January 29, 2009 by Gsmith
As the two big parties in Congress debate the minutiae of and push back and forth on their ideological differences over President Obama’s economic recovery package, a report today, Jan. 28, by the Associated Press reveals that at least five mass murder-suicides have occurred in Southern California over the past year, apparently linked to anxiety and desperation over the economic crisis.
In the latest case, Ervin Lupoe and his wife Ana were fired from their jobs as medical technicians at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Los Angeles. In a letter found at the scene where police believe Lupoe shot his wife, their five small children, and then himself, Lupoe wrote that they had been fired from Kaiser Permanente after an internal investigation by the company found they had misled government agencies in order to get affordable childcare for their five children.
When their actions had been discovered, Lupoe said, a company administrator told them two days before last Christmas, “You should not even had bothered to come to work today you should have blown your brains out.”
Lupoe went on to write that their complaints to higher-ups in the company fell on deaf ears and the two were fired on Christmas Day.
“They did nothing to the manager who stated such and did not attempt to assist us in the matter, knowing we have no job and five children under 8 years with no place to go. So here we are,” the note said.
Kaiser Permanente then denied that any such advice to kill themselves had been given to Lupoe or his wife.
No specific details can be found in the article about the Lupoe family’s financial situation, and by all accounts the Lupoe’s seemed happy and normal.
What we do know is that 2.6 million people like the Lupoe’s lost their jobs in 2008. In addition, hard economic times might force a working family with five children to find way – any way – to provide child care for their small children, between four months and eight years. Working families pay thousands each year to provide decent child care so that they can get to work.
We also know that hundreds of thousands of families, faced with rising mortgage payments and job losses, lost their homes in 2008. In an instant many happy families who seemed confident about their financial situation became desperate and angry.
We also know that Bank of America got $25 billion from the financial bailout last year and spent some of it to conspire against American workers to keep them from joining labor unions. We know that top executives at AIG got an easy handout from Washington and then turned around the next weekend to spend hundreds of thousands on a plush weekend getaway. This past week we learned that President Obama had to intervene directly to prevent Citigroup, which got tens of billions in taxpayer dollars in 2008, to stop them from spending $50 million on a corporate jet.
Where is the bailout for families like the Lupoes?
Over the past eight years, Bush administration and Republican cuts for child care programs and after school programs to help families like the Lupoes make it from paycheck to paycheck have been gutted in favor of an illegal war in Iraq and tax cuts for the richest families and corporate CEOs in the country.
That is the true crime here.
Now working families have an opportunity for change. We need to grab onto that opportunity with all our might and fight to make sure what happened to the Lupoes never happens to another family again.