"What are they selling now?" I thought. This piece should have been on the editorial page rather a news page. "Failing" is an opinion word, not a fact word. Using such a word displays an intent to motivate the reader . . . but to what end?
The numbers are stark: Oneida County children are three times more likely to be living in poverty than local senior citizens.Why the juxtaposition between "children" and "senior citizens?" Is the intent of the article to make seniors feel "guilty" . . . and get them to support whatever is being sold? Or is it to make us turn our attention away from seniors because their lives are almost over? Seniors and children both have needs, and it should not be turned into an "either ... or" situation.
Senior citizens, many of whom worked for years in local factories and earned solid pensions, now find themselves with a financial cushion . . .
The article presumes an awful lot about seniors, perhaps reflecting the "New Hartford" perspective that colors OD's reporting . . . While some seniors may be well off, anyone who retired years ago with a "solid" pension has seen it minimized and trivialized by years of inflation, tax increases, and utility increases. For many seniors, the financial "cushion" is about as comfortable as an air-mattress that is still in its box. . . . And once the "cushion" is gone, then what? Is a 92 year old supposed to go back to work?
State Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito, D-Rome, said more anti-poverty programs for youth are needed back the area. In recent years, there has been a lack of federal funding for such programs, she said.Maybe that's what they're selling . . . more programs!
“Those programs help young people achieve the skills that they need to go out into the workplace,” she said. “And I think it’s been lacking in our urban settings.”Now wait just one minute . . . Helping young people achieve skills? Isn't this what the SCHOOLS are supposed to be doing? . . . And haven't the SCHOOLS been taking ever increasing amounts of our tax dollars and an ever increasing percentage of our incomes for the last 40 years? The "lack of federal funding" argument is bogus as is any lack of funding argument in general. Schools have been awash in money, but they've blown it on high salaries, legions of unnecessary employees, crazy architecture, artificial turf, bloated building programs, and ineffective methodology: anything to build empires for local officials, but nothing to ensure that the kids "achieve the skills that they need to go out into the workplace."
As far as what's "been lacking in our urban settings," you can thank the State of New York and our local urban boards of education for that. Utica once had an exemplary occupational education program that prepared many of the now "seniors" to earn their "financial cushions." But once Utica joined state-organized BOCES to provide occupational education, the programs were removed from the local high schools (where the greatest need existed) and stuck out in New Hartford. That made them less available for use. Students from Utica suffered. Utica now suffers . . . But the BOCES empire has grown.
So now because the schools have not done what we pay them to do, do we have to create more special programs? If the past is any guide, government failure will beget more government programs, and public monies will be funneled into more six-figure salaries for people connected with our local elite.
“They need opportunities to grow and get good jobs,” she said. “It is alarming to me that we have such a high percentage of children living in poverty.”Mrs. Destito is alarmed . . . I am alarmed, too. But the reason why we aren't growing good jobs, why people aren't getting them, and why so many live in poverty has nothing to do with seniors, and nothing to do with a lack of programs. The reason is that NEW YORK STATE policies have driven the good jobs away. Had our local economy been even just average with the rest of the country, local families would have had the jobs and been able to build their own "financial cushions" for downturns such as now.
Yes, let's get more federal funds for more "anti-poverty programs" . . . but also make sure that the money does not wind up in the pockets of high paid administrators, actually achieves results that can be measured, and is used as only a stop-gap.
Like the Detroit auto industry, Mrs. Destito is looking for a federal bailout of failed STATE policy. Without changes to that STATE policy, on which SHE is in a position to be heard, the numbers of people -- children and seniors alike -- living in poverty will only increase.
The young families in poverty, at least, have youth on their side. Like the Depression when the poor were told to "go west," they can leave the area and start anew where there are more opportunities.
The seniors stuck here in poverty . . . where are they going?