by Maureen D Taylor, State Chairperson,
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization.
Yesterday, Nov. 13th, 2008, was the beginning of an activity seen last in the 1970’s. An event labeled the Poverty Summit was touted as the meeting that would start a dialogue aimed at the ten year elimination of poverty, a laudable goal set by the new Director of the Michigan Dept. of Human Services, Ishmael Ahmed.
Knowing Ish as we do, we were saddened by this event, as it was not the summit he expected nor planned for. Welfare Rights has seen this type of movement before. Some Human Services organizations are like “African weasels” who are able to stand on their hind legs with their snouts pointed up, so they can smell funding on the way.
The country is becoming alarmed by the rising numbers of people in poverty, so these “poverty-pimps” need to get in position so when the poverty spigots are opened up, they will already be in line with lips open, ready to take in their fill. It was a disgusting sight, as they climbed over each other, declaring how each was better than the one before. Once again, poor people are the pawns being set-up for yet another plan to “help” us by funneling money through professional organizations.
The trickle down theory doesn’t work anywhere. You want to eliminate poverty, increase Food Stamp allotments from the current level of $3.91/a day/per person. Remove barriers to post-secondary education applied to welfare recipients and let us attend college. Mandate GED courses for those who never finished high school. Make available affordable housing for us and our children. Help us find jobs, and stop forcing us into positions that we can’t manage unless we compromise our morality. Don’t penalize us for attending training that may lead to employment, and take away the financial punishment called “Drivers Responsibility” that fines poor people in the thousands.
(Image from MWRO, Detroit Water and Sewerage Dept protest against water shut-offs)