Monday, January 27, 2014

Read the New York Times Opinion Piece and Watch the Video on One Low Income Family in America

Then Ask How Cutting Benefits and Denying Contraception Services is a Benefit

Conservatives have inherited the mantle of cruelty.  Espousing long discredited 19th century dogma they argue against benefits for low income families because those benefits harm those families instead of helping them.  They argue against making contraception widely available because that somehow offends them and they argue against making health care affordable because that just means low income people will overuse the system.

A video and short commentary in the New York Times on one single family illustrates the terrible nature of that policy.  Yes this is only one family, but it is representative.  Here is the short summary.

Sarah, the subject of this Op-Doc video, lives in a rural town in western Missouri. She is in 10th grade. For generations almost no one in Sarah’s family has finished high school. Sarah vows that she does not want to follow in those footsteps. But how will her life be different? She became pregnant at 15. Her son will be born in February.

Sarah has six siblings. Her father is estranged from the family and does not contribute financially. Sarah’s mother, Dena Jewell Simental, is often away from home, cleaning houses and caring for the disabled. Supporting her seven children is Dena’s “top priority,” she says. It’s never easy -- when the family has received food stamps, they often haven’t lasted till the end of the month. Sometimes, when bills go unpaid, the electricity and water are shut off or Dena’s phone service is interrupted. But Dena is proud to say, “We are a good family.”

And here is the conclusion of the film makers.

There is a myth in America: if you have a strong moral compass, work hard and make good choices, you will have equal opportunity. But after two years of listening to and documenting low-income families in rural America (for our forthcoming feature-length documentary “Rich Hill”), we have witnessed a starkly unequal playing field.

Often, there is no social safety net. When a low-income family experiences a hardship or makes a misstep, the results can be devastating. Dena’s family is uninsured, so when Sarah and her siblings need medical care, even for something as simple as a rash, it often means a trip to the emergency room.

And then ask conservatives how they can live with the fact that they make the lives of these people more difficult, that their policies bring depravation to lives that are already desperate.  Ask them how denying access to contraception to the subject of the documentary was doing God's work.  And finally ask them how cutting the capital gains tax and reducing the already highly reduced marginal tax rate on wealthy people will help anyone other than wealthy people. Does the fact that Mitt Romney can build yet another house with the money he saved from legal but intolerable tax cuts help Sarah?

No they won't have an answer, but then they don’t need one.  They will not hear the questions.

No comments:

Post a Comment