"Too equal" and Nikki Haley's Contempt for Rape Victims

I reblogged a post the other day about Nikki Haley's line-veto of the entire budget for the South Carolina Department of Health's network of rape crisis centers, with a quote of her truly reprehensible "justfication" for doing so:
The problem is it's like when you give something to a child. They're always going to figure out how they can get away with a little more ... [the rape crisis funding/centers] distract from the agency’s broader mission of protecting South Carolina’s public health.
 I set that post to push to Twitter as well, figuring that Haley's gross disrespect for survivors deserved to be as widely disseminated as possible.  A follower RT'd it, adding "Clarity in party for people vs. cash improves".

At the time they said it, I had a hard time parsing it (obviously I've been off twitter too much of late), but I've eventually understood it as a comment on the GOP's priorities of people versus profit, and how a move like this makes that ever more blatantly clear.  Rape victims are a "distraction" because it's a nice tidy half-mil line item to cut from the budget, which is far more important than actually caring for people who need it.

Relatedly, I was sitting in on a meeting at work the other day, about a jobsite that's just getting started.  I was involved in the hiring process for the half dozen employees we have out there, three of whom are PoC, including one WoC.  The job superintendent (who is a gigantic dumbfuck we have to patiently, carefully lead by the nose into understanding anything the company needs to do or needs him to be in compliance with) was saying there was a guy he knows that he wanted to hire on as well, and he offered as a selling point that this guy is black, which would add to our EEO numbers.  (Projects by a government entity, which comprise the bulk of what we do, have minority participation targets - usually that I've seen, 16.9% non-white and 9% female.)

Tracy, the general manager for our office, shook his head.  "No," he said, "We've already made our target numbers for this job.  We don't want to go over those numbers."

I raised an eyebrow at him from my corner of the table, not quite pushy enough to speak up but wanting an explanation.  They're used to my being a bit behind on industry-specific stuff, by now, and mostly don't mind explaining things like EEO jobsite quotas, or submittals, or whatever.  He explained for my benefit (and Ron's, too, I think, as he's an older guy who probably hasn't had to worry too much about this sort of thing for most of his career), "We have to try to meet those numbers, but we don't want to go over them if we can avoid it, because they might raise the target number for next time if we do and then we have to scramble even more to try to make it."  He added, "I don't personally care if this guy is black, blue, or purple, but we don't want to overdo our EEO numbers."  (Yes, the "purple people" made an appearance; I narrowly managed to avoid rolling my eyes or snorting in disdain, though I'm not sure I kept "you have got to be fucking kidding me" off my face.)

You wouldn't necessarily think this is related to a philosophy of government that prizes profits (or low expenditures) over people.  And yet as I went back to my desk after the meeting, shaking my head at that little revelation, it seemed to me that it did.

See, why do we care about minimizing the need to make EEO targets when it comes time for hiring for a jobsite?  Because it takes longer and is more work on our part to find qualified people belonging to an underrepresented minority in the field, as opposed to scooping up the first half-dozen white guys who walk in the door.  That's more time and work and, in the end, money that we spend trying to meet this quota.  The bid process for getting government contracts is actually pretty competitive (at least at the levels we're working at; this isn't Halliburton here), and it comes down to who can shave the most off their final bid amount.  Who can bring in the lowest number?  We lost a bid two weeks ago by a mere $1300, for example.

So when we have this EEO target to meet, if it goes up and we have to spend more time and effort or delay starting a job in order to make our target number, we have to either take it out of our bottom line, or raise our price a bit and risk getting fewer or no bids at all because of it.  The government has a limited budget and wants to spend as little as possible, and it's up to the contractors to give them the cheapest possible route.  The system is intended to save the government money, not to do the best for the people being hired with the government's money.  Thus contractors have an incentive to do the bare minimum and deliberately do no more than that.  It becomes an incentive for tokenism, rather than an incentive for inclusion.

I'm not saying I'm against the idea of EEO targets and such - quite the opposite.  I'd like to see a better system than crude number quotas, perhaps, but I don't know that any such exists at present, and something is better than nothing.  I'm just noticing that this system is rigged to fail, in a very profits-versus-people manner.  If we made EEO a priority instead of an legally-obliged afterthought - if we committed to spending a bit more specifically on hiring and training personnel beyond the average white-and-male demographic at the government level, thus taking the burden off the individual contractors, who knows?  We might have a situation where actual employment diversity is encouraged and achieved, rather than "encouraged" on paper but discouraged in practice.

But the Republicans have been so absurdly successful in shifting the discourse to be about OUR TAX DOLLARS and GOVERNMENT WASTE and INEFFICIENCY and PORK, rather than centering it on how to best help the people they govern, that a Republican governor can wipe out a budget for helping rape victims without batting an eyelash, and companies seeking government contracts deliberately restrict the number of PoC and/or women they hire, all in the service of the almighty dollar.

"Fuck the people.  We just want money."
  - the GOP


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