Legislators say thousands of teachers and state employees would lose their jobs if $700 million in federal stimulus money is used to pay down debt instead of on government operations. Gov. Mark Sanford insists that if legislators would just follow his blueprint for state spending, they could forego the federal funds and still avoid laying off teachers and other vital state employees.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that his budget is as realistic as he would have us believe. Even so, the key word here is "vital."
Mr. Sanford isn't saying state employees wouldn't be laid off. He can't. In fact, his whole plan for balancing the budget demands a smaller work force. What do you think making state government more efficient means?
Even before the recession, when people were voluntarily leaving their jobs at a fairly steady clip, we couldn't have achieved the efficiencies he promises simply through attrition, because that wouldn't result in the "right" people leaving.
The only way you could shutter a couple of branch campuses of USC, to name one of the governor's more provocative proposals, is by firing most of the people who work there.
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