Have you heard this?! Updated

Sorry for all the posts today, but JESUS!

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 . This is a wonderful idea, don't you think? We're in a huge deficit and things need to be cut from the federal budget, so instead of making cuts in our war machine, or even, heavens, letting other contractors try to underbid Halliburton (and, I don't know, maybe even provide the services that Halliburton claims to be providing but doesn't even as they continue to overcharge us for them!!!) or maybe rolling back all those tax cuts that have been handed out left and right to powerful corporations and the wealthy people who run them, it has been decided to make cuts in our social programs.

This act will result in drastic cuts to Medicaid and food stamp programs as well as increases in student loan interest

That's right. Let's put the burden of balancing our budget on the backs of the poor and the young and the sick and the elderly. Let's make it harder for people on oxygen tanks to breath, shall we? Because it'll save us a buck! And it'll do us the favor of helping all those old, sick people weighing down our country off into their eternal reward. And thank goodness good old, sick Dick Cheney was able to return from the Middle East to cast the tie-breaking vote! I mean, even though he's getting his medical care thanks to our tax dollars, he deserves good care (as opposed to everyone else) because he's rich on his own right! He doesn't need federal aid, so that's why we should continue to pay for his care and not the poor saps on Medicaid.

And along with all of that (as if that weren't bad enough) this wondrous bill slashes funds to our child welfare system. So much so, that if it passes (and it looks like it will) and our states don't pick up the tab, thousands of children and their families will be without services, and thousands of child welfare case-workers across the country will be without jobs. (And applying for unemployment... of course unemployment benefits are a fraction of what they would be making at their jobs, so I guess we're still ok on the budget front). In fact, in Utah, if the cuts go through and the state doesn't step up, 314 caseworkers will lose their jobs.

314 doesn't sound like a lot, compared to the numbers of workers that Ford and Delta and other large corporations lay-off without a twinge to their consciences (do they ever consider cutting back the CEO's salary before laying people off? I know, I know, that's a tired arguement). But it's a significant number considering how much work a single caseworker does. How many cases they have. How many children they protect.

If you'd like a description of how overworked our caseworkers are already, head over to Wendy's Jelly Beans for some firsthand accounts. And my wonderful partner, who is so efficient and such good caseworker, is also drowning in too many cases, too much paperwork. I can't imagine what their jobs will be like if they eliminate that many workers and the other services that will be cut under this bill. It's not like the cases go away with the workers.

And funny thing is, when you start cutting social services, the need for them increases exponentially. Just think about it using this state as an example. Not only do you have all the cases that will get neglected because of overwork when the caseworkers get fired, but you'll also have new referrals coming in that will not be pursued because there will be no one to work them. It'll be the worst of the worst that will get paid attention to, while easier situations will be left alone until they degenerate. And THEN, on top of that, you'll have the victims of this situation -- the caseworkers fired, the seniors getting sicker, the neglected children acting out, the teens who can't afford to go to college -- needing more and more help to get them out the hole they're slipping into.

Meanwhile, we continue to hemmorhage money into the war effort and subsequently into the pockets of the wealthy profiteers behind it.

Update: Utah has only about 500 caseworkers to start with. If they really have to cut 314 workers that leaves only around 190 caseworkers for the entire state. Kristin's pretty sure her job will be safe, but many of her friends' are up in the air right now. Meanwhile, the cases pile up...

Posted by Trista @ 12:03 PM

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Right on. I wrote a letter to the editor about this a couple of months ago. The cuts to our national well-being are so deep and awful- they're cutting funds to Meals on Weels for chrissakes- and they didn't even make so much as a peep to raise the minimum wage, even by a dollar (which now stands at a grand total of $10,300/year for a full-time worker- $6,000 below the official "poverty line" for a family of 3.) How infuriating that the same people who act as if they have a corner on morality are the ones who make such cruel and immoral political moves. Though my senator, Ted Kennedy, was not successful in his wage-increase proposal, I am glad that he's part of the Let Justice Roll: Living Wage Campaign. www.letjusticeroll.org If only they were in charge...

Posted by Blogger starevelina @ 3:16 PM #
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