Public Comment

The Governor’s Depraved Cuts To IHSS

By Jack Bragen
Thursday February 11, 2010 - 09:50:00 AM

Arnold Swartzenegger, and his longtime hero Clint Eastwood, are finally getting their fondest wish, which is to rid the state of what they believe to be a mere nuisance: The coexistence of disabled people in the community. If at all possible, these two anti-disability activists would have anyone with a significant disability be forced to live in state institutions, and out of their sight. 

Clint Eastwood, who Arnold once said was his childhood hero, has been known for years to be an anti-disability-rights activist. Numerous articles in “Ragged Edge Magazine” (no longer in print) have described his bigoted activities and his attitude toward disabled people. 

Arnold, following in the beliefs of Clint, is the Governor and the one to which the voters have given authority. So far he has used this power to pencil out large parts of the In Home Supportive Services, and this has caused many disabled persons to go without the caregivers who have allowed living in the community. 

My wife and I have been recipients of these services and were getting help with our dishes and laundry; this service made our existence much easier. Our mental health issues made it hard to wash the dishes and do laundry. If you have experience with mental health, you will understand this difficulty as well as how much some outside assistance helps. 

We recently had the experience of being discontinued from IHSS, on the basis that we were not in imminent danger of going to a skilled nursing facility. While it will be a hardship for us to compensate for the absence of our workers, we do not expect to be institutionalized as a result. And that’s now the criteria of no longer receiving these services. 

Most IHSS recipients have physical disabilities, not mental ones, and the services they receive, which include very basic care, are essential for them to continue living in their homes. 

The social worker who reviewed my wife and I told us that the governor hopes to eliminate IHSS entirely. This would leave numerous disabled people in California without hope of continuing an independent and therefore tolerable existence. 

Apparently Arnold believes that disabled people are scum, are freeloaders, and all ought to get a job or else disappear into an institution. Because he is a multimillionaire, he believes it makes him inherently superior, and he deems himself worthy to make such a judgment. Like many who have made fortunes in society, he seems to think he is better than everyone rather than the reality that he is blessed with good fortune. 

Of course, the above paragraph involves “reading in” to Arnold and is not fact. It is my interpretation of this seemingly pompous man based on how I have seen him behave. 

This is one reason why society is crumbling in our country: we have a small percentage of people who hoard most of the wealth, and who apparently can never get enough wealth and power to satisfy them. This group of people inflicts cruel acts on other human beings, and on the earth itself in the course of their quest for more. The extreme hoarding disrupts the fabric of the economy since the regular people, including those who work and produce things, cannot afford to pay for the basics. 

The above paragraph might explain why the governor must cut benefits for people who are less fortunate, while he refuses to raise taxes on people who can well afford to pay something back after being blessed with the best, materialistically speaking, that society has to offer. 


Jack Bragen is a Martinez resident.