By Ben Cohen
While Wall St robbed regular folk blind, decimated the economy then stole even more of our money to replenish all the cash they lost, one would have thought the government would hold someone to account. Well,in a way, they did. But not who you might expect.
The people paying for the massive crimes committed by bankers are, in California at least, children and sick people. Unable to pass the state budget and unable to secure any more money from the Federal Government, Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed massive cuts to close the deficit, aimed almost exclusively at those who can least afford it. Writes Robert Scheer:
The Los Angeles Times summarized the
direction of those difficult choices in a story headlined “Poor would
be hard hit by proposed California budget cuts,” which stated that
Schwarzenegger “is considering a plan to slash California’s safety net
for the poor by eliminating the state’s main welfare program, health
insurance for low-income families and cash grants to college students.”
Bail out the banks, but not the 500,000
poor families with children served by the CalWorks program, which will
be dismantled, or the 928,000 children covered by the Healthy Families
program, slated for oblivion.
This is partly Schwarzenegger's fault, and partly the White House's. The Californian Governor has followed the traditional Republican strategy of cutting taxes while increasing spending, then wondering why the deficit increases at the end of it. He can't fix the deficit as he won't/can't raise taxes enough to cover it, and will meet with ferocious protest from his own party if he even mentions it.
The White House is equally responsible given the fact that they have spent trillions of dollars bailing out the financial institutions, and are unwilling to come to the aid of the Californians who have historically subsidized the Federal government more than any other state in the union.
It's a tragic situation when trillions of dollars are being pumped into institutions that have not only destroyed the economy, but helped create structural poverty in the first place. Right now, the government has essentially forgotten them, and they'll simply rot, or beg for scraps from Churches and charity. But when (and if) the banks are stabilized, lending practices won't change drastically, and the poor will still be reliant on debt to fund their basic needs. And you know who benefits from that? You guessed it: The banks. After all, kids caused the economic melt down, not them.
(photo by llnl photos)