Showing posts with label poor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poor. Show all posts

Friday, April 26, 2013


The Democrats have lost on sequestration.

That’s the simple reality of Friday’s vote to ease the pain for the Federal Aviation Administration. By assenting to it, Democrats have agreed to sequestration for the foreseeable future.

In effect, what Democrats said Friday was that in any case where the political pain caused by sequestration becomes unbearable, they will agree to cancel that particular piece of the bill while leaving the rest of the law untouched. The result is that sequestration is no longer particularly politically threatening, but it’s even more unbalanced: Cuts to programs used by the politically powerful will be addressed, but cuts to programs that affects the politically powerless will persist. It’s worth saying this clearly: The pain of sequestration will be concentrated on those who lack political power.  (My emphasis)

There you have it.   If you're not a member of Congress, or if you're not wealthy or influential, forget about relief from consequences of the sequester.  If you're poor, or unemployed, or on Medicaid or Medicare, too bad for you.  Funding for scientific and medical research will be cut.  Good-bye to grants for art, music, and writing. 

So, Democrats, what's the plan?   Why did the sequester seem like a good idea?  Will you pull a magic rabbit out of a hat to fix the sorry mess the sequester has created?

Cuts in housing vouchers to 140,000 low-income families
Elimination of 70,000 Head Start slots
Cuts to Vista, which will hurt the program that performs antipoverty work in many states
An 11 percent cut in unemployment benefits for millions of jobless workers
Cuts of about $25 million from a program to provide free school breakfasts.
Cancer clinics across the country have begun turning away thousands of Medicare patients

What about cutting your salaries by 10%, members of Congress and Mr President?  I read somewhere that Obama had voluntarily taken a 5% cut in his salary, so he'd only need to volunteer another 5%. 

What are the chances that the cries of those who suffer severe consequences as a result of the sequester cuts will be heard?  Slim to none, I'd say.  Republicans like nothing better than cuts to programs that help "the least of these", and Democrats no longer seem to care.   

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


As some of you already know, I grew up poor.  My father was an alcoholic who did not work regularly.  My mother had a low-paying clerical job, and were it not for extended family, my mother, sisters, and I very likely could not have stayed afloat.  At some point, when I was around 12 or 13,  we moved in with my maternal grandparents, all five of us, including my father, with whom my grandmother did not get along.  (I can't think why.)  My grandparents came to the conclusion that they would have to help us if we were to have a place to live.  Although they had a large house, the arrangement with all five us living in the same house with my grandparents was not suitable.  My grandparents' solution was to sell their house and buy a duplex.  The two of them lived on the ground floor, and my family and I lived upstairs.  At least, if my mother could not pay the rent or the full amount, we would not be evicted from our home.

When we first moved in, we did not have a refrigerator, having left the old ice box behind when we moved in with my grandparents, so we took our meals downstairs at their house.  My grandmother cooked wonderful Creole-style meals, and my sweet grandfather fixed us breakfast each morning, which included coffee-milk.  We joined the coffee club at an early age.  Although we slept in different houses, we were downstairs at my grandparents' house a good bit of the time.  I believe we carried my father's meals upstairs to avoid friction.  After a spell, my mother bought a second-hand refrigerator from a man in the neighborhood who was rumored to belong to the Mafia.  He had the largest and fanciest house on the street and used an alias, but his original name was common knowledge.  Apparently, my mother had an agreement to pay for the refrigerator over time, however, she didn't, because she said the fridge was not worth $100, the amount to which she had agreed for the sale.  I remember asking her whether she was afraid to risk not paying what she owed to a member of the Mafia, but she said she was not.  She was convinced the mafioso neighbor had scammed her, and her mantra was, "The refrigerator is not worth $100."  So far as I know, my mother never paid, and the Mafia man didn't press her for the money, nor did he kneecap her or break her knuckles.

The photo shows a 1940s fridge which was similar to "ours".   

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


From Think Progress:

1. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Owns 40 Percent Of The Nation’s Wealth.

2. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Take Home 24 Percent Of National Income.

3. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Own Half Of The Country’s Stocks, Bonds, And Mutual Funds.

4. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Have Only 5 Percent Of The Nation’s Personal Debt.

5. The Top 1 Percent Are Taking In More Of The Nation’s Income Than At Any Other Time Since The 1920s.

See the details and the charts and graphs, one of which is shown above, at Think Progress.

A reading from the Lectionary on the feast of St Francis of Assisi:
Jeremiah 22:13-16

Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness,
and his upper rooms by injustice;
who makes his neighbours work for nothing,
and does not give them their wages;
who says, ‘I will build myself a spacious house
with large upper rooms’,
and who cuts out windows for it,
panelling it with cedar,
and painting it with vermilion.
Are you a king
because you compete in cedar?
Did not your father eat and drink
and do justice and righteousness?
Then it was well with him.
He judged the cause of the poor and needy;
then it was well.
Is not this to know me?
says the Lord.
Thanks to Paul the BB on Facebook for the link.