How could you let that happen?

I have written before how legislators can play a heavy hand in creating the circumstances for something to happen, then when something bad does happen, say “How could you let that happen?” An example I have used a few times is when funding is cut and social workers are asked to take on 160 clients when the most effective client to social worker is rate is more like 16 to 1. You do not need to be good in math to recognize that is ten times the number of clients each should have.

So, when something bad happens to a family or person being served out of the 160, the legislators will claim “how could you let that happen?” This frustrates me as I see first hand the hard job social workers have and how many qualified ones are quite excellent at what they do. They are counselors, mentors, nudges, shoulders to cry on and providers of some tough love when needed. Yet, the countless times they do their job does not make the news. Only when they don’t makes the news.

In North Carolina, this story is highlighted once again when short-staffed prison guards are put in harm’s way. This apparently is not unique to NC, as I see bill boards advertising the need for prison guards in other states. Earlier this year, a female prison guard in a male prison was beaten to death by a prisoner. She was overseeing about forty prisoners in an onsite work program. She had been fearful for her safety given this oversight long before she was killed.

The NC General Assembly who cut funding on staff and salaries set up the circumstances for this to happen. And, yet last week, the two chamber leaders politicized the issue and laid blame on the new governor for not doing enough. Per The Charlotte Observer today, the editors said this is a new level of chutzpah. They likened it to a child killing his parents then asking for leniency since he was an orphan. It is some chutzpah to cut funding and ask “how could you let this happen?”

This is not the first time nor will it be the last. But, I do not care what political party you are, we cannot tolerate and condone these kinds of statements and behavior. Do not take your sand toys home, then claim other kids do not want to play with you. That is a child’s story not a so called leader’s. The fact the US President does it is no excuse.

15 thoughts on “How could you let that happen?

  1. Dear Keith,

    Your line of thinking was my main complaint against the republicans conducting multiple investigations into the Benghazi debacle. These same republicans did not approve the requests by the US Department of State personnel for the funds to improve the security for US embassies and compounds abroad. But they have the finger pointing down to an art form.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, your point is dead on accurate. To me, this reeks of hypocrisy. The current President is all over himself saying the Bangladesh bombed in NYC.would have not been let in on his watch, yet he fails to realize he has made America less safe with his anti-Muslim rhetoric and decisions. Keith

  2. Regrettably Keith this is something which is all too common in Public Service throughout the world. Every govt. tries to get the work done as cheaply as opposed to as effectively as possible. We have regular ‘scandals’ in the UK involving child murders by family members and the overworked undertrained social workers are hung out to dry by sanctimonious politicians who previously had voted budgets cuts. They of course can get away with this because they voted as a herd.
    As effective state does not run well without an efficient, responsible and accountable public service; this does not come cheap.

      • Quite Keith, but folk never learn.
        Public Services 101.
        ‘Tax Cut’
        Response: ‘Show me the maths and the consequences!’

      • Roger, cutting social workers and prison guards is easy. They don’t have enough money to be big donors. The consequences are what happens when you do cut them. Politicians like to say that is not my problem. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: From the suggested reading below this post, I see evidence that I have written a variation of this post at least twice. I guess this qualifies as a redundant topic.

  4. Re your note about this being a redundant topic… of course, it is – and sadly, probably will be one again. Politicians love to trumpet that they are cutting taxes, but there is no further thought to what is being gutted… until a disaster happens. Fortunately for them, plenty of voters don’t connect the dots either.

    • Janis, thanks and you are sadly correct. What is interesting, an example exists in our State Dept, where we have ceded a huge advantage by severely cutting back on our ambassador corp. Trump says we don’t need them because we have him, which shows precisely why we do. Keith

      • What I don’t understand is how the GOP let itself become so monstrous? I remember Conservatives when they worked to unite with Democrats after an election. Now everything is framed as a partisan attack and the Senate sits quietly as the President commits treason. It’s unthinkable and real.
        It must be especially disappointing for real Conservatives.

      • Rob, excellent points. I don’t mind folks having Conservative beliefs. In fact, I think many people are blends of conservative and progressive beliefs, like I am. What I don’t like is what you have described, an unwillingness to work together and belief only their ideas are true. I also don’t care for the use of faulty, even deceitful data, to support positions. Keith

  5. Great post, Keith! Idaho’s prison system has seen its share of woes, too. It is overcrowded and understaffed. For a while the state trucked prisoners off to other states and that didn’t go well. Then they hired a private contractor. That went less well. They will probably cut indigent funding to increase prison funding in the next go round. Sigh.

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