In a shockingly malfeasant move, the Michigan state legislature is cutting food aide for its college students. Sighting abuse and faulty government oversight of the widely popular program, former State Supreme Court justice and current director of the Michigan Department of Human Services, Maura Corrigan, is dumping close to 30,000 students from the Michigan’s student food stamp program.
Disregarding the recent hikes in state tuition costs and the desperately high unemployment rate in Michigan — which is double for African Americans — Corrigan smugly told The Detroit News that students need to pull up their boot straps and find a way to make it through their college courses without federal assistance because way back when she was in college — you know, a time when college was affordable for all classes of people — that’s how she made it, even though she omitted she came from a well-to-do family out of Cleveland, Ohio.
“Maybe (students) could go get a part-time job — that’s what I did,” said Corrigan, a former justice of the Michigan Supreme Court who attended Detroit’s Marygrove College and University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.
Corrigan, who Republican Governor Rick Synder appointed to clean up the state’s welfare issues, wants to start reviewing the assets of applicants after a very public embarrassment led to a media upheaval over Michigan resident Leroy Fick, who remained eligible for food stamps and continued using them after he won $2 million in the state lottery TV show “Make Me Rich!” in June 2010.
To further complicate matters surrounding the cuts, disgraced former-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was recently released from prison after serving time for violating probation and awaits trial on federal corruption charges, thought it was necessary to include in his memoir that he abused the food stamps program while he attended Florida A&M University in the late 1980s and early 1990s –basically, publicly shaming his mother, who was a state representative, and his father, who was a top Wayne County official during the time of Kilpatrick’s alleged fraud.
Leave it up to politicians to use these aforementioned examples to justify a wide range of budget cuts and place unneeded stress on the average, struggling student’s lifestyle. Even though fraud is a very serious issue, which needs immediate attention, Corrigan should have handled this privately, including transparent, public records of her office’s cuts for all Michigan citizens to review upon request.
The Detroit News quotes a young Central Michigan student, who is now under scrutiny even though she uses the program properly in order to subsidize her and father’s grocery needs:
“Students should be focusing on their education, not whether or not they’ll be able to eat dinner or whether they can manage to find a job and balance it on top of their studies,”
In these times of great uncertainty, there has to be a careful and nuanced approach between cleaning up fiscal debts and providing support for the most vulnerable citizens. No politician wants anyone to starve, especially not the poor and people pursuing higher education, but focusing cuts on programs that disproportionally affect citizens in need of assistance will only cause more resentment towards established American principles, as young people continuously see their dreams of making out of poverty and debt turn radically into a nightmare.