Susan Green Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Susan Green

Relief That Does Not Relieve

New York City Chisels on Relief Funds

(20 January 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 3, 20 January 1941, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

What happens when the relief client tells his investigator that his family needs warm clothing? The investigator says, if he is polite: “Sorry, but there is no money.”

So the client argues that the children all have colds and must have warm clothes. He points out to the investigator that he has not had a clothing allowance for months and is entitled to it.

But the investigator still says: “No. You will have to wait. There is no cash for clothing.”

THAT HAPPENS TO BE A LIE. First, I want to remind you how the City gets its relief money. It comes from the sales tax that you and I and all of us pay on almost everything we buy. People are paying that sales tax with the understanding that it goes to the home relief clients.

Last year, 1940, $18,000,000 of the amount collected in sales taxes for relief purposes was NOT USED FOR THAT PURPOSE AT ALL. Most of it was just taking a rest and drawing interest in the bank, and $4,500,000 of it was used by the City FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

While all this money was lying idle and some of it was being used for the wrong purpose, the needy people on relief were waiting and waiting for clothing, for medical and dental treatment, for supplementary rent·to be able to have a proper roof over their heads. THEY STILL WAIT.

Furthermore, while all this money was there to be used for relief, investigators all over the City were doing their level best, and still are, to throw as many clients off relief as possible.

It is estimated that this corning year there will again be a surplus of around $18,000,000 collected for relief but not used for relief. Mayor LaGuardia, that great “friend of the people”, is trying to get permission from the state legislature to divert this bunch of money to other purposes and again take it away from relief clients.

NOW IS THE TIME FOR THE PEOPLE ON RELIEF TO MAKE THEMSELVES HEARD. They are entitled to the use of this $18,000,000. They need it. They must have it. They will, IF THEY PUT UP A FIGHT FOR IT.

Susan Green Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers’ Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 19 August 2014