Just as the federal government gets a recruiting effort underway to convince low-income, elderly Americans to enroll in the new Medicare prescription drug benefit program, we receive a news flash from the Bush administration. You know, the "compassionate conservative" crowd.
The news is simple, harsh and, in many cases, downright cruel.
Seniors who sign up for the drug program will likely see their Food Stamps cut back.
Rationale: since these older Americans will spend less of their limited funds on medication, they will have more to spend on food and will not need the same level of support as before on grocery store purchases.
Does anyone in Washington understand poverty, even a little bit?
Does anyone know what life is like for low-income grandparents? How about widows and widowers whose income is just above, at or below the poverty level?
I think not.
Fact: elderly Americans--millions of them--choose each week whether to purchase food or medication.
Fact: an increased prescription drug benefit will not lessen the need for funds to buy food among this part of our population. The help with their meds will actually allow them to buy enough food to survive on, in some cases for the first time in years. If they realize a gain in net, basic benefit, is that really a bad thing? In this case value, health and hope is being added to lives!
Fact: more and more inner city residents who use our services here at Central Dallas Ministries are elderly. On the days we offer our monthly programs designed for this part of the community, our center is jammed packed with retired and aging Dallasites.
Come on, Mr. President. You can do better than this. I can promise you one thing for certain. The guy you are always claiming to follow as "Savior and Lord" understood compassion much differently than you do. As a matter of fact, he was never conservative with it. Not once.
After all, how many houses, cars, yachts, vacation escapes and dividends do the people at the top of our economy. . .you know, the ones made rich by the labor of some of these same elderly people. . .how much more do they really need?