You often hear the mantra about cutting the budget when talking about government spending.  We recently had the sequester, which cut significant amounts of money to numerous government agencies.  However few people realize what these cuts truly mean, other than perhaps slightly lowering a person’s or business’s tax bill.

A truly disturbing story from the Sacramento Bee chronicles a lawsuit filed by California against Nevada for the “state-sanctioned practice of improperly transporting indigent psychiatric patients” from Nevada to California.  In effect poor psychiatric patients were given one-way bus tickets out-of-state with no escorts, medication, or food – many of them to California.  California is suing to recoup the cost to their social services programs.

The article points out that the “state’s aggressive busing practices coincide with funding cuts that slashed Nevada’s mental health budget by 28 percent between 2009 and 2012.”

It’s hard to imagine any organization that can operate effectively when their budget is cut by 28% in three years.

The article tells the unfortunate story of a man who turned up at a Sacramento homeless shelter confused and suicidal after a 15 hour bus ride from Las Vegas.  The man knew no one in Sacramento and was told by doctors at the time he was discharged from the Nevada psychiatric facility to dial 911 when he arrived in the city.  This story is almost too terrible to believe.  You can read the full article by clicking here.

As a person who advocates daily for the rights of vulnerable people, this story is particularly angering.  Gandhi once said that “a nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”  Perhaps this is something to reflect upon in light of this article.