OMG Helena Brown Was Right! We Are Drowning in Debt (Or Are We? Susan Combs Decides)

Apparently, Susan Comb's plan involves child labor to get us out of debt.
Quick, someone find a fiscal cliff to jump from.

Susan Combs, the Texas comptroller of public accounts, released a report Wednesday saying we're all screwed. Public debt at the local level -- including community colleges, municipalities, school districts, etc. -- has more than doubled in the last decade from $87 billion in 2001 to $193 billion in 2011.

Somewhere, Helena Brown, our local fiscal hawk who's always harrumphing about this ambiguous and heretofore unsubstantiated debt crush, is high-fiving everyone in sight. Sweet, sweet vindication. Breathe it in, all. The stench of debt is in the air.

McComb's graphic

Under the banner of transparency, Combs' report chastises local government for spending irresponsibly, saying "all tax-supported entities have an obligation to adhere to the same financial management and monitoring standards that you maintain for your home or business." Later in the report, Texas is highlighted as having the 10th lowest debt ranking among the 10 most populous states. But then, on a local level, Texas ranks second-highest behind New York as the most debt-ridden state.

This isn't an aberration. With the Tea Party wielding the machinations of state politics, the buck, more or less, has been passed down to the local level. That means, when Gov. Rick Perry pledges to boldly balance the budget and cut spending, he's really telling your local school district or city administration: "You make up the difference. Me, I've got a tremendously awful presidential campaign to run."

"This surprised me that (Combs) would be so critical in such a broad-brush fashion of local officials," Rice University Political Scientist Bob Stein tells Hair Balls. "They're not coping with a bad economy -- quite the opposite. They're coping with a state that's drastically under-funding them. And as a result, they're trying to find money that the state has promised them."

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This worry about excessive debt during an economic downturn is so wrong-headed. Witness the wonders of debt cutting austerity in Ireland and Spain,  where the youth celebrate an unemployment rate of 50% and people forage for food in trash bins. Government debt IS NOT like household debt, but try telling these simpletons.

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