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Some thoughts on the Walpole budget situation

November 5, 2011

This post has been edited since being originally published.

Some things for Walpole officials to consider as they face an alleged budget crisis for FY 2013:

This an excerpt from the book Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel — Why Everything You Know is Wrong, written by libertarian television commentator John Stossel (he used to host 20/20 on ABC News and now works for FOX News):

When Capital Cities Corporation bought ABC, I was anxious about Capital Cities’ reputation for cost-cutting. I was right to be anxious. My bosses were ordered to cut ABC’s staff by 1,800 people. I was appalled. “How can we maintain the quality of 20/20,” I asked angrily, “if we don’t have a lighting specialist, and if we have to limit the editing time?”
My complaints were ignored, and I was surprised to find we could do the work with fewer people. Then Disney bought Cap Cities, and there were more layoffs. Again we found new ways to do things. We never would have done it without the pressure.
Government agencies never face that kind of pressure. Occasionally a manager proposes minor cuts, and then comes the outrage: Cutbacks? “No!” scream the special interests, or whatever you want to call the partnership of the bureaucrats and the people who receive their largesse. Without competition forcing hard choices, government managers cave.

The below was originally posted on MassCops.com, an online web forum. We can all probably think of some real life examples of this:

Once upon a time there was a village. After a while, the village started to grow. The Selectmen one day had a meeting and decided that traffic was getting bad and they needed to hire a painter to paint lines on the road to guide traffic. So they did.

The next year the Selectmen met and decided that the painter was doing a good job, but they never knew where he was. They decided he needed a supervisor. So they hired one.

The year after that the supervisor came to the Selectmen and told them that he couldn’t keep up with all the correspondence and clerical work and supervise the line painter effectively. He asked the Selectmen to give him a secretary. So they hired one.

The next year the economy was terrible and they had to make cuts. So they fired the painter.

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