Monthly Archives: April, 2016

How a Medicaid divorce can save you millions.

Leave it to the scions of Washington D.C. to break up middle class marriages.

Under current law if your spouse enters a nursing home, both of you are obligated to pay for care. With an average Social Security check at about $14,000, the cost of a nursing home is impossible to pay out of current income. Most folks dip into savings.

But even a family with say, $400,000 saved over a lifetime, will see that money rapidly disappear because nursing home care is not covered by Medicare. You have to pay 100% of the costs.

To give you better sense of these expenses the states with the most expensive median annual rate for a single person’s private room bed in a nursing home:

  1. Alaska – $259,515
  2. Connecticut – $158,775
  3. Massachusetts – $139,430
  4. New York – $136,510
  5. Hawaii – $135,050

The states with the least expensive median annual rate for a single person’s private room bed in a nursing home:

  1. Oklahoma – $60,225
  2. Missouri – $60,955
  3. Louisiana – $62,050
  4. Kansas – $65,700
  5. Arkansas – $65,700

Double all the above numbers for two persons.

The table below shows the range of costs by state in 2015 of the daily rate for a private room. Continue reading →

HUD is serving banks your bread and butter, insuring no Castro elected to the White House

His mom started La Raza Unida.

His dad was a mathematics school teacher.

His brother is an identical twin and also a politician.

His education was only made possible by affirmative action.

“Joaquín and I got into Stanford because of affirmative action. I scored 1210 on my SATs, which was lower than the median matriculating student. But I did fine in college and in law school. So did Joaquín. I’m a strong supporter of affirmative action because I’ve seen it work in my own life”

Julian Castro has been on the high road to political success for many years. He was mayor of San Antonio, keynote speaker at the 2012 National Democrat Convention, was touted as H. Clinton’s best candidate for vice president on her ticket, and is the current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, appointed by Barack Obama.

But his high road has crashed into a sinkhole, and his choice as v.p. candidate with Hillary might just look like two politicians both in bed with Wall Street and serve as symbols of a cozy relation with politicians and financiers.

castro

Julian’s disaster is called “Distressed Asset Stabilization Program. (DASP)” It is HUD’s attempt to help homeowners avoid foreclosure by selling more overdue mortgage loans to nonprofit community organizations, rather than Wall Street banks. Julian, who once had his own law firm with his brother, knows that the big banks want to buy these loans at a discount, then hound the homeowners into paying the full amount of mortgages, rather than working with borrowers.

Castro has done just the opposite. Look at last year’s results:  98% of homes sold through HUD’s DASP program went straight to Wall Street (15,309 out of 15,624). Community Development Financial Institutions only got 1% of loans sold in 2015, despite promises in April 2015 by Castro to stop feeding the loans to Wall Street. (That promise only came after pressure applied by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Other political leaders are also concerned with Castro’s caving to Wall Street.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., requested a briefing on the program in a Feb. 1 letter to Castro. (full text of letter)

The letter cites the Center for Public Integrity’s investigation of the program: (Link to story).

Over 98,000 mortgages have been sold through DASP with the stated goal of helping homeowners to avoid foreclosure while also getting troubled loans off the FHA’s books. The Center investigation revealed that the mortgages were sold for as little as 41 percent of their value and that only 16.9 percent of DASP mortgages avoided foreclosures.

The Blackstone Group bought the majority of these loans last year. With some $311 billion of assets it is best known for its founder, Pete Peterson, an ancient magnate, who has backed everything from Fix the Debt to The Fiscal Times in his war to cut Social Security benefits and to raise the retirement age.

An excellent expose of Blackstone’s rental housing practices is here.

Will politicians steal Social Security’s $2.7 trillion?

Social Security is not in “trouble”, except that it has vast wealth in reserves, and politicians want to steal this treasure trove (designed only to insure future Social Security benefits), and use it for something else. That something would probably be tax cuts for the rich by the GOP, or more redistribution downward from the middle class to the poor by the Democrats.

SuttonWhen I combine Treasury Note rates, Cost of Living, Interest on the Social Security fund and the total reserves (in Millions) of the Trust Fund, the resulting Trust Fund Table  demonstrates the steady growth of these reserves from year to year – now exceeding $2.7 trillion total, invested in special Treasury notes.

The table also shows that reserves decreased from 1976 to 1983 (except a small increase in 1982), but since 1983, reserves have grown 1,000%. Every year since 1983 has registered more taxes (FICA) paid, than benefits distributed.

The deficit scolds want benefit cuts, higher retirement age, to accomplish what? Even larger reserves? They never mention that every other government program shows a deficit year after year, while Social Security “makes money.” Today’s trust fund is the largest in its history and growing every year. Continue reading →

Facebook allows Blood Libel hate against Jews, despite Community Standards for everyone else

This Facebook page (open link) and website was still online today, despite protests to the social site’s Community Standards officials.

Jewish-Born Mark Zuckerberg owns Facebook. Indeed, he is the richest Jewish-born person in the world. Note that I use the term “Jewish-born.” You might think he would support less hatred of Jews.

According to Shurat HaDin (The Israel Law Center), a non-profit legal organization dedicated to the protection of Israel,

“One of the significant characteristics of the current terror wave is the incitement on the social media networks, headed by Facebook…This incitement consists of the Facebook pages of many young Palestinians who inflame their friends to embark on terrorist attacks, provocative videos glorifying and encouraging terrorist attacks, instructions for terrorists “How to Carry out a Terrorist Attack” – all on Facebook.” Read more here.

Pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon reported on Friday that a complaint he had lodged with Facebook about this Blood libel charge being an example of hate speech, was denied.blood fb2

What does Facebook consider “hate speech”?

The answer is on the policy pages of Facebook, where Community Standards are explained, and the definition seems very clear to this blogger.

Here’s what Facebook says about its standards for posting on its site:

Hate Speech

Facebook removes hate speech, which includes content that directly attacks people based on their:

  • Race,
  • Ethnicity,
  • National origin,
  • Religious affiliation,
  • Sexual orientation,
  • Sex, gender, or gender identity, or
  • Serious disabilities or diseases.

Organizations and people dedicated to promoting hatred against these protected groups are not allowed a presence on Facebook. As with all of our standards, we rely on our community to report this content to us.

People can use Facebook to challenge ideas, institutions, and practices. Such discussion can promote debate and greater understanding. Sometimes people share content containing someone else’s hate speech for the purpose of raising awareness or educating others about that hate speech. When this is the case, we expect people to clearly indicate their purpose, which helps us better understand why they shared that content.

You might look at the picture on the site and the strange writing. It can be translated in small part by visitors, but a full translation of this blood libel attack is not provided.

Continue reading →

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