Washington Libertarian Review

Political commentary from the State of Washington with a libertarian perspective.

Friday, December 24, 2004

This spending program is mental.

From the December 16, 2003 Tacoma Weekly, this gem:

"Starting next year the federal government will no longer allow regional support networks - local agencies which administer Title XIX funds - to spend money on people who do not qualify for Title XIX funding."

Starting next year?

Ok, that's not the real problem. The puzzler is why it makes sense at all to collect up money in Washington State, send it off to Washington D.C. , where the politicians and federal bureaucrats skim it, then send back what's left along with a raft of federal rules governing how the money is spent.

Why not cut out the "middle-man"? The State of Washington is big enough and powerful enough to collect for, and administer, all aspects of public funding for care of the mentally ill. Absolutely no good comes of having the feds intervene - all at great expense.

Title XIX is currently funded with equal contributions from the state and feds. But, the state actually performs the day-to-day administration of the entire program. The federal money merely arrives as a lump-sum distribution.

The Tacoma Weekly reports that local mental health agencies are about to suffer a $41 million cut in appropriations from the feds. We could fix that by keeping all the money here in Washington, rather than funding the federal agencies that merely give back part of our money.

Since Washington State already administers the program, there really is no reason for the feds to be involved at all. We'll just keep all the money right here - thank you very much. The savings ought to be at least $41 million a year, and we can once again fully fund mental health programs.

If we get rid of federal participation, we'll not only save millions, we'll also be freed of all the federal rules and regulations, allowing people here to spend the money in a way that makes sense for us, even if that's not the way politicians living in Washington D.C. think we should spend our money.

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