As most of you probably know, with the election of Rick Snyder in Michigan came the new Emergency Financial Manager laws. What those laws have entailed has been well documented by Rachel Maddow, among others. What’s been less covered is the fact that it was recently quietly signed into law that welfare recipients in Michigan can only receive 48 months of benefits for an entire lifetime.
As organizers note, this is going to have devastating consequences for Michiganders.
- As of October 1, 2011: 11,000 people will be cut off from welfare benefits, and that will continue through until 40,000 people are eliminated from the system. 75% THOSE PEOPLE WILL BE CHILDREN WITH THE AVERAGE AGE OF 7 YEARS OLD.
- Unemployment insurance was cut from a 24 weeks to 20 by the state.
- The Low Income Energy Efficiency Fund which gave DHS, THAW and Salvation Army energy assistance funding every year — adding to $575million in help for the poor since 2002 — has been completely eliminated by ABATE and the Attorney General and the Michigan Court of Appeals; although federal money is still available, it is not enough to cover the gap.
- College students are no longer eligible for food aid, a much needed subsidy.
- There is now a lifelong cap of 48 months for those who receive assistance.
- Most of the assistance cuts will be to renters, disproportionately effecting women.
- These cuts have a secondary effect of increasing domestic violence.
- If utility service is cut from the home, children must be removed by law from the family and home. And, yes, the foster care system is hiring.
- NO ONE IS EXEMPT: Persons with mental disabilities are not exempt from the cuts, recent mothers are exempt for only 2 months after birth, victims of domestic violence exempt for 3 months and caretakers of persons with disabilities for 12 months.
- THE STATE OF MICHIGAN WILL SAVE $68 MILLION IN TAX DOLLARS FROM STARVING CHILDREN.
MEANWHILE, corporations will receive $1.8 billion in tax breaks to ensure major profits keep flowing in — while putting an end to Michigan’s practice of not taxing retirement income and seeking to increase taxes on Michigan’s working poor! (download pdf)
Yes, that’s right. To pay for corporate tax breaks, children, disabled people, and women will be forced to give up a lifeline that for many, is all they have. And those who *do* have at least a little money coming in through pensions, will have a little less of that money as well. All to pay for corporate tax breaks.
Times have been tough in Michigan for a long time. But since Snyder got elected, things have gotten terrifying. Honestly, I could even deal with the far right ideological agenda that Snyder and the Republican Congress have brought with them–if they were sure to bring jobs with that ideological agenda. It’s always easier to fight anti-choice extremism, for example, when you know your family is not going hungry.
But the fact is, Snyder and the Republican Congress are NOT bringing jobs. They aren’t even pretending to look for them. Under the guise of “balancing the budget,” they are building wealth on the bodies of poor people.
Let them eat babies, I guess.