From Rasmussen Reports:
Voters tend to like President Obama’s idea of free community college for millions of students – as long as it doesn’t cost them anything.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 47% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a new government program that would make community college tuition-free. Thirty-nine percent (39%) are opposed. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
From Constant Commoner:
When people in that “gap” group need healthcare, it’s usually received at local ERs and paid for by a combination of taxpayer dollars and insurance premiums adjusted to fit the cost of that care. What Medicaid expansion will do is shift most of the cost of that care to the federal government.
Let’s expand Medicaid
Free College. Free Health coverage. Free, Free, Free from the federal government! It kind of sounds like Matthew Lesko on television telling people to buy his book because of all the free stuff we can get. But of course, it isn’t free. We either pay from one pocket, or it gets squeezed out of another. The more government does for us, the more it’s going to cost us.
And the more the federal government does, the fewer decisions South Dakota Legislators can make.
Earlier this year, Northern Plains News service noted in a story how South Dakota is one of the most dependent states on federal funds. And that makes sense, given the national need for highways, our expansive geography, as well as hosting several federal Indian Reservations. But with those funds come those strings. And as we’ve experienced with Obamacare, it requires states to do a lot, and it dictates those things with great detail.
Back in 2008, The Heritage Foundation wrote a report about Federal Funds and State Fiscal Independence. In other words, what we have to give up for what we get:
Federal aid to states is not a new phenomenon. In 1929, federal aid to states accounted for 2 percent of state consumption expenditures. It spiked in the early 1930s, increasing to 12 percent, where it remained until the early 1960s.
As Chart 1 shows, the state dependency rate has risen significantly over the past half-century, especially since the introduction of Medicaid in 1965. The only period with a distinct decline is the Reagan years, when it fell from a peak of 33 percent during the Carter Administration to 25 percent by the end of the 1980s.
Chart 2 shows Medicaid spending as a percentage of total state expenditures since 1970, further underscoring Medicaid’s role in driving the rise in state spending over the past decades.
Moreover, as states become more dependent on federal funding, they begin to lose their ability to set priorities and make policy decisions that are best-suited to their specific needs. Federal aid to states streamlines how states spend money and, consequently, how they collect their revenues. Federal aid also makes it increasingly difficult for the states to pursue different fiscal policies based on the demographic, political, and other preferences of their residents.
On top of this, the spending on state–federal joint ventures blurs the lines of accountability between federal and state lawmakers. Voters find it increasingly difficult to determine whom to hold responsible.
Federal funds weaken incentives to restrain health care consumption. The public sees these services as “free,” which leads to an open-ended demand through programs such as Medicaid and SCHIP.
Federal aid to states also distorts incentives for state legislators. They are given a reason to expand their spending—usually unwisely—to meet Washington’s priorities and to maximize federal aid. Together with blurred accountability and the distorted consumer incentives, this perpetuates and aggravates state and individual dependence on federal funds.
From 2% to Federal Funding infusing nearly 45% into South Dakota’s budget in less than a century. People are calling for more and more. But at what cost?
There was a tremendous debate over South Dakota’s implementation of Obamacare, which we rejected as much as we could. The latest debate is over whether we should expand Medicaid, which we’ve resisted to date. The next one coming will likely be implementation for Obama’s college entitlement plan.
Where should the point be where we say “no?”