Lexington Herald Leader columnist Larry Dale Keeling looks into the abyss of state government obligations and comes away with his faith in the status quo unshaken:
“Democrats spread the gospel of raising new revenue as a means of avoiding a “scorched earth” destiny for various state agencies and services.”
“Where this gospel is concerned, Republicans play the role of skeptical agnostics who think the revenue situation for the current fiscal year may not be as grim as the projections (from the independent Consensus Forecasting Group) suggest.”
“Reality probably lies somewhere between the two extremes, although closer to the D gospel than the R agnosticism. There will be a significant revenue shortfall this fiscal year, and most likely a bigger shortfall next year. And dealing with those shortfalls without additional revenue will require severe cuts in some state services.”
Agnosticism is generally defined as a belief that gaining knowledge of certain truths is impossible. It is used here by Keeling to connote a willful ignorance of reality. He applies this term, of course, to people who don’t want tax increases and prefer to trim government back to an affordable level rather than continuing the well-established trend of endless growth in spending.
At a time in which more people are starting to doubt Keynesian othodoxy just as government rent seekers pursue bailouts with missionary zeal, it’s funny to see local commentators clinging to the old religion.