Saturday, May 30, 2009

Unto The Least Of These

While the NY Times contains an editorial calling on the developed countries to increase aid to the world's poor, the Los Angeles Times contains an article detailing the cuts to social services to the poor proposed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Here's a few examples of how our governor proposes to balance the budget by shrinking the government:

Administration officials said that for the most part, they did not have the luxury of considering the consequences -- financial or human -- of the plans they were making.

In an earlier proposal, they had suggested saving money by reducing fraud in the state's adult day-care program, which provides services at centers across the state to help the frail and elderly continue living in their homes rather than more expensive nursing homes.

Under the new plan, cracking down on fraud would no longer be necessary, said Ana Matosantos, chief deputy budget director, "because now we're looking at eliminating the program in its entirety."

The $117 million in presumed savings would be wiped out if 20% of the 38,000 elderly participants in California are shifted into nursing homes for care subsidized by the state, said Lydia Missaelides, executive director of the California Assn. for Adult Day Services. ...

Also eliminated would be a $10.5-million caregiver program that helps the severely disabled, including people with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and traumatic brain injuries.

The state would reduce payments to counties by $550 million for foster care, welfare and other services. It would cut $230 million by ending home care for all but the neediest, such as those who can't breathe without machinery or move their limbs, officials said.

These cuts are accompanied by others which target the poor to middle class:

Schools would be hit by $680 million in new cuts to classrooms and by $315 million in cuts for transportation. The state's social safety net would lose $1 billion more in funding for the poor, disabled and aged. Cities and counties would lose an additional $242 million in transportation funding.

But, hey! That's better than raising the taxes by 1% of the wealthiest Californians or by reinstating the motor vehicle tax repealed by the Governator to get himself elected and which hit those who drove the big, expensive gas guzzlers a little hard in the wallet part of the human anatomy.

And what do the Republicans in the state legislature think of all these draconian cuts?

Schwarzenegger's fellow Republicans were generally supportive of his plans.

Grover Norquist must be so proud, or as Atrios put it so succinctly a while back, "Mission Accomplished".

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