Monday 20 April 2009

Thousands of kids sleep in the street: thanks, Dubya!

A recent VOA report stated that U.S. homelessness is ready to spike upward. With Bush’s recession blazing like a forest fire across the country, more of the unemployed are homeless. With the housing fiasco and the tidal wave of foreclosures, it’s easier than ever to end up on the street. States and cities, already strapped for cash, have less money for homelessness services.

More and more of the homeless are people who never thought it could happen to them.

In a typical week, almost a million people are on the street; over 3 million are homeless in a typical year.

And here’s the kicker: half are families with children, or children who have no adults with them at all – the fastest growing groups. In our America, one child in 50 is on the street. School becomes a distant dream. These kids are more susceptible to every kind of disease, exploitation and violence. Where do they get health care? Half the homeless have chronic health problems; half have no insurance.

Families, kids with moms, kids without moms, in the greatest economy in human history, huddle, exposed to the weather, in sleeping bags, tents, cardboard boxes, shantytowns, abandoned buildings, smack shooting galleries, cars, parks, tunnels, train stations, subway platforms, hospital lobbies, all-night diners. In California, parking lots are filling with car-sleepers; tent cities are popping up. The lucky few are in shelters or crashing with friends or relatives who have their own economic problems.

Imagine for yourself the disastrous long-term consequences of all this: for the next 10-20 years, kids who could have gone on to college, careers, families, are now destined for crime, drugs, prostitution, abusive relationships, violent ends. The luckier ones will climb up into blue-collar jobs, maybe. Custodians, housekeepers, fast-food. Our most valuable resource, wasted, because of catastrophically bad leadership from the Republicans, who ripped apart the network of laws and regulations that protect us from white collar crime and massive financial stupidity.

All those fatcat Republicans who will never miss a meal or worry about having a roof over their heads: guys who never did an honest day’s work in their lives. Crooked politicians, crooked bankers, crooked investors, crooked lobbyists, who waged war on our families and our kids. Because, for them, one house just wasn’t enough -- who cares how many laws we break, how many lives we destroy? I got my eye on that second home, and thanks to the economic crisis, I can snap up some other guy’s house real cheap, make me a fat little profit! And since they’re in bed with crooked lawyers, they are unlikely to pay for their crimes.

And while they did all this, they also gave themselves a fat tax cut that the rest of us will have to pay for, for years.

All thanks to George "No Child Left Behind" Bush.

But wait, it gets better! On Sunday these well-fed Republicans will waddle into church, and lecture the rest of us on how immoral we Democrats are.

And next Fourth of July, they will throw Tea Party II, so that the Republican party can blame all of these crimes, follies and woes on...the Democrats. The perfect crime! Blame your own actions on the people who tried to stop you!

Remember all this, come July. When all these addled rightwing hopheads go on Fox News, all dressed up like Betsy Ross, to tell us what traitors we are.

And you Republicans: look at the faces of these kids. Remember them well. Because when they grow up, they're going to demand an explanation for what you did to them.

PS -- And another stereotype bites the dust: 35 percent of the homeless are white.

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