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War on the poor...

A few seasons ago 30 Rock had a line about the war on the poor.  Would have been more funny if it wasn't true. 

So, our governor in CA is now proposing to completely eliminate the Calworks program.  This one of the last safety nets for a million children in the state.  He is proposing this instead of raising the sales tax.  Can anyone think this is better than an incremental increase in taxes?  Of course, agribusiness and big oil will surely still get their cut.  They always do.

This is only one example of many in the last two years of cuts and proposed cuts to social services.  As well as, media personalities and politicians lambasting aid to the poor and disabled.  What happened to charity?

It is dishearting to hear so many wanting to remove all security for those most vulnerable.  The assumptions that the poor are lazy and deserve to be punished.  Weren't any of these people ever in a bad situtation?  Are they in denial that good fortune or a helping hand has kept them from the same situation that millions in this country face?  Are they in even more denial that greatly reducing social services will lead to more crime, a worse economy and an alltogether bad place to live?

I actually support Arnold's move 100%. I'm drunk right now, so I won't make a lengthy post just yet.

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I don't know much about this situation specifically, but I must say I sympathize with the poor, to a huge extent. I grew up quite poor. My mom has a college education, but my dad quit college to take over his dad's farm. The farm ended up going under, we went bankrupt, and had to work our way out. I know how hard my parents worked when I was growing up--at one time my mom had 5 part-time jobs she juggled so she could still take care of the 3 kids while my dad worked full time. But it just wasn't enough. So, I get sick of people who think that poor people are lazy or don't want to work or somehow are pleased with their lives.

On the other hand, I do know some poor people who are perfectly content not working and thus receiving welfare checks. How is there not any balance to a system that rewards these people as it simultaneously gives a safety net to people who are trying to make it work? I don't know what the answer is.

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Is the only alternative raising sales tax? As a flat tax it seems like that would also hurt impoverished families.

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Thats what has been proposed in the last two years to help brig the gap.  I believe this is because it is the easiest to raise.  It would be difficult to raise the property tax because it requires a 2/3 majority.  An increase in income or business taxes does not go over well in our very bipartisan state legislature. 

I read some commentary that he maybe using this a rouse to get other cuts.  He did do something similar with education last year.

Even if this a bluff, there has still been some serious cuts to aid in this and other states.  We no longer have Medical for adults.

VeganRun, I also grew up very poor.  Remember times that we did wonder were the next meal would come from or if we would have a home the next week. If it wasn't for our church and caring people, it would have been much worse. Its hard to describe or imagine unless you have been in the situtation. 

As for those that feel like taking all away, I think they are still underthe delusion that it doesn't happen here in the US.  They also assume that having poverty will build our economy?  Cutting people out of the system and making them in essence non-players in the economy brings it all down.  At least with welfare, SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps), unemployment benefits, etc, people are buying goods and services and are in a better position to pull themselves out of the hole they are in.

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I think it's really easy for people who take away stuff THEY don't need themselves, and not see the bigger picture of how we're all tied together... I was a single mom all the way from starting college to finishing my master's degree; I lived off student aid/ table-waiting on weekends, which was WELL below the poverty line, and there was CONSTANT juggling of shut-off notices/ stress about how to keep groceries in the pantry... When I started my graduate work, I bit the bullet and (for the first time ever) asked for help; I was carrying 18 graduate hours & had to cut my work hours to keep up, so after about six months I had to admit I was sinking, and either needed some help or would have to quit school. Applied for food stamps, to just get through ONE year to complete my education, after which I would have a lucrative and socially helpful profession; was told that I would ONLY qualify for assistance if I signed a statement that I'd take the first full-time job they found for me (like, quit school to work a temporary minimum-wage job at McDonald's or the gas station). WTF?! that's insanely counterproductive... but the average voter totally supports that policy, because THEY HAVE NEVER NEEDED IT.

If I didn't happen to have the wonderful extended family that I have, who stepped in & helped me that year so I could feed my kid without quitting my graduate program, this policy would have left me basically dependent on government assistance for the rest of my boy's childhood, with EVERYONE losing! Not only would life have been harder for the two of US; the expense to society would have been HUGELY more, in multiple ways... I came through it and will never need that kind of help again; but if I had come from a family who was also poor, it would have been impossible.

Everyone likes to talk about the American Dream, and the self-made success, and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, and other such ideal notions... but the reality is that most people in the US who AREN'T poor (or haven't had to come through poverty) are very comfortable with policies that make it all but impossible to leave it behind. To pull yourself up by your bootstraps, you've gotta have boots.

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The governor is probably thinking it's a luxury the aid instead of a necessity.

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Is the only alternative raising sales tax? As a flat tax it seems like that would also hurt impoverished families.

It would hurt most people, not necessarily limited to those described as "impoverished".  California is already so expensive.  Most of the twenty-somethings I know are living month to month, without insurance.  They came from middle class families, had the resources to go to college, and two years later are still having trouble finding full-time employment.

Does the American Dream exist anymore?  I'm beginning to doubt it.  More like a hallucination, really.

The blame is usually placed on the wrong people.

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I also don't know much about this specific situation, but I'll put my two cents in since I like to do that.

--I am generally opposed to cutting assistance to the poor, in fact I think we need more, and more efficient assistance including for families that are dual-earner families and yet still struggling. I think as a country the US is sorely neglecting the families that don't make enough to do things like send kids to college, and yet don't make so little that they qualify for government assistance as it is now.

--I think people need to stop freaking out over raises in taxes. Raises in taxes could mean better school systems, better hospitals, better communities, less crime, less illness, and other things that we all want. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding and partial understanding of financial assistance/welfare and the truth is that MOST people do recieve some kind of welfare at some point in their lives. I'm not the great authority of welfare information but from what I've learned, I think we need to quit complaining that the state or the government is 'taking' our money and start lobbying harder for that money to be spent on things that will change our lives and change our communities---for example, not war and prisons. Oh, and I think that having a tax cut off is bs--if you make 300, 000 then 300, 000 should be taxed.

hotcookinmama--I agree with you about people finding it easier to take away what they don't need themselves. It's so easy to say, "what on earth do we need XXXXXX for?" until you find yourself in the position where you need it. That, in part, is troubling about dividing up where money goes for anything I guess. There are so many people who could use assistance for so many things that it's hard to say one is the most needy or one deserves more help than the other. Truth be told I don't want to be the one to designate where money goes because I don't know how I could turn down so many worthy benefactors in favor of other worth benefactors. It's such a complex situation for our ver complex society....I found many of my community systems/interventions and social psych/problems classes to be really depressing because it gave me this feeling that try as we might, we can never fix enough of the problem.

yikes, sorry if that's gotten to mopey. I still try to help fix the problem! Or, whatever problem I can think of anyway lol.

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I don't think it's a war on the poor, although I understand how some can think of it that way.

California is in HORRIBLE shape. Horrible.  Businesses that employ are moving out because of taxes and layer upon layer of regulations...thus taking jobs and wealth with them.

Middle class people are moving out, too, taking the tax base with them.

It's not that Arnold wants to take from the poor it's' that CA cannot be taxed anymore.  It's at the limit. Anymore it would just force more to move and cause more suffering and lack of jobs now. Already we have a high sales tax rate. We are taxed everywhere, it's at the limit.

So he has to make bad choices.  And it's not even his fault. It's the legislature who made bad decisions, spent and spent and spent without saving for a rainy day in CA. They caused this, not Arnold but he has to do something.

I feel for the poor very much.  I've always advocated fairness in employment in wages but CA's policies are actually creating more poor, not helping them.

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