Monday, August 29, 2011

Where is the help for economic disaster area of North Adams?

I WONDER whether President Obama, vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, read last Sunday’s front-page story about conditions in North Adams (“Between haves, have-nots, an ever greater gulf’’). How would he react to the difficulties that single mother Mindy Shoestock has in feeding her two sons and paying monthly bills while earning $9 an hour as a shift manager at McDonald’s?

In North Adams the official unemployment rate in June was 9.7 percent. So what did the state do? It closed the local unemployment office. People in North Adams and throughout the country are facing an economic and social disaster.

When tornadoes hit Western Massachusetts in June, President Obama quickly called it a disaster area, eligible for federal funds. Republican Senator Scott Brown praised the Department of Labor for making $3 million available to create temporary jobs for storm clean-up and repair.

I guess the government will help if people are harmed by disasters that are “natural,’’ and result from no fault of their own.

Well, it’s no fault of Shoestock’s that a huge corporation such as McDonald’s pays her only $9 an hour. And the people of North Adams are not to blame for the banking collapse and this “Great Recession.’’ So, why not provide federal emergency aid to those facing social and economic disasters? source