I was going to begin by asking, rhetorically, why Arnold Schwarzenegger invariably decides to solve the state's problems by taking funding away from people who are short of funds to begin with. Unfortunately, I know why - these are people who never, under any circumstances, contribute to his campaigns. School children, sick people, blind people, old people - they have no power and (usually) no money, which is why they rely on state funding.
Arnold's latest target, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle's Andrew Ross, in his Bottom Line column today, are the sick, disabled and elderly people who manage to stay out of nursing homes by using the state's In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program. $95 million of the "savings" in the governator's so-called budget are projected to come from this program, by eliminating "waste, fraud, and abuse."
Why do Republicans always assume that the poorer and more powerless a group is, the more likely they are to be responsible for "waste, fraud, and abuse"?? We got the same mantra in the '90s when Bill Clinton allowed himself to be Republicanized into "reforming welfare" and getting rid of "welfare queens."
The vaunted savings aren't there. Mr. Ross quotes a representative of the Legislative Analyst's Office who states that repeated investigations have found minimal fraud in the program - "minimal" meaning "1% or less." So, not only will the service cuts force these people into nursing homes (where, by the way, it will cost the state a lot more to give them a lower standard of care), it won't solve the budget problem it's touted to solve. This is insane, and Schwarzenegger has to know it's insane - he isn't stupid. I don't know exactly what he is, but I do know one thing: he's wrong. And it's going to cost the State of California even more money.