Monday, March 14, 2005

Arnold's Hard Reign Falls on the Poor

So Arnold Schwarzenegger might not be the perfect Republican, given he's pro-choice (which certainly makes him a, er, lover of women) and he doesn't out-and-out hate gays, although he doesn't think they should marry and sees no problem using "girlie men" as a slur.

But where he's most like the Republicans is in his hatred of the poor. Why raise taxes on the rich in California when you can do the following, according to a sad, sad report in today's Santa Barbara News-Press?

Governor wants to pare worker pay from $8 to $6.75.

County welfare officials warn that proposed cuts to the state's social services network could leave hundreds of disabled and elderly residents without care.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2005-06 budget proposal would cut wages for 2,000 caregivers who assist low-income clients in their own homes -- a move officials say will create a gap in coverage because many of the workers would quit.

But lowering wages isn't enough for the Terminator. After all, it's so easy to get by on $14K a year in Santa Barbara where the median house price is over a million dollars. And certainly there's no reason that government should give good jobs to people who assist the poor and elderly, who, if they had any decency, would just die and save us all so much trouble. Nope, lowering salaries to the point where a single parent of two would be below the federal poverty guidelines just isn't punishing enough...

In addition to reducing the caregivers' hourly wage from $8 to $6.75, Mr. Schwarzenegger's budget would eliminate health care benefits for about 300 workers who receive coverage through the county. The cuts could trim up to several million dollars from the estimated $10 million annual cost of the county program.

California has an $8 billion deficit. Schwarzenegger, brave politican that he is, is paying down that debt, one working poor person at a time.

This is why it gets hard not to seethe. Of course the powers that be -- that is, the Republicans and their fans and friends -- then accuse the Left of being unreasonable and hateful. Isn't it nice that you can do all of the following:

1) Drop wages for people who don't even make $10 an hour in the first place;
2) Eliminate their health benefits;
3) Do these things to workers who bring aid to people who otherwise have no help -- our sickest, our poorest, our elderly;
4) Which means many of these unfortunates will no longer get the aid they need...

And then you can call other folks mean-spirited if they've pointed out what you've done.

Some citizen in Alabama said the other day on NPR when interviewed when the Bush Sic Soc Sec Tour blew through his town: "I think it says a bad thing about our country. I like knowing paying into Social Security means I'm helping take care of our country's elderly. President Bush's plan means I should only worry about my future."

Exactly. I guess Bush truly is a compassionate conservative -- he conserves all his compassion for himself.


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