The Tao of Politics

One of my main concerns is: how can I make a difference? There are thousands of political blogs out there. It’s easy to get lost in that ocean. So I may blog about politics on occasion, or I may blog about health issues, depending on where my interests lead me, and where I feel I can contribute something of significance.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Punishing ordinary Americans
Some people already consider George W. Bush to be the War President and the Torture President and the Wiretapping President, among other things. Now he is making a bid to add Punishment President to his list of epithets. His latest attempted salvo against ordinary Americans, even those who voted for him, is to eliminate social security survivor benefits for 16 and 17 year old children who drop out of school. The idea behind this, presumably, is that if you punish children who have just lost a parent, that punishment will serve as a positive motivation for them. Right.

I know a teenager, let’s call her Angelica. Her father was killed in a car crash when she was 15. Her mother began receiving monthly survivor benefit checks for Angelica’s maintenance. She depended on these checks. Angelica was devastated by her father’s death and stopped going to school when she was 16. The monthly checks continued arriving; Angelica eventually went back to high school, and graduated a couple of years later, thanks to a patient mother, and to the monthly survivor benefit checks.

Under the Bush plan, I suppose the checks would have ceased arriving when Angelica stopped going to school. Her mother may have had to go out and get a job, or get another job. Angelica herself may have been forced to get a job. She may have never gone back to school.

Just because a child stops going to school doesn’t mean that she stops having needs, like food, shelter, and health care. After all, the check doesn’t go to the child so that she can go out and buy an iPod. It goes to the parent, and is to be used for the child’s maintenance. If the money is used otherwise there are penalties for that. The father worked all his life, and contributed to social security, and his daughter deserved to receive the benefits that he worked so hard to provide. Now George W. Bush wants to take some of those benefits away.

Do we want an administration in Washington that seemingly doesn’t care about people’s needs, and punishes its own citizens at the drop of a hat? I don’t. Vote Democratic in the fall.

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