Canary in a Coalmine

Saturday, April 23, 2011
I haven't really discussed the loss of my job with anyone, except maybe Diane. I noted earlier that I wasn't really surprised that it happened. In fact, in some ways I was grateful that they let me go early. I think having to work out my contract through end of June would have been exceptionally difficult.

Still, losing a job is always a blow to your psychic being. I try not to make my job who I am, but we all identify with what we do. I suppose that is the way of things, especially when you do something for seven years. I am grateful for the experience the job afforded me and I enjoyed working there. All things end though.

My job loss is not what this blog post is about. In an era of decreasing tax revenue a vast majority of people are claiming that we need to cut the deficit, which means cutting services. My place of employment was supported by local taxes, but as this recession as has worn on, we saw a 43% decrease in tax revenues last year. As small towns wrestle with dwindling resources, coupled with states slashing budgets and congress trying to end any federal support to the states, the next wave of unemployed will be public workers.

Everybody hates government waste and bureaucracies, but what are we cutting? Should we be increasing classroom sizes by cutting teachers? Should we be cutting social workers and by fiat, access to social services? Is this the time to cut workforce service employees during record unemployment? It seems that when cuts are discussed on the national and state levels, the bogeymen trotted out as being the problem are the poor and those who help them.

In the end, those who don't have a voice will suffer. Like canaries in coal mines, they will be the first to feel the effects of this toxic political atmosphere.

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