BENTON HARBOR, MI — BENTON HARBOR, Michigan — A cold snap during the beginning of the year took a toll on the homeless and the poverty-stricken in the city of Benton Harbor, Michigan. We have homeless and poverty-stricken people out in this frigid cold weather. Do you understand that the people are the backbone of the city and we cannot leave anyone behind? We must protect the homeless and deal with the impact of homelessness on their health. Material poverty affects everyone. If you’re poverty-stricken, you’re poor, and if you’re homeless, you’re poor, so it ends up the same. On average, the poor live shorter lives than the rich.
Whirlpool, the giant corporation that runs Benton Harbor, preys on the poor and the homeless. Whirlpool set its sights on turning the city of Benton Harbor into a lakeside resort only for the wealthy – and made it clear that the homeless and poverty-stricken must go. Whirpool Corporation does not want homeless people in Benton Harbor because it is turning the city into a profitable resort area for the rich. Whirlpool is a poverty pimp.
Whirlpool ordered the elected officials of Benton Harbor and Benton Harbor law enforcement to pass and enforce all the city ordinances concerning the homeless. The job of the police is to arrest, intimidate, and harass all homeless individuals. The homeless are not even allowed to sit in the library to get warm.
Do you know that Whirlpool, the largest corporation in the area, made over $20 billion in total revenue in the year 2016, and in 2010, forced $3.87 million in tax breaks from the city of Benton Harbor, one of the poorest cities in the country?
Whirlpool secured the renewal of lucrative energy tax credits for making high-efficiency appliances that were worth a combined $120 million for the years 2012 and 2013. Such breaks have helped the Whirlpool Corporation to keep its total tax expenses below zero in recent years.
We have homeless people in Benton Harbor trying to stay warm, without food and clothing – and the people have remained silent. We must stand up to Whirlpool. It is about tax policies, about benefiting the political class, the well-connected and the well-heeled. That is who the rich are thinking about in this country.
Benton Harbor has less than 10,000 people living in the city and hundreds and hundreds of homeless people (with many living with their mama and kids.) We have young people, old people, children, mothers, and fathers who are homeless—and we are giving $3.87 million in tax breaks to Whirlpool, the poverty pimp. Shame on you!