Skip to comments.CA: Fear and Budgeting. Program administrators use human suffering to protect phoney-baloney jobs.
Posted on 03/23/2004 9:21:19 AM PST by John Jorsett
What a field-day for the heat. A thousand people in the street. A-singin songs and carryin signs. Mostly say, Dont you dare cut any of our programs!
With apologies to Buffalo Springfield, the annual summer budget fight has started early in Sacramento. Welfare mothers, students, and a myriad of others are showing up at the capitol to beg us lawmakers to give them your money.
Except: the story is mostly false. Most of these people are scared into protesting by people who make money from the system. Welfare bureaucrats, union bosses (who profit from the dues public employees pay), and service providers profit from the system, sometimes making really handsome profits, and they want the flow of money to continue. A program becomes their excuse to profit at taxpayers expense. Worse, they threaten to deprive people who really are hurting in order to protect their $100,000 a year salaries.
Take the Department of Developmental Services. DDS deals with developmentally disabled people: some who need a wheel chair, some with mental challenges, all relying upon government to help them. California provides many services to those suffering these disabilities. And every time anyone suggests we look at these services, the craven administrators try to protect their phoney-baloney jobs by hiding behind the wheel chairs.
This year, the governor proposed changes to how the state deals with the disabled, so the capitol is filled with very frightened people in wheel chairs. But of course no one wants to throw them out of their wheel chairs. They are being scared by the profit-fattened administrators who are the real targets of the governors spending controls.
Consider some facts: In 1998-99, the state spent $9,500 on each person with a disability served by a Regional Center. Today, it is $13,400. In addition, in 98-99, the state spent $124,000 on each person who has to live in state-run disability facilities, called Developmental Centers (DCs). Today, it is $205,000. In addition, we are running a 20 percent vacancy rate at the DCs. We could close down two or three DCs, deliver the same quality service, and save money.
As for Regional Centers, they are a mess. At least one lobbyist has privately indicated that, of the 21 Regional Centers, seven are adequate, seven are bad, and seven are evil. They have become dominated by the providers who profit from the system. Theyve gone from service center to profit center at whose expense? The disabled. Providers have approved services such as a pool (built at taxpayer expense) at a house supposedly to help a disabled person, but, of course, every one else got to use it too. They have approved house additions at taxpayer expense, and have talked about approving expenses for dolphin therapy: swimming with dolphins, like you can do in Hawaii for $300 per hour.
Another DDS program recently attracted a lot of negative attention. It was discovered the DDS and the local regional center were attempting, through a Sex Offenders Active Reorientation System, to place four sex offenders together in a home in a Southern California community. On one hand, they say these sex offenders are no danger to the community. If that is true, why would they need full-time supervision and security costing almost $600 per pervert per day (total cost: more than $800,000 to house these four for a single year)? At that price, it would be just as cost inefficient simply to keep them in the state hospitals without disturbing innocent families in the Phelan area. This project was stopped, but look for more of these coming soon possibly to a neighborhood near you.
With all due respect, cutting out those services, and controlling bureaucratic expenses, wont throw anyone out of his wheel chair. It may cost a bureaucrat or two their jobs. And it is these bureaucrats who draw up and approve their own budgets. Somehow they just cant see the wisdom of eliminating their jobs, so they scare already frightened disabled people into protesting. It is shocking; it is distressing, but it is true.
The governor has said no, and the battle is joined. Stay tuned to see if we can actually control spending on these programs, or if the bureaucrats who profit from the system can dodge the budget bullet again by hiding behind the wheel chairs.