Where to make cuts

April 14, 2011 1:43:00 PM PDT
If we slashed most government services, and imposed only a minimal amount of tax on peoples' incomes, would that grow the economy?

There are some in Washington who believe that.

If we grew the government and slapped enormous taxes on income, would that be the answer for the economic malaise?

There are some in Washington who believe that, although they are a different lot than the ones who believe in the first question.

The truth, most would say, lies somewhere in between. And it's figuring out what that in-between should be that's at the heart of the current budget battle.

We can jawbone and debate all we want about cuts in government services and the depleted budgets of various municipalities, but it sometimes seems removed, emotionally and practically.

Then we start to see the human ramifications of what we're creating with this slash-and-burn strategy, and it suddenly seems not-at-all removed.

What's happening in Paterson, New Jersey seems a good case in point. No one would argue that Paterson is a city plagued by crime and violence, and that more cops, not fewer, might be needed.

But the city is in financial trouble, and cutting the police department, a government service has been on the table.

And now the layoffs begin. A quarter of the Paterson Police Department force is being laid off, or about 125 officers.

Half of them handed in their badges and weapons today, four days early because of the department's marathon shift scheduling. The cops' last day of actual work is today.

Police officials worry, as do many citizens, that the crime problem which already is infectious will get worse.

We're in Paterson tonight at 11, as the layoffs begin.

Also at 11, a sea change of television programming now underway. ABC-TV, which this television station is a part, says that two of its three daytime soap operas will stop production and stop airing over the next 8 months. "All My Children" and "One Life To Live" on the air for decades and two of the most successful soaps in TV history will air their final episodes in September and January, respectively.

Replacing them will be two new shows "The Chew," about food, and "The Revolution," about health and lifestyle "transformations."

We're also taking a closer look at digital pictures and how best to organize them. It's a big issue for many people including this reporter. If you take a lot of digital pictures and if you upload them to your computer you know that unless you're really on top of them, they can quickly become disorganized. Tonight, from Consumer Reports, some important tips and suggestions about to protect your valuable pictures.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

PS: I will be gone tomorrow, so this column will resume on Monday, April 18.


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