MELTDOWN

Dire Straits for States

President Obama is running large deficits to spark the economy, but federal efforts are being undercut by major reductions in social services in most state budgets. While some of the $787 billion stimulus package is earmarked for aid to cash strapped states, The New York Times reports that the money will offset only 40 percent of the losses of revenues, resulting in cuts to vital programs in at least 34 states. State lawmakers now face heartbreaking choices as a result, as in Arizona, where home care visits to homebound elderly residents are being scaled back. Even worse, policy experts say many of these cuts will likely cost more than they save in the long run by eventually requiring more expensive fixes down the road.