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I'm watching MSNBC (which I'm probably doing too much) and on several occasions hosts or guests of a show will say something like, "Romney needs to show people that he isn't just supportive of the rich. Not that there's anything wrong with being rich." You know what? I think there is something wrong with being rich. There is something wrong with a country that feels they need to be so very careful about offending the rich that they constantly say, "Not that there's anything wrong with being rich." You have a smaller and smaller proportion of the population in control of more and more of the power (money).

Somehow we can tolerate homelessness, people going hungry, people dying from lack of adequate medical treatment etc. etc. Yet there are clearly people who want to defend a person or corporations "right" to have so much money that they can not only afford one home but can easily own several homes. They can have lots of cars or boats or motorcycles or whatever. I don't begrudge people being comfortable, in fact I want everyone to be comfortable. I want everyone to be in a position that they don't have to worry about whether or not they will eat regularly or live in a home that is comfortable and adequate for them. I want people to get as much education as they want without accumulating so much debt that they wonder if they'll ever be able to pay it back.

I also don't think that to suggest rich people should pay more taxes is "class warfare". We are already engaged in class warfare and it isn't the poor or middle-class that have been on the attack.
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It's difficult for me to know what to say about the economy and specifically Gov. Brown's proposed budget. There seems to be little or no patience for even discussing enhancing revenue (increasing taxes), even when the "increase" is just going back to tax levels that were easily coped with by the upper 10%. There seems to be some people who just believe wholeheartedly that there is massive fraud and waste in government. They seem to think that refusing to increase taxes will somehow magically get rid of all this "fraud" and "waste". It also seems impossible to have a realistic conversation about any system change. Look at the healthcare debate.

It happens that most of my income comes from benefits. I depend on services like In-Home Social Services (IHSS) which is the program that pays for personal care so I can stay out of a nursing home. Lately, every year during California's budget cycle, I find myself making the same arguments with little apparent effect. Nursing homes cost considerably more per person to pay for than paying for the same services being provided in my home.

Unfortunately, because of long historical precedent, there is a bias towards institutionalizing folk like me even though it has been demonstrated again and again that nursing home care is much more expensive and less humane. In the last three or four years Gov. Schwarzenegger has offered budgets that completely eliminated IHSS. Fortunately, thanks to advocates for people with disabilities and some great state representatives who understand the issues, IHSS still exists even though it was cut last year. Gov. Brown is suggesting deep cuts not only in IHSS but many other programs that people depend on to lead reasonably tolerable lives.

Lots of programs are being cut, I happen to know more about those related to people with disabilities. Some of the consequences of Gov. Brown's proposed budget would cut IHSS once again across the board. It would require all recipients of IHSS to go to their doctor and get them to sign something that says the loss of IHSS would mean that that person would need to go to a nursing home. Why he wants this is confusing since everyone receiving IHSS needed to get a note from our doctors saying the same thing. Seems like a waste of resources all around, but I believe they're hoping the additional bureaucratic dance will cause some people to drop off the rolls.

There is also a suggestion that people with disabilities who live with someone may have any housekeeping hours cut because I suppose they assume that whoever lives with them will do that housekeeping. I know lots of people disabilities who have roommates just to help take care of the rent. Why a roommate should be obligated to take care all that housekeeping is beyond me.

Because cuts are coming to all sorts of programs that people depend on, many of us have been dealing with cut upon cut upon cuts. Gov. Brown talks about not liking the cuts and that we all must share in the burden. What goes unspoken is the cuts proposed could keep people imprisoned in their homes. Taken from their homes to institutions. Necessary medical treatment and medicine will not be given. More people will be homeless or go hungry. All to make sure that a small percentage people can buy so many homes they can't even remember how many. I wonder where the shared burden is there?


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