by Lynda Carson

[dropcap]A [/dropcap]fter hoodwinking California’s liberals and progressives into electing him as governor, one of Jerry Brown’s first official acts was to impose massive budget cuts that will cause catastrophic harm to the poor, disabled, sick and the elderly.
Actually, Gov. Brown’s cutbacks, announced on March 24, will cause suffering from the cradle to the grave, since he also dealt pulverizing blows to child care, education, and programs for low-income families with dependent children.
Oakland voters who thought they would be spared catastrophic budget cuts by voting for the Democrats and Jerry Brown in the gubernatorial campaign against ultra-right-wing Meg Whitman and the Republican Party, now feel abandoned. They have been double-crossed by the Democrats’ support for billions of dollars in budget cuts that will fall with devastating force on children, students, families, the disabled, poor, and elderly.
Brown’s cutbacks will mean the elimination of a state-subsidized child care program for 11 and 12-year-olds, along with a $1.7 billion cut from the Medi-Cal program, plus major reductions to senior programs and education. One billion dollars will be cut from CalWORKs, and $862 million will be cut from mental health services. Brown’s attack on the safety net includes a host of other catastrophic budget cuts to other programs.
These cuts are so severe as to be socially irresponsible. The end result is that millions of people will end up destitute and bereft, others will be forced into trying to make ends meet in the underground economy, while still others may be forced into a life of crime, just to survive.
Just imagine senior citizens who have been forced to eat cat food through the years just to survive, and now can no longer afford to buy sufficient food at all, due to the latest budget cuts. Will they be forced to steal food from their local grocery store, or should they just passively accept outright starvation?
At this point, the disabled, poor, sick and the elderly should be advised to pull out their old copies of Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman, to get some much-needed refresher tips and survival techniques, in order to survive the catastrophic budget cuts heading their way, thanks in part to the double-crossing Democratic Party.
Steal This Book has great sections on Free Food, Free Clothing and Furniture, Free Transportation, Free Land, Free Housing, Free Education, Free Medical Care, Free Communication, Free Play, Free Money, Free Pot, and Assorted Freebies.
We’ve lived to see an age when Democrats are siding with Republicans in protecting big business, big banks, big oil companies, greedy capitalists, billionaires and millionaires from paying their fair share of taxes. Meanwhile, billions of dollars in budget cuts in California will mean fewer government services, especially for the elderly, the disabled, the poor and the catastrophically ill.
In 1974, President Richard Nixon supported the creation of the Section 8 voucher housing program. For one instant, just try to imagine that if Bruce Gregory and Bernie Webber of West Chicago, Illinois, had a Section 8 voucher in 1974 to help pay off the rent in the apartment they resided in, that they may not have ended up robbing a Clarke gas station, just to pay the rent. Imagine that….
In a time when Republicans are slashing the federal budget and the nation’s housing programs, with Democrats consenting, more young men and women will be compelled to commit crimes and will end up in prison, just as Bruce Gregory and Bernie Webber did, after journalist Bob Woodward’s father, Judge Alfred Woodward, sentenced the two young men to prison for a five-year maximum sentence for armed robbery.

Art by Christa Occhiogrosso
Art by Christa Occhiogrosso

Tragically, Judge Woodward’s daughter Wendy, was close friends to the two young men, and they used to visit Wendy at the judge’s home in Wheaton after they got out on bail for armed robbery, but friends or not, the judge still had to sentence them to prison because of the harsh mandatory sentencing laws in Illinois.
Just imagine an elderly couple down on their luck, and down to their last few bucks, with barely enough money to buy a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop. Now, imagine that they are both desperate and clever enough to get a free meal along with their cup of coffee.
Imagine one of those senior citizens sitting down alone at the counter and ordering himself a huge feast of ham and eggs, French toast, coffee and orange juice. Now, five minutes later, the senior citizen’s partner strolls into the coffee shop, sits down next to him, and orders only a cup of coffee.
After a bit, when no one is looking, they trade their checks at the counter with each other, before wandering off to pay their bills. The one that had a feast, now has the check for a cup of coffee. He pays the cashier for the coffee, then wanders off down the street, feeling good after eating a huge, free meal.
The woman still at the counter calls the waitress over, and tells her that she only had a cup of coffee, but wound up with the wrong check somehow.
Others may try to get free food by ordering extra pizzas for pick-up late in the evening, just before closing time. After no one picks up the pizzas, they end up in the dumpster behind the building, where hungry people will come by later to grab the pizzas that were tossed out.
The budget cuts imposed by the Democrats in California are sure to wreak more havoc on society than can ever be measured, as the fabric of the safety net is shredded by those protecting big business, big banks, big oil companies, and the avaricious rich from paying their fair share of taxes.