One if by Land, Two if by Budget Cut

root - Posted on 01 January 2000

by Bruce Allison and Thorton Kimes

SSI and SSP will be cut by $20 a month beginning July, 2009. This will create a deficit in the personal budgets of anyone with a disability, or seniors enrolled in those programs. California pays $200 more on these grants than the federal government, which gives The Governator room to cut and still give more than other states. The President’s Stimulus package makes it possible for the cut to be only $5 a month by this poverty scholar’s math.

Other cuts devastating to poor folks include cutting home care workers’ pay from $11 to $9 per hour. Many home care workers are providing services for their own parents or other relatives in need of their help; many home care workers provide these services instead of working in other fields for more money--they could even have ended up being some of the people we love to hate for the current state of the economy, except that they had a conscience and chose to help family.

These workers have been helping the California economy by keeping them at home instead of in more expensive nursing facilities. A great example of this is Poor Magazine’s own Tiny Lisa Gray Garcia, who was her own mother’s care giver as well as being a mother herself—and running a fabulous publication—before becoming Communications Director of Justice Matters, a non-profit advocacy organization that helps youth of color get a better education.

People who receive MediCal benefits are also going under the knife, as the Governator is now calling dentistry, vision, podiatry, chiropractic, acupuncture, and some psychiatric out-patient services “cosmetic”. This will inevitably take patients straight to the Emergency Room of the nearest hospital, spending the money Schwarzenegger wants to save anyway.

Last of the knife cuts is to families of three or more, cutting their monthly CalWorks grant from $760 to $690. Many of my friends and Poor Magazine co-writers will be enduring this particular indignity. After paying the rent and utilities there will only be $300 left to get through the month. This is tough for a single person to do, let alone a family.

Please think of them as having some dignity in their lives. It is hard enough to ask someone else for help, they did not ask for this and do not deserve it. Please ask/demand that the Governator change these decisions, as there are other cuts he could make to save money that wouldn’t hurt anyone. Disabled and Senior folks in the state prison system could be paroled and save approximately $100 million.

There are some other solutions this poverty scholar would like to make, but they are not very polite, so dear readers, you must use your imaginations. Consider this article an exercise in anger management!


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