I truly sympathize with friends in Valley agribusiness, faced with being shut down for the lack of food safety inspectors if those federal budget cuts go through. They can’t operate without USDA inspectors.
But ask yourself: If you were the secretary of agriculture with over a year to prepare for a single-digit percentage cut, what would you do? Would you (a) seek authority to broadly define your program, so that you could cut convention travel and diversity training and bonuses, leaving food safety inspections in place? Or would you (b) do nothing, let the cuts approach, and do everything possible to maximize the pain of the cuts — that is, plan to lay off inspectors and shut down agribusiness?
If you picked (b), you get the way Big Government works. If you picked (a), you’re an old-school public servant and you have no place in government today.
Under the circumstances, I’m for paying the ransom and freeing the hostages. But I’m also for recognizing this for the game it is — and one day having the citizens retake control of their own budget, through the ballot box.