Sunday, August 27, 2006

"Our" Quality of Life Should Matter

Reflecting earlier this week on what it would be like to wake up as Mayor of Dallas, Texas got me to thinking about the importance of looking at life as a people through the lense of "us" or "we."

"I" or "me" or "my" or "mine" just doesn't get it.

Here we arrive at the fundamental problem with American politics and goverance today. It's not hard to see every day in the city.

Those of us who read The Dallas Morning News woke up to it yesterday. The new federal budget, passed and signed early in 2006 in Washington means that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott must lay off 1,750 employees who work in the child support payment division of his shop. Mr. Abbott estimates that because of these cuts child support collections would drop by $2 billion just this year.

Nice move.

Part of the federal "deficit-reduction bill" takes $2,000,000,000.00 out of the pockets of the most vulnerable children in Texas.

Let's see. Already Mr. Abbott had planned on laying off 87 employees because his boss, our governor, Rick Perry, told him and all other state agencies and departments to come up with ways to trim the state's budget by 10%.

Of course, the child support collections department shouldn't feel singled out. The federal and state cuts gouge the operations budgets of every agency and department in the state designed to aid the weak, the poor and the ill.

Even Child Protective Services (CPS), the agency that attempts to protect our children from abuse and neglect, is included in the list. Central Dallas Ministries just signed its second annual contract with CPS to provide services to some of these young people.

Just one more example, as if we needed another one, of the priority of "I" and "me" versus the common good for the "us" and the "we" of our city, state and nation.

I hope we wake up soon to the truth that when all are cared for more adequately, all of us do better. Robbing children of benefits today will come back to haunt us. The tab for neglecting children who need us to be responsible today will have to be paid at some point.

I pray that people of faith would embrace their sacred traditions and speak out for all of "us."

It is past time. What in the world are we thinking?


Anonymous said...

Why couldn't child support be taken out of the check like taxes, that way it wouldn't require hundreds of staff? The present system doesn't look very efficient to me.

John Greenan said...

Normally child support is taken out of a paycheck. But people change jobs, become self-employed, quit working, work under the table, etc. That's why it takes so much effort to collect child support some times.

Mike Exum said...


Mike Exum said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daniel Gray said...

Disappointing... I interned with CPS last year, and at that point, the state was focused on expanding CPS in light of a few cases that went wrong (big news stories) and the need for more manpower. That's what's really obnoxious is the constant expanding/contracting by the government.

They really need to stop sending mixed messages about the welfare of ALL of their citizens.

Anonymous said...

So, once again, we punish the poor, the weak and the helpless in order to allow the rich to pay fewer taxes.


How much longer til the Poor Man's Revolution?

MommyHAM said...

Amen, Larry!

I'm frustrated by it too...and all the more determined to do what I can. Keep an eye on an upcoming blog post for my plans post-statewide homeless count (which is tomorrow! Please pray!).........

Jeremy Gregg said...

MommyHAM: Where will the count be posted? Could you post a link to it on LJ's blog after it comes out, so we all can find it?

MommyHAM said...


The Count results will likely take 6 months to code-ify and quantify - we are anticipating 27,000 pieces of paper to be returned to the state (of Colorado), some of which will be representative of multiple people (families), and some of which will not actually be homeless persons and will have to be thrown out of the numbers.

I will be giving a preliminary report on Larimer County, i.e. how many surveys were returned, how many were "actually" homeless (the methodology we are using is that we don't determine if someone is homeless, the survey does), etc. sometime next week.

The statewide data is likely to be posted at
in addition to several newspapers. I will link up on my blog and come point it out here :)

I do have a post up about prayer requests for tonight on my blog - come check it out; I'm coveting all the prayers I can get!