Imagine the torment a parent feels when their kids lack food, clothing, or a safe place to sleep. This month thousands of Michigan children will be deprived of food, clothing, and shelter, and thousands of Michigan parents will be plunged into despair.
If this were an act of God or an unforeseen attack by a foreign power it would at least be understandable. But this terrible misfortune is the result of cold-blooded decisions made by the Michigan governor, Michigan House of Representatives, and Michigan Senate to yank essential support from poor people.
This month 3,300 Michigan families will lose Medicaid health insurance, 11,000 families will lose cash assistance grants, 124,000 children will lose their clothing allowance, 34,000 people will lose food assistance (half of them children), 40,000 unemployed persons will lose their unemployment insurance benefits six weeks before expected, and 1,000 adults will lose their mental health services.
These cuts will bring suffering and premature death to thousands of Michiganders. With each succeeding month the number of people affected will grow. Most of the victims will be children and their mothers.
There used to be a bi-partisan consensus in the United States that even the least among us deserve a minimal standard of living, which includes adequate food, medical care, and a place to sleep. All of the welfare state programs enjoyed both Republican and Democratic sponsors. Even Ronald Reagan, who championed cuts to social welfare programs, claimed he would maintain a “safety net” to catch the truly needy.
The Tea Partiers who run our state now make no mention of a “safety net,” even for small children. Their sentiment is undisguised, a contemptuous sneer: “I’ve got mine, to Hell with you.”
Michigan can easily afford to maintain the limited social welfare programs that keep poor people from being tossed into the cold—for God’s sake, many of these people are little children! These cuts are calculated cruelty.
If you are interested in learning more about these devastating cuts in social services visit the Michigan League for Human Services web site at http://www.milhs.org. Gilda Jacobs, president of that group, will be guest speaker at the Royal Oak Area Democratic Club meeting on Saturday, November 5th, 10:00am at the Royal Oak Senior Center, 3500 Marais. Visit http://www.roadc.com for more information.