Working Together

"We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again..."

Excerpt from "Working Together" © David Whyte
in The House of Belonging

Many Rivers Press

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tuesday, November 30 - 1.800.998.0180

It seems almost contrary to tangle in politics so soon after the Thanksgiving Holiday and prior to Winter Celebrations but you should at least be aware that there is some profound decision making going down in Washington on December 1st that is sure to affect the lives of every family gathering from here till the there's no more money for Jesse's education.  (Are you still with me those stressing infant care at this minute?).

There are some folks working tirelessly for the greater good of families and they have set up an expedited system to trunk calls to our Congressional Representatives on this issue on November 30th.  I will tell you up front that I am self-serving in this effort.  I'm newly unemployed and becoming a religious woman with the incessant calling upon the poor man's insurance: a guardian Angel in constant vigil for my welfare.  At some point, she is going to be otherwise occupied.  You should know, however, that this is also a case of trying to get people to understand that these programs are self sufficient and have until now been spared the assault of an unbalanced economy.  Policy makers are looking at tampering with a bottom line that is part of the foundation of everyone's family: what to do with Grandma and Grandpa.  

You want Nana in all of your business?  REALLY?  It may be cute to see Alan Arkin snorting heroine in the bath room in a movie like "Little Miss Sunshine" but imagine, if you will, the proclivities of your elders playing out in your living room while you are trying to carve out a sane lifestyle for yourselves and your kids.  I don't mean to scare you but these are the questions that a person needs to get real about as this legislation is being decided.  I am asking you here to consider not only the integrity of independence for the elderly but also to protect the choices you have in how you can be a family.  Removing or tampering with Social Security and Medicare is going to rearrange how families relate and remove options for everyone.  What is the payoff for government in all of this?  They get to gamble away all that here-to-for protected money that they can invest.  Not all money should be invested by people who have no real consequence for their actions. Let them play with what they have already bet, lost and won back and leave off protected funds that allow for compassion in this country.

November 30 is the day before President Obama's deficit commission issues its final report – that's the one chaired by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles - so, as the NCPSSM notes, it is a toll-free Legislative Hotline for National Call Congress Day on November 30 that will connect you directly with your congressional representatives.  Should email be more your style: go here.

Ronni Bennett writes:
“...perfect opportunity to let your representatives in Washington know that cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits is a one-way ticket to economic and political ruin.”
To help us do that, the NCPSSM is setting up a toll-free Legislative Hotline for National Call Congress Day on November 30 that will connect you directly with your congressional representatives:
Save that number for next Tuesday and there is plenty of time for you to pass the word on your own blogs and telephone other friends and relatives too. Don't forget the younger ones – they are the people who would be most adversely affected by cuts in these programs.

I urge you to do this. I know from conversations with aides to Senator Harry Reid that all phone calls to representatives and senators are tracked and counted so the more of us who telephone on Tuesday, the greater the impact.

So there you have it.  If you have questions regarding how Social Security works in a succinct form, please take a moment to read Saul Friedman's  Social Security the Anti-Ponzi Scheme. I thank you in advance for even considering participating and letting Washington know that this is not an issue that will be ignored politically, as they hope. Please make that call or email  and request that they leave off programs that work well in this country and focus on something that sucks - like ending war, supporting sustainable industry and taking fiscal responsibility.

PS: If you would like to email your senator and need a template, contact me via email from this blog.  I will be glad to send you a copy of the letter I wrote to my Legislators to use as a guide.


schmidleysscribblins said...

The Social Security Trust Fund Saul Friedman so beautifully describes is the way it SHOULD HAVE BEEN, i.e., SS funds 'set aside' and payable at a later date (that was the idea at the time). However, the fund was raided by Congress from the day it showed a positive balance in the late 1980s.

HIstory: Acting responsibly, based on demographic information my committee staff developed, Reagan and the Democrat controlled Congress made an attempt to ensure baby boomers would be protected with sufficient SS funds when they retired.

The FICA tax revenue collected from you and me (and those who worked from the late 1980s forward) were supposed to be put into a "lock box" and not touched, however, year after year that is precisely what did NOT happen.

Now that the elders are asking for a return on the monies they paid into the SS system, the non-existent lock box is empty.

What did government officials do with the money? They placed it in US T bonds (what was the alternative?) and then used the money from those bonds as most governments do, to finance other government programs including Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children's Health Program or S-CHIP, and probably Fannie and Freddie if the truth be known. We know it wasn't put into Defense spending, because of the "peace dividend" foloowing the fall of the wall in 1989.

Federal spending has been out of control for some time, as we all discovered two years ago when we had an awful crises.

TODAY: the SS bonds are relatively worthless (Friedman left this part out). They might as well read, "issue the bearer his or her SS funds if you can find them". To honor this debt, the SSA must be funded out of current tax revenues, which is what the deal back in the 1980s was designed to avoid.

Today the government must borrow 40cents for every dollar it pays out, and it borrows the money from various sources (China?)

We elders did not cause the problem, but in my humble opinion, we may need to look at how OUR country is goind to solve the problem. I for one do not want to leave this problem for future generations. They will have enough to cope with.

cile said...

Thank you for your response. I will look deeper into the history of the appropriation of the Social Security funding and how it may have been raided in the 80's and 90's. I will also look into the the Washington Post Opinion section (Sunday, November 2010: A19) “Topic A: What’s best in the deficit reform plans” that you suggested in your blog.

I must say, however, that the impact on families that I am talking about still stands. Those of us who are low income and have no retirement to fall back on will be pitched to the streets should this program not be carefully reorganized and done so with compassion in mind. At my house, my children and grandchildren ARE the future generations. Money that is spent on MY care is money that is removed from application to their future prosperity and the security of all younger Americans.

As elders, we do not live in a bubble, no matter how hard we tried to maintain a financial independence. We are a part of the bigger picture. Policy makers need to realizing that people ARE paying attention.

Friko said...

It makes me glad and my heart sing that America is not just peopled by the folks who go in for tea.

That doesn't not men that we don't have the same kind of morons here.