Instead of barely raising taxes for those who can most afford it, the D.C. City Council decided to cut funding to social service programs for those who can least afford it.
Save Our Safety Net was campaigning to generate revenue by raising taxes on the top 5% of earners and investing the money into projects that benefit the whole city. Instead, the Council continued to slash funding for critical programs that help the poor.
At least they didn’t get away with it quietly. From NBC (“Protests Disrupt DC Council Budget Cutting“):
The squad of officers was kept busy as one protester after another stood up to denounce the proceedings. In all, there were seven disruptions and 10 people were ejected from the room.
As someone who depends on safety net services, I commend these organizers. Oppressed people — especially communities of color, immigrant communities, low-income families, trans folks, and people with disabilities — have a lot at stake in this struggle.
Like, our lives.
Poor people aren’t poor because we make bad decisions or because we’re lazy. We’re poor because 1% of the population owns half the country’s wealth.
And if we’re queer or trans, there’s homophobic and transphobic hiring biases that keep us from working. Add to that: a criminal record from survival sex work, mental health problems and addiction resulting from trauma and abuse, not having a degree because you got harassed every day at school, having no home address because your family kicked you out, and being turned away from homeless shelters and food banks because they’re all run by catholics.
That’s why we’re poor. Redistributing some wealth our way through tax-subsidized social programs is the least we deserve. For a lot of people, social programs are the only thing that allows us to get back on our feet and become healthy, contributing members of our communities again.
But those in power have a vested interested in defending the status quo. So I have little faith that anything will change until we unite and force it to happen.