Letter to the Editor

Critical need for one-time money

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Missouri Speaker of the House Ron Richard, R-Joplin, recently suggested that Missouri reject any federal stimulus money and "just send it back." State Rep. Bob Dixon of Springfield stated that "it's not really a good idea to use one-time money."

These comments highlight how horribly out of touch Missouri lawmakers are with the plight of the unemployed, the disabled and the uninsured in their own state. Recent layoffs have left thousands scrambling for unemployment money in a state where it is becoming scarce. Those same unemployed are finding it impossible to afford the COBRA health-care coverage needed to replace what they have lost.

Many factory workers have been laid off after 25 to 30 years of service, and insurance companies find all kinds of ways to deny them policies, even if they could afford the high premiums.

Many, especially working mothers, apply for Medicaid in order to be covered, straining an already underfunded program due to cuts made in 2005. This leaves many disabled Missourians worried about their future as well.

Now is not the time for political parlor games. The unemployed will not gain anything from promises of tax cuts for others, and they certainly hope the circumstance they find themselves in is a one-time thing.

I suggest that Missouri lawmakers who thumb their noses at this one-time money get out among the people who are suffering and see how critical this one-time money is to them.

WILL RICHARDSON, Jackson