Saturday, January 2, 2010

Skubick: Cuts Only Matter if People Die

One of the hazards of staying in journalism too long is that people get so cynical that they lose touch with people.

A case in point is Tim Skubick, whose "Off the Record" show airs on WKAR in Lansing and other public television stations. Skubick also writes a blog, carried in the Oakland Press. And in the December 30, 2009, entry, he had this to say about cuts in the 2009 state budget:

"While there has been pain from these cuts, no one has died from them."

In the first place, how does Skubick know that? When people die, especially poor ones, no neon sign lights up that says they died due to inadequate medical care due to cuts in the Medicaid budget, poor nutrition, and so on. They just die and no one notices.

And in the second place, isn't that setting a pretty low bar for how we judge ourselves as a state? As long as bodies aren't piling up in the street and people aren't dropping dead of malnutriton, Skubick thinks we should be satisfed. It's true that probably no one will die if schools have to cut busing for students, but if students drop out because it's just too much trouble to get to school, won't that impact their ability to earn a living, provide for themselves, and be productive citizens -- and doesn't that affect our future as a state?

Maybe it's time for Skubick to take a break from the horse-race side of politics and go cover some human services issues for awhile.

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