I don’t envy any mayor, especially Michael Bloomberg, for being the mayor of New York can’t be easy. With so much diversity comes countless points of view such that virtually every decision made is a potentially controversial one. Except, sadly, ones which pertain to childcare.
While decisions adversely impacting senior centers or libraries are sure to cause great strife, changes to subsidized childcare go virtually unnoticed, except of course, to the folks who bare the brunt of those decisions. And those folks?
Often, they’re single moms.
Onaida Ruiz is one such woman, and I learned about her thanks to Dan Collins, New York Editor-At-Large for the Huffington Post. It turns out that a footnote in Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed budget calls for the elimination of over 16,400 childcare spots for children who come from low-income, working families. It also turns out that Ruiz’s infant daughter is one of the ones whose daycare would no longer exist should the budget go through.
“I’m at the point now where I’m about to panic, because I have no other means of supporting my children, I’m a single parent,” she said. “It’s going to be very hard for me to continue working. I wake up in the morning with a headache because I don’t know what to do.”
Collins notes that the city has already made 14,000 such cuts in the past to “no notable outcry.” It seems as if child care simply isn’t of communal concern anymore. And that strikes me as a real shame.
Ruiz holds down a full time job at an insurance company just to put food on her family’s table. And she’s stuck in the catch-22 of not being able to afford daycare, yet also not being able to afford to leave her job.
So should all this come to pass, what will Ruiz do? Leave her child with a neighbor? Drastically cut back on another portion of her budget? Take on another job, thus taking even more hours from her most important of being a mother?
There are no ideal answers. Nor, I realize, will there always be logical places to cut a budget. Even so, it seems to me that cutting funding which not only allows hardworking citizens to chase the American Dream, but also helps them give their kids an even greater chance of catching that dream doesn’t make sense to me.
When I make cuts to my personal budget, I tend to make them in areas which are overfunded — areas of extravagance which I could easily trim down a bit without compromising my quality of life. Yet the elimination of subsidized child care provided to low-income families such that they can simply go out and make ends meat hardly sounds like an analogous cut to me.
Then again, it is a “safe” one. Because unless you’re affected, you’re unlikely to notice. I wish that weren’t true.
Have you ever lost anything subsidized which you desperately needed? How did it affect your family?