Friday, January 06, 2006
Stiff the Poor. . .One More Time--Hats Off to Our Leaders in Congress!
I hate to keep banging on the same drum, but the situation is so ridiculous that I cannot ignore it again today.
The U. S. Congress likely will approve, with only slight changes, a national budget (800 pages is the document!) that will cut about $40 billion in spending over the next five years.
The savings will be achieved by hammering the poor.
Sick people who are poor will suffer more, while paying more for Medicaid. The changes will cause many poor people to forego treatment. The Congress knows this and plans on the savings from deferred treatment to be at about $4.8 billion over the five year period.
Let me repeat that. Your Congress is counting on people not using Medicaid to achieve this savings. Put another way, if you are poor and sick, this Congress expects you to not seek treatment and it knows that some will die as a result.
Over the next ten years, $8.4 billion in child support owed to single mothers and their children who have been left by husbands and/or fathers will go uncollected due to de-funding of the enforcement process. Way to go fearless leaders! The children thank you, as do their deadbeat dads!
Oh, and don't forget Supplemental Security Income. This is disability income for people who are physically or mentally disabled. The new plan is to systematically (see the post on yesterday!) delay payments for up to a year for those who are determined to be eligible.
Do you know how hard it is to qualify for SSI already? Now comes our Congress to add insult to injury with a policy that says, "Yes, we know you are disabled, but you'll just have to deal with it on your own for another year before your approved benefits kick in."
The largest "saving" or cuts come from college loan programs--the largest cuts in the history of the federal student loan program. Two-thirds of the savings will be carried on the backs of students and their families.
This should be great for improving the quality of our national workforce, don't you think?
If education is one of the essential ingredients for escaping poverty, this Congress is doing all it can to insure that more and more students from low-income families never escape.
I say we need new leaders with a larger, more inclusive vision for the future of this country.