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It is cruel. I know you don’t like hearing that. I know you do not intend it that way, but that does not make it any less cruel or terrifying. Recently, someone said to me, “We only need seven more votes.” I thought, yes, seven votes to stave off this threat for now, but how many hearts and minds need to change for this threat to go away permanently? We need your heart and mind, your compassion and your intellect. Typically, the argument lawmakers use is that they want to care for these people but there is not enough money to fund these programs. You might even say the problems I mentioned above are not a matter of funding, but regulation. There probably do need to be better regulations, but without proper funding, those regulations will only mean fewer people get services. People with disabilities are not going anywhere. Their caregivers are not going to shut up and go away. I certainly will not be silent.
Let’s get truly honest now. There is enough money. You know it and I know it. At the Federal level, there is always enough money to give the oil companies a subsidy they don’t need and to bail out the banks. Never once has that been an issue. Not even during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. This is a matter of priorities, not a lack of money. We need to start putting our priorities and our money where our morals are. The taxes we pay are supposed to be for the good of the people - all the people, not just an elite few.
Obviously, we have the money. Jobs are important. The jobs of the caregivers working in group homes are just as important as nuclear power plant jobs. They currently do not make a living wage and must rely on government assistance just like the people they serve. They wipe the bottoms of adults with disabilities, they keep them from abusing each other, they cook their meals, they give them life-saving medications, they are expected to keep all the residents safe with very few staff on-site and to do it for an unlivable wage; little more than $10 an hour. That is cruel. And I’m no longer buying the argument that there is no money to pay these caregivers better.
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