Sometimes you just have to do a double-take to make sure you're seeing things right. When I first saw this story I had two almost simultaneous impulses: it was either April Fools' Day, or I had accidentally pulled up The Onion or Scrappleface. But no, friends, this one is true. Much as I looked for it, no parody here:
Facing a budget deficit that has passed the $1 billion mark, House Democrats Thursday offered a spending plan that would buy a MP3 player or iPod for every school child in Michigan.
Huh? Oh wait, let me turn down my iPod, the one that my husband paid GOOD money for. Maybe if he'd waited, the state would have bought all my kids one and I could have borrowed theirs for free!
Even the editorial page at the Detroit News, never a bastion of fiscal restraint, is aghast:
I think this year I'll wait before making the kids' Christmas lists. You never know. Texas has been pretty "progressive" lately.
The Democrats, led by their increasingly erratic speaker Andy Dillon of Redford Township, also pledge $100 million to make better downtowns.
Their plan goes beyond cluelessness. Democrats are either entirely indifferent to the idea that extreme hard times demand extreme belt tightening, or they are bone stupid. We lean toward the latter.
We say that because the House plan also keeps alive, again without specifics, the promise of tax hikes.
The range of options, according to Rep. Steve Tobocman, D-Detroit, includes raising the income tax, levying a 6 percent tax on some services, and taxing junk food and soda.
We wonder how financially strained Michigan residents will feel about paying higher taxes to buy someone else's kid an iPod.
And...if it goes through, my next order of business will be lobbying for a commensurate tax expenditure on the grownups:
Whaddaya think? Anyone want to walk the halls of Austin with me??