MassINC is now hosting a reader’s forum on the state budget in Massachusetts and the "point of reckoning" caused by an economic downturn and soaring health care costs. Daniel Winslow, who was the chief legal counsel to Gov. Mitt Romney, kicked things off with a provocative essay on ways to limit spending on social services, such as using "lifestyle analysis factors" to determine who is really in need:
For state entitlement eligibility, a simple LAF checklist can consider discretionary spending such as whether persons or households seeking free or discounted state services own property, have credit cards, hold bank accounts, or own a new car, multiple cars or a boat. The checklist could also consider whether an individual purchases cable television, Internet service, or premium cell phone service and whether they buy airline tickets, possess illegal drugs, or smoke a pack of cigarettes daily.
Is this the kind of reform that can solve our fiscal crisis? Is it fair or compassionate public policy?