Tag Archives: Seniors

Ryan thinks he is John Galt – defender of the rich, enemy of the poor, not a denizen of the swamp?

Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, begins with a simple question: Who is John Galt?

The answer comes in the last third of that 1957 book, where Galt emerges as the champion of capitalism and defender of Rand’s Objectivism philosophy, which has opposed:

  • Child and Adult Care Food Program
  • Federal Housing Assistance
  • Food Stamps
  • Head Start
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  • Medicare & Medicaid
  • Nationalized Health Care
  • School Lunch and Breakfast Programs
  • Social Security
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
  • Title XX Social Services Block Grant Program
  • Trade Adjustment Assistance
  • Workers’ Compensation

Galt was not real, but he was a hero to the children of many wealthy families. These sheltered capitalists-in-training saw Ayn Rand as a hero, because she espoused that caring for nobody but yourself was not selfish, but a virtue. Continue reading →

Sick seniors or the disabled may not be allowed to buy guns for self defense under new Obama rule

71-year-old man shoots robbers at internet cafe in Florida

Last week, it became more dangerous to be old or disabled.

That’s because the Barack Obama brain trust ordained a rule that will force the Social Security Administration (SSA) to share records with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to look for so-called disabled or impaired individuals.

The government then decides whether or not to ban them from buying a gun.

The SSA maintains that “under our representative payee policy, unless direct payment is prohibited, we presume that an adult beneficiary is capable of managing or directing the management of benefits.” That means you better keep your checking account in your own name, and if you go crazy. just let someone handle your finances using only your name.

Continue reading →

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 →

Why are we ignoring criminal emails? Time for federal government to prosecute and prevent fraud hucksters!

online-email-fraud-seminar-invitiation-01Spam filter on your email server? Think that big internet provider is helping keep away the criminals? Wondering why the federal government has time to look at every email sent every day by every person, but no time to go after the fraud experts preying on the vulnerable citizen?

The answer is that nobody cares except the victims of fraud. If you steal a CD from a store, you can go to jail for years. If you try to steal the life savings of a senior, our politicians turn the other way. I get emails – 50 to 100 a day. Here’s a recent one that smells like danger to me, but maybe not to someone older and less perceptive:

reply to: simonmartha66@yahoo.com.ph
MESSAGE FROM THE HOSPITAL
My Beloved One,
This is Ms Martha Simon from Estonia writing from the hospital in Ivory Coast; therefore this mail is very urgent to attend. I am dying here in this hospital right now which i don’t know if i will see some days to come.
I was informed by my doctor that i was poisoned and the poison damaged my liver and i can only live for some days.
My Beloved, the reason why i contacted you today is because i know that my step mother wanted to kill me and take my inheritance from my late Father. I have a little adopted child named Andrew C. Mannik that i adopted in this Country when my late Father was alive and $3.5 million Dollars i inherited from my late father. My step mother and her children they are after Andrew right now because they found out that Andrew was aware of the poison and also because i handed the documents of the fund over to him the day my step Mother poisoned my food, for that they do not want Andrew to expose them, so they are doing everything possible to kill him.
My beloved, please i want you to help him out of this country with the money because he is the only one taking care of me here in this hospital right now and even this email you are reading now is the one helping me out. I know that you have adopted Children already, but i believe that when Andrew will stay with you as your Son that you won’t regret having him as your Son because am always proud of him.
I want you to get back to me so that he will give you the documents of the fund and he will direct you to a well known lawyer that i have appointed, the lawyer will assist you to change the documents of the fund to your name to enable the bank transfer the money to you..
This is the favor i need when you have gotten the fund :
(1) Keep 30% of the money for Andrew until he finish his studies to become a man as he has been there for me as my lovely Son and i have promised to support him in life to become a medical Doctor because he always desire for it with the scholarship he had won so far. I want you to take him along with you to your country and establish him as your son.
(2) Give 20% of the money to handicap people and charity organization. The remaining 50% should be yours for your help to Andrew.
Note; This should be a code between you and my son Andrew in this transaction “Hospital” any mail from him, the Lawyer he will direct you to, without this code “Hospital” is not from the Andrew, the Lawyer or myself as i don’t know what will happen to me in the next few hours.
Finally, write me back so that Andrew will send you his pictures to be sure of whom you are dealing with. Andrew is so little therefore guide him. And if i don’t hear from you i will look for another person or any organization.
May Almighty God bless you and use you to accomplish my wish. Pray for me always.
Ms Martha Simon

Continue reading →

White House wants to disarm some seniors; afraid of a revolt? Or, are there even more cuts to Social Security in the works?

Guns

What criminal would bother this gal?

Seeking tighter controls over firearm purchases, the Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, a move that could affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others.

The push is intended to bring the Social Security Administration in line with laws regulating who gets reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which is used to prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the country illegally and others.

A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.” – Chicago Tribune, July 21, 2015

President Obama’s hometown newspaper hasn’t noticed that their city is a murder destination, despite bans on guns for the law-abiding, but oodles of firearms on the black market, primarily imported from Indiana. As one wealthy windy wit explained “if people want protection, do what I do, hire security guards.”

Were it so easy to have your own Secret Service in some of Chicago’s rough neighborhoods! The average Social Security check is about $1,400 a month, and then you have to deduct three or four thousand a year for Part B, deductibles, catastrophic insurance.  A good security guard should run you twice your gross earnings, and you need three a shift. Of course, you can dip into your average senior savings of $38,000 to pay for Continue reading →

Seniors – get divorced and save on income taxes?

Now that nearly everyone, of every persuasion, seems to want to be married, seniors should advise the newly matrimonial-prone that true love expressed can cost you big bucks, when dealing with Uncle Sam. Here is a mock 1040 for a mythical single filer Herman Schmidlap:

Single 1Single 2Herman is filing single, and the return would be the same if filed as “married, but filing separately.” His wages were $15,000, plus $10,000 he was required by RMD to take from his IRA or face penalties, plus $25,000 Social Security Benefits. He has a $25,000 Continue reading →

Means-testing us to deny public benefits, stigmatizes the poor and endangers support from the middle and upper classes

Should government focus on public services or needy services?

The argument is whether we should provide benefits or programs to both rich and poor – even though higher income folks can afford to pay for these with ease.

If we have a service or program, such as public schools, universal public healthcare, or even public childcare for all – why not open it equally to all members of the public. That will keep government from creating  a separate class of people, who are stigmatized by qualifying for a public service – just because they are poor.

How humiliating! Should these recipients be made to wear a green star? Walk on the other side of the street? Keep their gaze averted from ours? Many proud families do not apply for such “aid”, refusing to be classified as bottom dwellers of society.

With a fair, progressive tax system, the wealthy would pay a higher percentage of income taxes, and corporations, fair taxes. The wealthy also should be included in every public program, because they are supporters these public efforts.

In practice, the very rich will probably not need many of these public programs, and instead, will avail themselves of very expensive replacements of their own making. But that is on them. We already mostly agree  that there should not be a means test for public parks, highways and the stigma of drinking fountains for the poor (free), and the rest of us, 25 cents.

Taking the upper and middle classes out of public programs, insures that a so-called lower class (less income, but not less human) feels unequal equal to other Americans, and becomes isolated from the very middle class to which it aspires.

Any means-testing destroys the ideals of a public good, and replaces it with some calculated charity from political “benefactors.”

The regressive benefits now delivered from Social Security are a good example of so-called means-testing, where upper middle class earners are starkly penalized with lower percentages of overall benefits and the lowest earners receive three or four times the benefit percentage. (see chart below)

PolicyBasics_SocSec-TopTen-f2

Such a charity approach is losing support for this pension program, because it has been converted to a part welfare system. The solution here is a fair basic Social Security benefit for all, supplemented by a pension based purely on wages earned and FICA taxes paid.

In another tragedy for seniors means-testing Medicaid – instead of offering universal Medicare to poor and rich – forces families to “spend down” nearly all the elder’s assets, just to enter a nursing home, and forces them to the very bottom of the income ladder.

In the same vein, one of the great mistakes of Obamacare is its extra help to the poor and its sliding scale of subsidies. The goal should be “free” all the way up to the top, and at the same time, fair progressive taxes to insure public programs available to all who want them. The only other alternative is to privatize public services, which puts a fee on users and crushes the poor.

Surely, if we deem a service universal there should no fee to exclude the needy, just as there should be no means test to exclude the wealthy. Higher progressive income and excise taxes will lift some of the burden off the average American and insure democratic access without stigma of “getting something” extra from the government.

 

A hike in Capital Gains tax rate won’t affect IRA or 401K savings withdrawal tax rates or your total $ in savings

senior

photo from Daily Kos

While many progressives are seeking to hike an historically very low Capital Gains Tax rate of 15% to 23.8% (compared to regular personal income tax rates), some of the elite, who will pay more under such a change, are leaving public bread crumbs that an increase will hurt average income seniors and reduce their retirement accounts.

These greedy “geniuses” are betting that most consumers don’t know the rules for withdrawing funds from these tax exempt instruments. Many IRA and 401K owners unfortunately believe that their current equity in mutual funds will benefit from a lower capital gains tax when they retire. Not true!

All sheltered retirement money withdrawn will be taxed as regular income.  Even if capital gains tax was 90%, IRA withdrawals would still be taxed at regular rates of 15%, 25%, etc.

Regardless of the capital gains rate, you might also be subject to additional income tax on your Social Security benefits, despite whether withdrawals were from capital gains funds, dividends, interest, or just sitting there as cash.

Suggesting a low capital gains tax is an extra tax boon to saving for retirement is gross misinformation, unless the funds are outside of an IRA or 401K.

As part of 2015 tax reform, Congress should also examine the unfairness to any retired couple, who report income more than 32K (a limit not increased in 30 years). These middle class retirees are taxed on the next dollars at 50% more than taxpayers – not retired – up to as much as 100% of their Social Security benefits.

There is much talk about the very rich suffering from a possible rise in capital gains tax, but no kindly attention to needs of middle class retirees – who still, oddly, vote almost as a block for the GOP, which rarely seems to have their interests at heart.

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