Sunday, March 25, 2007

"Living within our means"

The thieves came in the night Thursday, disabling your security system, robbing your home and family so they could justify their tax cut crack binges, paying off their dealers who think nothing of taking from the poor and giving to the rich, and in the process sabotaged your future so they could satiate their greed now.

After they stole from your children’s education fund, took medicine from your cabinet and food from your fridge, and passed the bill for the damages on to your community, literally decimating your local resources, they had the audacity to run to the press and brag about it, proclaiming with glee that they were going to do it again the next time around, too.

Not only are they thieves, they are brazen thieves.

In the past few days, we have established the MI GOP's talking points. The army of automatons spread out across the state, repeating the mantra to any paper that would listen. “Aww, shucks,” they said, “we didn’t want to do this, but, hey, be glad it wasn’t more!”

We are just "living within our means". We have some "hard decisions" about which group of vulnerable people we decide to devastate next. Anything to avoid the responsibility of paying the bills, right?

Republican family values in action. Apparently when you "tighten your belt" in a Republican family, the first thing you do is cut off your grandma's food.

A $97,400 cut to Meals-On-Wheels in Metro Detroit means that some seniors may get a phone call saying services have been canceled, rather than hot meals delivered to their homes, said Mary Alban, director of the Area Agencies on Aging Association.

"The cuts may represent a small piece of the total program, but when it's your grandmother or mother not getting a hot meal, it's important," Alban said.

Next, cut the quality of her care. Throw in other disabled family members, too. Low-wage, high turnover help is the answer here. Pay no mind to the theft and abuse this situation can generate.

A 2 percent wage hike for home health service workers would be rolled back under the Senate plan.

"We already have trouble getting people to do the work and this is going to make it even more difficult," said Dohn Hoyle, executive director of The Arc Michigan, which has 38 agencies around the state that advocate for the mentally impaired.

He said the $11 million cut won't be a money-saver for Michigan because it'll force people into more expensive nursing home facilities.

See? You can just shuffle your elderly family member or your impaired sister off to a home. Better hurry before they cut those, too.

Go after the elderly and disabled first, after all, they don't put up much of a fight.

When you are done socking it to grandma, the next thing on the list of Republican family values is to steal from your children! "Living within our means" stands for your needs, not your kids. Heck, they don't bring in any money. Forget the future. It won't be you in the low-wage nursing home if you steal everything you can now.

Jim Ryan, superintendent of the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, said his district has cut $8 million the past five years, and is trying to slash $5.5 million from next year's budget.

Now, a $34-per-student school aid cut passed by the Senate would take another $600,000 with only a few months left in the school year.

"We're cutting into basic education now. There are no frills here, I don't care what anybody says," Ryan said.

Added Justin King, executive director of the Michigan Association of School Boards: "I'm ticked off. There's no courage in Lansing. There needs to be a discussion about quality of life, not just tax cuts and budget cuts. I expect more of the people I elect than to wait around for the next crisis."

Seems to me someone ran around the state to the TV stations and the newspapers and had that discussion about "quality of life", but apparently no one pays attention until they get smacked upside the head with the reality that life is expensive.

Next up on the Republican family values list is to trash the place where you live. What do you need cops or a fire department for? Tragedy will never touch your home out in the gated community, right? You can continue to leach off the core city like the parasite that you are.

A $40 million cut to municipal revenue sharing could mean fewer services and public safety cuts in cities and villages, said Arnold Weinfeld, director of public policy and federal affairs for the Michigan Municipal League.

He said cuts of $2 billion in the past five years have already resulted in 1,600 fewer police officers and 2,400 fewer firefighters in the state.

"If this goes through, we will see less public safety officers on the street," he said.

"Living within our means".

To the Republicans, that entails cutting off the elderly, the children, the sick, their community, anybody else beside themselves. No sacrifice is too great, as long as somebody else is doing the sacrificing.

A couple of meta notes here.

First- I dropped the title "for my amusement only". Why? Number one- I'm rarely amused these days, and, two; this doesn't feel like "my blog" anymore. I could have changed the title to "for Lansing's amusement only" (25% of my hits on Friday were from Lansing) just to be a smart-ass, but that didn't seem right, either. So, for better or for worse, I'll just go with "wizardkitten". I've become a brand name in the eyes of some, which is still baffling to me on many levels. I'm just one person out of 10 million, these are my opinions. Big deal. So, change your blogrolls or don't- it really doesn't matter because the address is still the same.

Second- the only thing more disgusting to me than the Republican actions of the past week is the seeming lack of Democratic response. Don't get me wrong, the Senate Democrats have been great, go check that link and see, but- I'm just going to come out and say this- the lack of support for the Governor on the part of the MDP, the House Dems and Andy Dillon is disturbing me to the core.

Granholm has said she would veto these cuts- I haven't heard much out of the House Dems, except to say they didn't support her tax proposal and are looking at "fresh ideas", including some kind of income tax increase.

Way to back up the play, there, guys. Sorry, but Dillon strikes me as an evasive DINO. Too many times he has passed on being direct about where he is coming from, too many times he has repeated Republican talking points. I did not work my ass off last year for Dems to be led around by the nose by the likes of a punk like Mike Bishop. If Democrats are too afraid to stand up and do the right thing because they are so concerned about keeping their majority- what is the point of all of this?

I hope I'm wrong about that. I really do. I hope they surprise me. But so far the indication is the Dems, especially the MDP, are more worried about the races in '08, rather than paying attention to the real crisis we face now. Bishop just handed them all a big stick to beat the Republicans with, both with the stunt on Monday and the stunt on Thursday- and nothing was said. Very disturbing.

Where does that leave me? I honestly don't know. More and more I think about walking away from all of this... but you know I won't. ( better, Zack? ;-) )