Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Who cares about people?

I read something in the State News that accurately depicts the mindset of too many politicians today - primarily Republicans. It was said by Terry Denbow, spokesman for MSU, about our lawmakers budget deal that will cut millions of dollars from higher education:
"The disinvestment action Friday was indicative of a core problem in our state," he said. "Higher education is deemed more an expense than an investment."
The cuts could result in double-digit tuition increases for thousands of college students, but that doesn't matter to state Republicans who were adamantly opposed to any tax increase. The Flint Journal calls their actions "callous political maneuvering."

I think callous pretty much hits the nail on the head. State Republicans essentially put their Grover Norquist, no-tax constituents ahead of Michigan's college students, but who cares if they have to pay more to get an education? It's more important to serve the interests of a minority of anti-tax zealots.

Investing in people isn't important to President Bush either according to the CBPP:
The President’s budget for fiscal year 2008 proposes to cut $2 billion (5 percent) from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), compared to the 2007 funding level, adjusted for inflation.[1] The deepest cuts would be made in housing for the elderly and disabled (a 29 percent cut), Community Development Block Grants (a 22 percent cut), public housing (an 8 percent cut), and Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (a 5 percent cut) ...

The President is proposing these cuts despite evidence that growing numbers of low-income families have serious housing affordability problems. Some 15 million low-income households have rent and utility costs that are unaffordable under federal standards (i.e., costs that exceed 30 percent of their modest incomes).
Who cares if the poor, disabled or elderly can't afford to put a roof over their head? It's more important to continue to pass along tax cuts to the rich or fund this illegal war that's making millions for contractors.

To be fair, some politicians get it. Some politicians understand that we need to invest in people. Take this example from Lucas County, Ohio:

Lucas County offering needy families $200 gasoline cards/Officials hope $1.5M program will help workers keep jobs
The initiative will be announced at a press conference today at the Speedway gas station on Central Avenue and Holland-Sylvania Road in Sylvania Township. The county partnered with Speedway because they offered cards that can only be used for fuel and not other items sold inside the gas stations.

This is the second year of the gas card program.

[...] There is about $1.5 million available for the program this year, which is funded through the state Prevention, Retention, and Compliance program, a part of the federal Office of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

[...] "It really is pretty helpful, especially for some of our single families that are struggling," said Deb Ortiz-Flores, executive director of the local Job and Family Services.

She said the cost of transportation is one of the greatest employment obstacles faced by residents in Lucas County.
Getting a higher education is right up there at the top of that list too, but who cares? Not Michigan's callous politicians.


expatbrian said...

Welcome back! I tried twice to post a long comment on your first post back but it didn't work either time...

Kathy said...

Expat, sorry about that. I love the internet, but sometimes it leaves me very frustrated.

I know you left a comment earlier that Vegas was one of your favorite places. I didn't dislike Vegas, but I'm not the type to like pretension and phoniness and the strip is all phony. It was nice to see though.

On the other hand, I probably had the most fun on Fremont Street. I think that must be the blue-collar version of the strip. The drinks were cheaper and the people were more fun. We saw a band that played for free there that you would have loved. They played Stevie Ray, Cash, CCR, Seeger, etc. They had the people dancing on the sidewalk, literally. It wasn't totally fun and carefree though. Several homeless people with obvious mental problems enjoyed the music, which was great, but my heart felt pain for them because it was so obvious they needed help. It was nice to see the authorities didn't run them off though. I doubt they would have been treated as generously on the strip itself - it would have ruined their "image."