Even those we would consider middle class are one layoff or illness away from financial collapse. There are a few small business owners that constitute the affluent, and almost no professional class at all. Such people move away from our area, and nearly all the manufacturing jobs left for offshore tax havens years ago.
So it was with bitter irony that, on the day the U.S. House of "Representatives" considered spending $642 BILLION on "defense" next year, and a "GOP budget package [that] would cut $36 billion from the food stamp program by reducing benefits and tightening eligibility, $23.5 billion from Medicaid and children's health care, $4.2 billion from hospitals that serve the poor and uninsured, and $2.8 billion from a program that helps homeowners facing foreclosures," Maine's governor rushed to sign into law a budget with these provisions:
o Eliminates MaineCare coverage for another 14,500 low-income working parents (those with income between 100-133% FPL). As part of a compromise earlier this session, the legislature already voted to eliminate coverage for 14,000 working parents between 133-200% FPL. This would double the amount of parents who will have coverage stripped from them and targets parents who are struggling with even fewer resources.
Cuts to many programs supported by the Fund for a Healthy Maine, including:o Cuts $2M of funding for Head Start, which means that 216 very young children will no longer have access to Head Start and the vital supports it provides to these children and their families. Head Start is an investment in these children's future, as it provides early care and education, as well as health, nutrition, mental health, social and family supports;o Cuts nearly $2M of funding for the Child Care Subsidy Program. This will lead to a deep cut in the availability of child care vouchers for families with incomes below 250% FPL and will negatively impact 1,400 children. The child care subsidy program helps parents with low income to afford the child care they need in order to work;o Eliminates funding ($2.6 M) for the Maine Families Home Visiting Program, which will eliminate vital services for Maine's most vulnerable infants and children. Approximately 750 families will lose services focused on family substance abuse, domestic violence, prevention of abusive head trauma, and the health and safety of children;o Eliminates funding ($401,430) for Family Planning; ando Eliminates $300,000 for dental services for people with low incomes and no other source of dental help.
o The complete elimination of MaineCare coverage for 7,000 young adults (19 and 20 year olds) who are under 150% of the poverty level.
Because this is an emergency, make no mistake about that.
If you're in Maine, join us at the next Bring Our War $$ Home organizing meeting Saturday, June 9 at noon in Augusta. Help confused citizens connect the dots between out of control military spending, and the shredding of programs that support our most vulnerable young people.