Manchester Times

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TIMES EDITORIAL: Cutting out senior meals isn’t the responsible thing to do

Posted on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm

As a country, we often find ourselves torn over what ideology would be best to make us prosper.

But one thing should be clear – we have to take care of our senior citizens. We have to take care of them today, tomorrow and for generations to come.

If the day ever comes when we, as a country, can’t care for the people who poured blood, sweat and tears into making this country the power it is today, then we are no better than countries that can’t provide basic services.

The recent cuts by the Republican-led Tennessee state government to the meal program for senior citizens is an example of how senior citizens can easily be left out. Stop them from voting, and then starve the ones who can.

Maybe it isn’t to that extreme, but the cuts don’t make sense from a fiscal standpoint. They don’t even make sense to the people involved. The Manchester Times spoke with multiple people within the South Central Human Resource Agency and local officials who understand that these cuts were “federal cuts.” That isn’t true. They are state cuts. By cutting state funding, the meal program loses federal grant money from the Department of Health and Human Services.

TennCare, asked to find budget cuts by Governor Bill Haslam, cut approximately $320,000 from this meal fund. In doing so, and trumpeting fiscal responsibility in the process, the cuts cost seniors not $320,000, but an additional $700,000 in federal grant matches. Is that fiscally responsible?

There is no doubting that times are tough. Purse strings must be tightened in state and federal budgets. But cutting into the senior citizen’s food is not the answer.

They are still alive – at least as long as they can eat.