The powers that be in Raleigh have, in the last few years, decided that health care, unemployment compensation, voting rights and education are not necessary for life.
Now they have added food to the list.
As though the passage of a budget that pretty much starves the mental health system out of existence weren’t bad enough, a bill before the General Assembly now would take away food stamps from more than 105,000 adults in the state.
Under federal law, states can suspend work-related time limits on federal food aid in areas with persistently high levels of unemployment. In July, the state applied for this waiver for 77 of its 100 counties because of a severe lack of jobs available in those counties.
The bill before the senate now would ban the state from pursuing this option permanently, no mater how poorly local economies are faring or whether employment and training opportunities actually exist in those counties.
This is one more anti-life measure in the criminalization of poverty by the very people whose policies make it nearly impossible for people to climb out of poverty.
My friend, Sen. Terry Van Dyun (D., Buncombe County), told me recently that her colleague, Sen. Ralph Hise (R., Mitchell County), called people in need of health care lazy.
“He told me they should get off their butts and get a job that offers health care or make enough money to qualify for insurance through the marketplace,” she said.
People who work at minimum-wage jobs can’t afford to pay their bills and buy food. It’s as simple as that. It takes more than double minimum wage to sustain even the most frugal lifestyle — no eating out, no cable TV, no movies or night clubbing, just the most basic apartment, an old car (if you can afford one at all) and the most basic phone service.
North Carolina is a mostly rural state with a few higher-density population areas. It is the seventh hungriest state in the nation. In rural counties, people can’t find high-paying jobs. They might work at a Dollar Store or a Burger King, but they won’t make a living wage in these places and they won’t get a 40-hour work week.
In a city like Asheville, service industry jobs are plentiful, but they don’t pay well, and housing costs are high. That means many people don’t earn enough to make ends meet.
I would ask you to call your state senator if you live in North Carolina, but they have shown no evidence that they care about us or what we think. They feel safe in their gerrymandered districts and they are arrogant enough to believe they can do as they please in all matters.
It looks as though the only way to stop these consistently anti-life policies is to put up candidates in 2016 and fight to unseat all of those who don’t care about us or our well-being.
If you aren’t registered to vote, if you don’t vote because you don’t think it will make a difference, you are part of the problem here. If you care about human life, get off your ass and vote in the primaries and in the general election.