads are legitimate gripes. If a representative is serious about controlling taxes and spending, however, he must realize that his decisions and he personally, will be unpopular.
Lest you pity the representatives, think again. Remember, this is just what these conservatives were elected to do.