Facing a state budget crisis in July, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fired about 10,000 temporary and part-time workers and ordered the 200,000 permanent employees to be paid only the minimum wage of $6.55 an hour until the legislature passed a crisis-solving budget.
However, a week later the State Controller John Chiang pointed out that state payroll records could not be changed to accommodate the cut because they were written in the antiquated COBOL computer language, and virtually the only state employees who knew the code were some of the part-timers Schwarzenegger had just fired. [Sacramento Bee, 8-5-08]
London's Daily Mail profiled two 10-children British families in October to illustrate the inconsistencies of government benefit awards. Sean and Anne Tate and their children live on Sean's truck-driver salary of the equivalent of about $23,000 a year, plus the government's standard per-child benefit.
Harry Crompton has been out of work for 15 years, and his wife, Tracey, has never held a paid job, yet they receive the equivalent of $48,000 in various government benefits, which The Daily Mail said would require a tax-paying family to earn the equivalent of $68,000 a year to draw. The Daily Mail reporter also noted that the Tate home is immaculate and the Cromptons' home, messy. [Daily Mail, 10-17-08]
No pithy headling for this one because it's too grimly serious; this is what's called a slippery slope:
Two of Oregon's unique public health markers clashed dramatically for resident Barbara Wagner this summer when she was informed that the universal medical care available to everyone in the state (but with certain service restrictions) would not pay for her expensive lung cancer drug (because her five-year survival likelihood was poor), but was told, at the same time, that the state would pay for any necessary drugs under its Death With Dignity Law (i.e., suicide). [ABC News, 8-6-08]
Universal health care could mean sending the infirm to the glue factory to save you, the taxpayer, money. Dystopian science fiction has predicted this for years.
And here it is.