Time to think twice about our priorities?
On a day when every resident of the Pacific Rim is grateful for advanced warning systems, we are reminded of the essential services that government agencies provide. Certainly, fishermen in California who got their boats out of the water this morning as the Japanese tsunami approached are grateful for those who work around-the-clock to protect lives and property.
But essential services now face the chopping block in Washington, DC.
On February 20, 2010 the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported…
The union representing National Weather Service workers says budget cuts proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives could jeopardize public safety and increase the severity of disaster losses in Hawaii.
"People could die. ... It could be serious," said Barry Hirshorn, Pacific region chairman of the National Weather Service Employees Organization.
Hirshorn said that if a continuing resolution proposed by the U.S. House is enacted — triggering a 28 percent budget cut in the second half of the fiscal year — Weather Service employees as well as those at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center could face furloughs and rolling closures….
U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said the cuts are focused on reducing or eliminating programs that relate to climate and ocean monitoring.
"Those who claim that global warming is a myth find the hard data produced by such monitoring inconvenient," she said.
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, called the proposed cuts in the Republican spending bill "reckless." "Drastically reducing the ... ability to forecast weather and alert our communities about imminent, dangerous events is irresponsible," Hanabusa said.
The time has come to question those who claim all government agencies are wasteful or can be easily privatized.
But that’s just the opinion of someone with a family living at sea-level on the Pacific Rim.