Am I hearing this right? If Louisiana wants to fund healthcare and education, we have to pay higher gas prices? Excuse me?
I ask this question because, every time I read something about the state's budget crises, one of the "reasons" postulated for it is the lower oil prices. So my understanding (sorry, not an economist here) is that, in order to have the money to fund these two areas, oil prices need to stay high.
Am I not understanding this correctly? It seems too simplistic. What I do know is that these two areas are not protected, so they are always the first two categories that are slashed. That, of course, puts us last or next-to-last in the US in those categories--consistently--crisis or no.
I think what bothers me the most is Louisiana, as a state, doesn't seem to value education--period. And, I guess, it doesn't value health, either. So we have uneducated, unhealthy people living here. Which doesn't recommend it, does it?
I think my mother captures some of the mentality, as far as education is concerned. She told me once, "The more educated a person is, the less that person believes in God," as though education and faith were mutually exclusive, something I don't believe at all.
We need to get over that in order to progress. If we don't have an educated workforce, the most we can hope to attract, business-wise, are companies that rely on unskilled labor. And while we may be attracting more non-agriculture jobs, do those jobs make use of college-educated residents? Not entirely. Do we want that? Do we want our college-educated, white-collar force to desert the state to find jobs that pay it for its intelligence and education?
This whole situation just chaps me. State legislators who spent us into this crisis, whoever they are, should lose their jobs. Any state legislator who voted him/herself a pay raise in the last two years should have to give that money back, especially when many workers haven't received raises in at least that many years. And any state legislator who filled budgets with pet pork projects should be barbequed over the spit of public opinion.
We have to start paying attention to what these people are doing. We have to raise our voices and tell them to pay attention and do what's right for Louisiana and the people who live here.