CARA Seniors Speak Out Against Lethal May Revise Cuts

Posted on 26 May 2010

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By Nan Brasmer

Last week, the lives of millions of California seniors were sold down the river when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled his May revise budget, which included extraordinarily painful cuts targeting the very services that countless seniors depend on.

But not only does the Governor’s May revision fail to address any of the challenges currently facing our state, but it serves as a collective death sentence for our struggling seniors that now find themselves on the chopping block while corporate and other special interest groups are given billions in hand-outs and other “rewards” while the rest of California endures insecurity and hardship.

That’s why more than two dozen seniors from the California Alliance of Retired Americans (CARA), California’s largest grassroots senior advocacy organization representing over 850,000 seniors and their families, traveled to the Capitol on Thursday (May 20th) to deliver more than 500 handwritten letters to State Assemblymembers and Senators.  

These letters from all over California personify the victimization of California’s senior citizens at the hands of the Governor’s May Revise budget. These are the letters from seniors who are frightened at the prospect of their worst fears coming to fruition – being ripped from their families, forced into nursing homes and waiting to die.  

“How, in good conscience, can Governor Schwarzenegger sentence me to live the rest of my life in a nursing home, away from my family and loved ones,” asked one of the letters.

Without my in-home care, the tasks of everyday living become unfeasible obstacles and burdens that I’m simply unable to cope with. I’ve worked hard all my life, and pride myself on my independence. But the Governor’s budget proposals would take this all away from me, and then what am I left with,” another read.    

Hundreds of thousands of California’s seniors are living on the edge – and after two years of devastating cuts to health and human services programs, this year’s May Revise proposal seeks to put the proverbial nail in the coffin for countless elders, robbing them of their independence, their livelihood and their dignity.  

But these determined seniors joining us in the Capitol were not asking for pity, nor handouts; they were asking for their state leaders, the very ones they elected into office, to fight on behalf of their constituents for a budget that puts the needs of seniors, working families, people with disabilities and others ahead of corporate and other special interests. These remarkable individuals braved the stormy halls of the Capitol to fight not only for a responsible budget that encourages California’s economic recovery, but gives them an opportunity to simply live their lives outside the confines of the nursing home.

But unfortunately, seniors are not alone in this cruel struggle for survival. If you consider the other proposals included in the Governor’s May Revise budget, such as the proposed elimination of CalWORKS, cuts to health care access for low-income families and people with disabilities and slashing upwards of $750 million from In-Home Support Services, our whole state is in jeopardy. The Governor’s proposal is not only unreasonable, unjust and cruel – but completely unsustainable given the current economic conditions our state is facing.  

Click here to view pictures and video of our visits with state leaders, including the delivery of our hundreds of handwritten letters.


Nan Brasmer is President of California Alliance of Retired Americans (CARA), a statewide nonprofit organization that unites retired workers and community groups to win social and economic justice, full civil rights, and a better, more secure future for ourselves, our families, and future generations. Nan and can be reached at   

Chevron gouged $24 billions in excessive profits in 2008, as per Schwarzenegger should put an excessive profits tax on these profits, instead of protecting the oil corporations from fair taxation, then, there would be sufficient public funds for all the vulnerable, people programs. Big business lost the fight to eliminate domestic violence funding, so now they are coming back with a vengeance. There is no funding provision for battered women shelters in the May Revise. Schwarzee picks on the most vulnerable, and not on corporate tax "deadbeats."

The website that you refer to itself lists the ENTIRE profit of Chevron as an 'Excess" profit.

That must come as a shock to the state retirees. Calpers owns more Exxon-Mobil than any other stock, but they have substantial amounts of Chevron too, about 11.3 million shares last time I checked, about $840 million at today's close.

So I guess you believe that the stockholders - like Calpers - should not have received the average dividend of $2.58 they got that year on their $74 investment, a whopping 3.5%?

So what do YOU believe is a fair return on investment? If - instead of blowing a hundred dollars on beer and cigarettes - I elect to buy a share of stock with it, how much should I be paid for the use of my $100 for a year? Nothing? $5? Realize that I'm taking the risk of losing my money altogether when I provide a company with the capital it requires to do business - to buy a machine that does whatever the company does faster, safer, cleaner.

So what, in your apparently not-so-humble opinion is "fair"?

What can we do? I have written letters to those in office including the Governor's wife and have never received even a generic reply!

They simply do not care about those of us that do not and cannot fatten their morbidly obese bank accounts! They want us to just dry up and die! Genocide of the elderly and disabled poor is what it truly is.

You are living off your grandchildren - many of whom are not even old enough to vote. (What was that about taxation without representation?)

California is deeply in debt. We owe money (both principal and interest) on bonds that we sold years ago so we could live beyond our means and we owe - at the last assessment - a half TRILLION dollars to the three largest state government pension plans in the state.

The public has no moral obligation to incur debt that must be paid off by generations yet unborn for you. We have chased from the state the tax base that supporting you made possible. It's gone, and likely as not you were part of the decisions that chased it from the state.

As you sow so shall you reap.

We sowed the seeds of our own destruction )and that of our grandchildren_ and now we are getting reaped. Most likely, we deserve it.