Tuesday, November 8, 2011

At long last they have no shame

It's a nice, mostly sunny, warmish for the time of year afternoon here in Brattleboro. But I don't feel like doing a damn thing. It's not like I feel extremely exhausted (well, maybe sorta kinda), it's more like I'm feeling weary. Well, hell, no wonder - I read the news again today oh, boy.

The newest US stats on poverty are out. We're up to 49 million of  US. These are the rates newly adjusted by area, which counts food stamps and unemployment as income. The group with the biggest rise in poverty is Senior Citizens over 65. They say that's one in six seniors. Remember now, this is just for the poorest of the poor. I've read where the real poverty rate in the US is close to or over 40%. Poverty is now a family of four with an income under $24,343 dollars. They didn't give a rate for what poverty would look like if they took out foodstamps and unemployment. And they certainly aren't going to tell you what the poverty rate will be if they take out social security, housing subsidies, and medicare. Why my gosh, maybe those programs are doing what they're supposed to do.

That said, it should be noted that both Republicans and Democrats are working on a stealth method of reducing those benefits. They are starting by drafting legislation to reduce the cost of living increases for seniors and veterans. Over time, less people would be eligible for Medicaid, Head Start, food stamps, school lunch programs and home heating assistance. With whole groups of people getting less aid, it will appear that their incomes have gone up. Which means paying more taxes while the standard deduction and personal exemptions go down. Amount raised would equal $60 Billion. They also want to change the consumer price index (used to calculate inflation benefits). For seniors, the decline for a 65 year old would at first be $136 dollars less per year. But by the time they reach 75, the drop would be $560 dollars. By 85, the drop would be about a thousand per year.

 Of course, the only segment of the population that won't have their taxes increase under these changes will be the rich. As one person put it, you're "throwing (seniors) under the bus to save money".And this is the easy plan. If the super budget committee doesn't have a deal in about three weeks, the 1.6 Trillion automatic cuts will take effect. If that happens, I suspect that millions more will join the occupy protests in the streets. Mainly because that's all they'll have left.

Meanwhile, back at the Courts, the Obama Health Plan - that wondrous gift to the medical insurance industry - has been upheld again. It's not universal health care. It's universal help yourselves to poor people's only money care. You won't be able to opt out. Oh, yeah, maybe that's why I'm feeling so wearyish. I've been cutting my meds in preparation of a complete stop on my way to not having insurance so I can pay my rent, have food to eat, and keep my internet connection. I knew it had to be something like that.

Today is the 312th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar.
There are 410 days remaining until the end of time.


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