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Michael Miller

Viewpoint

By Michael Miller
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Waiting for the Recount Notes

1. State leaders are talking about across-the-board spending cuts to close growing budget deficits. The across-the-board approach may seem to be the quickest, fairest way at first glance, but in the long run it can cost the most, because all measures of effectiveness and usefulness are removed from the equation. Particularly when dealing with state agencies, Long Island not-for-profit organizations that receive funding to provide needed support services must file detailed outcome reports. Then along comes a budget crunch and across-the-board reductions hurt and even jeopardize programs that do great jobs along with any that don’t.…

 

2. When he addressed state legislators about the budget situation in Albany earlier this month, Governor Paterson might have made more headway if his re-election advertisements and e-mail appeals for campaign funds hadn’t started while he was speaking. Legislators were openly dismissive of the address as a “campaign commercial” and not a serious proposal or statement of policy. Almost since his first day in office, the governor has been hurt by the perception among other politicians that he doesn’t really believe what he’s saying.…

3. Facing a $2.8 billion state budget deficit, Michigan officials are running out of ideas. The legislature is now considering taking out a mortgage on the State Capitol building. I am not making this up.…

4. A Pew Center survey suggests that Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin have budget situations that are even graver than the one facing New York. These states face double-digit budget gaps, atrocious and rising unemployment and high foreclosure rates and have already made significant spending cuts…

5. Three weeks ago, my federal Representative mass e-mailed a fundraising appeal (“the 2010 Congressional elections are not that far away.”). It was sent out at 10:42 a.m. on Election Day. Sigh.…

6. We have written about this before, but some of them just don’t get the message. No one should be receiving mailings from any government office that even indirectly promotes elected officials or their activities just before Election Day. It’s just wrong, and this is not one of the tough ones. Even our state legislature, poorly regarded as it is right now, has strict limits on publicly-financed mailings during campaign season. If they can live with it, so can your town, village, city and county officials.…

7. A new major study out of Johns Hopkins Childrens Center finds that America’s 7 million uninsured children are 60 percent more likely to die in a hospital than children with health insurance coverage. Children without insurance often don’t see pediatricians, acquire prescriptions or undergo preventive care until problems become serious or untreatable. The Medicaid and CHIPRA programs cover millions of children, but many fall through the cracks due to poor outreach and onerous annual administrative and paperwork requirements.…

8. American citizens who have no health insurance and are diagnosed with colorectal cancer are 70 percent more likely to die within three years than those with insurance.…

9. There are other important kinds of security besides security against terrorists….

10. This country needs to think long and hard about what is happening to some of our war veterans and those in military service. A report released this past summer says that 418,000 service members who were involved in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. On any given day, approximately 223,000 veterans are in jail or prison. Unemployment, alienation and drug abuse are much higher among veterans compared to the rest of the population. Referring to them as “heroes” isn’t really enough. America needs to pay attention to what is happening and get the services and assistance to people that will help them get right. Regardless of how any of us may feel about our international and defense policies, none of us should forget our veterans this Thanksgiving and beyond.

Michael Miller is a freelance writer, designer and strategic consultant who has worked in state and local government. He lives in New Hyde Park.

Michael Miller is a freelance writer, designer and strategic consultant who has worked in state and local government. Email: millercolumn@optimum.net