From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/151275/death_by_budget_cut%3A_why_conservatives_and_some_dems_have_blood_on_their_hands/
There is no room for compromise when dealing with budget cuts that will surely cost innocent lives.
By Rania Khalek
June 13, 2011
June 13, 2011
Politicians, the media and the power elite tell us that state and local government budget shortfalls are the result of lavish compensation packages paid to teachers, police officers and firefighters along with "entitlements" such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. The truth is that the economic crisis, sparked by decades of deregulation and greedy financial firms, caused high levels of unemployment that dramatically reduced state and local tax revenues. Add to that years of tax cuts for the wealthy and decades of corporate tax-dodging, and you've got yourself a budget crisis.
Conservatives clearly intend to exploit budget crises to starve government. And some Democratic politicians are also cutting services to balance their budgets. In their quest to render government incapable of providing for its citizens, conservatives, with the help of their fellow acquiescing Democrats, are exacting an irreversible and deadly toll that has gone largely ignored by the mainstream press. So it is up to us to bring attention to the disastrous consequences austerity has wrought.
A new trend in spending reduction forced upon cities and states is cuts to emergency response. Take Philadelphia, which last August began implementing "rolling brownouts," a cost-cutting measure that forced the fire department to close fire stations on a daily rotating basis. At the time, firefighters argued that the brownouts would delay response times, possibly causing preventable injury and death.
This past February their warnings became reality when two children, ages 7 and 9, were pulled from a burning row home too little too late. As it turns out, the nearest fire station was temporarily shutdown due to the brownouts. Mike Kane of the Philadelphia Firefighters Union Local 22 said there was no way to tell whether the children would have lived had the fire station been open, but if not for the brownouts, "maybe them kids would have had a shot."
This wasn't the first time brownouts produced fatal consequences in Philadelphia. In August 2010, a fire broke out and spread to four homes, killing 12-year-old Frank Marasco. The firehouse serving Marasco's neighborhood was closed that night due to the brownouts.