Well, the senate decided to give teachers a real raise. Unfortunately, they decided to make children, the sick and the elderly pay for it. It’s clear now that the raise is intended to take a political issue off the table instead of helping to make our public schools any better.

The senate budget cuts teaching assistants for all classes above first grade and eliminates funding for text books. Remember when Republicans used say they just wanted to cut bureaucracy so they could put more money into classrooms? Well, that was bullshit.  They’re giving teachers raises but reducing their classroom resources, so you can say that our kids are taking the hit to cover the tax cuts for the rich that the legislature and McCrory passed last session. 

But it’s not just children. The senate is also “overhauling” (read cutting) Medicaid. They propose taking the program away from the Department of Health and Human Services and kicking a bunch of elderly and sick people off it. Ironically, they say that a lot of those people can get coverage because of Obamacare, the program they’ve done so much to thwart. 

In both these proposals, education leaders and medical providers say the senate is wrong-headed. There is little doubt that people who can least defend themselves will suffer. But this isn’t about helping people. This is about ideology. The senate wants to push responsibility for schools, the sick, mentally disabled and elderly back onto counties, municipalities and families, regardless of how ill-equipped they may be to handle it. 

It’s yet again why I’m a Democrat and they are Republicans. I believe that we, as a society, have an obligation to care for our most vulnerable citizens. Republicans believe it’s every man and woman for themselves. If you’re living in a gated a community, own a vacation home or two and send your kids to elite private schools, that’s a pretty good deal. If you’re already struggling to get by, having to take additional financial responsibility for an aging parent or sick relative could send you straight into poverty. 

Remember when Reagan closed the mental health facilities and, overnight, created the homeless situation that still plagues us today? Expect more of the same.


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