Despite assertions late last year and early this year that West Virginia was weathering the recession in fine fashion, we had our doubts.
Then layoffs hit our region en masse, and we had a clearer picture of the emerging crisis. Now we have more evidence. Gov. Joe Manchin estimated that nearly $200 million will have to be cut from the state’s proposed budget.
The news isn’t any better on the national front as President Obama received news that his budget would produce $9.3 trillion in deficits over the next decade, an untenable prospect to say the least.
OK, so maybe we can’t simply spend our way out of a deep recession. Adding to the mix is the Federal Reserve’s decision to print $1.2 trillion to pump into the economy that could trigger double-digit inflation not a good thing when families are struggling to stay afloat.
Obama was right when he said that it took a long time to get into this mess, and it will take a long time to work ourselves out.
Gov. Manchin, for his part, plans to curb spending instead of opting for tax hikes, across-the-board cuts, layoffs or tapping stimulus dollars to close the gap. He says the only area of the budget that will remain sacrosanct from the ax is state aid to public schools to be spent at the classroom level.
Of course, if economic conditions continue to deteriorate, Manchin may have to backtrack on his pledge.
But we hope our elected leaders on all levels do the right thing for their constituents, and not what seems to be politically expedient.
Tough choices will have to be made in the coming months, and some of them will be politically unpopular. Our representatives in the statehouse and the U.S. Congress have an unenviable job in the current economic climate, but they need to step up to the plate and deliver.