Sunday, May 11, 2014

Exploiting Our Society

"A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." Mahatma Gandhi.
An article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discusses the shortage of agencies that do meals on wheels for the housebound in Milwaukee County.  The article points out that this will become an even greater problem as more baby boomers hit their golden years.

It is not happy news, but what makes me angry is the reason why there is this shortage - greed:
But providing those meals isn't profitable, and the number of places with such programs is shrinking.

Milwaukee-based Horizon Home Care & Hospice is one of the few places still delivering affordable meals to older adults in the county as a community service, said Jason Whittington, manager of volunteer services at Horizon. In recent years, several programs have closed or been absorbed by other organizations.

"The biggest reason is you lose money on it, frankly. Our client base is on a very strict budget, so what we charge customers is at cost," Whittington said.
What a lovely message they are sending - "Yes, we'll feed you, but only if we can exploit doing so to line our pockets."

This is one of my biggest peeves about the push to privatize so many services that should remain in the public sector.  It's absolutely abhorrent that our society seems to think it's OK to exploit our most vulnerable citizens of all ages and walks of life.

Whether it is taking care of abused and/or neglected children, giving a safe place of treatment for the mentally ill or feeding our elderly and disabled, these service are necessities - not luxuries or niceties.  In that sense, while it is important to do things effectively and efficiently in order to minimize waste and maximize the benefits, it does not do to cut corners and put people in harm's way for love of the Almighty Dollar.

To make matters worse, those that are so dead set on privatizing everything and anything they can - people like Scott Walker, Chris Abele and Robin Vos - are fully aware that privatizing services doesn't save any money and diminishes services.  But their greed doesn't allow them to do the proper thing either for the people that need help or the people paying for the needed services.

Some things should and need to be done simply because they are the right thing to do. Profit margins shouldn't even be a factor in these needed services.

If our greatness is measured by how we treat our most vulnerable and neediest citizens, we don't come out looking very good.

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