In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 26, 2005 / 22 Elul, 5765

Politics impacts an already-tragic life

By Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: Five years ago, I was teaching school and happily married. Then I was diagnosed with a neurological disease. My husband left me, and I am now disabled. I moved in with my parents, thinking that I would get my bearings and then start some semblance of a life. Now, nearly four years later, I have become not only my parents' caregiver (they are in their early 80s; he has dementia and she has severe osteoporosis), but also manage their benefits and finances along with my own.

With them going downhill mentally and physically, and my condition tenuous, we are finding it much more difficult to make ends meet.'

The only household income is from their Social Security, my Social Security Disability, and my small retirement disability. We all receive Medicare. My parents' home, purchased for $25,000, is now valued at more than $100,000 by the tax assessor. They have $35,000 in the bank, and I have $15,000. That's it — except for furniture that is worthless to anyone but us. With medical and prescription costs for the three of us going up, increased gasoline prices, increased property taxes and the like, we are dipping into savings each month to make ends meet.

We went to a lawyer a couple of years ago to get powers of attorney, etc., and it was my understanding that if Dad or Mom had to go into a nursing home, some of their resources could be saved and I would be safe in their home. We have now received a letter that everything is in limbo because Congress is trying to reduce the budget at the expense of the elderly and disabled. I used to worry about my children's future, but now I am frightened about the future for my parents and me. Why do the rules keep changing, and why does it seem that everyone is picking on the helpless elderly and disabled?

A: You, your parents and others like you are the easiest marks for politicians because you can't afford lobbyists to promote your causes, and because you don't scream loudly enough.

While Social Security payments have risen each year by law based on cost-of- living increases (2.5 percent in 2000; 3.5 percent in 2001; 2.6 percent in 2002; 1.4 percent in 2003; 2.1 percent in 2004; and 2.7 percent in 2005), Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles have more than eaten up those increases. And it was just announced that Part B premiums will increase by 13.2 percent for 2006, a $10.30 per month rise to $88.50. That premium was $66.60 in 2004 and $58.70 in 2003. That's right, there has been a nearly $30 per month increase between 2003 and 2006. In addition, the Part B deductible will increase from $110 this year to $124 in 2006, and the deductible for a hospital stay of 60 days or less will increase $40 to $952 in 2006.

Because Congress has raided the Social Security trust coffers and has blown the money "off budget," everyone is now in a fire-drill mentality to get enough money to pay Social Security obligations.

Some suggestions include an immediate increase of 15 percent in the amount of payroll taxes, an immediate reduction in benefits of 13 percent — or some combination of the two. To add insult to injury, Congress began allowing Social Security to be taxed in 1983, and the taxation rates have increased since that time.

Congress and the Bush administration are willing to extract trillions from revenues by cutting or eliminating the estate tax for fewer than 1 percent of Americans (yes, that's been put on the back burner because of Hurricane Katrina, but it's still very much alive) while, at the same time, state and federal governments are continuing to restrict Medicaid eligibility rules and curtail planning opportunities used to help elderly and disabled persons live without fear and die with some sense of dignity.

The government obviously can't manage its programs. For example, although Medicare fraud is running rampant, Congress has reduced the number of investigators and auditors in this area, stifling the ability to recover fraudulent payments made to health-care providers. At the same time, Congress continues to raise Medicare premiums, reduce benefits and increase co-insurance payments. Because of our government's fiscal irresponsibility, you will continue to see reduced benefits and higher premiums, which will mean financial devastation to many elderly Americans. As to "why Congress keeps picking on the elderly," the answer is because they can. Call your senators and representatives on the state and federal levels and let them know that you may not have much else, but you do have a vote.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JAN L. WARNER received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina and earned a Master of Legal Letters (L.L.M.) in Taxation from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a frequent lecturer at legal education and public information programs throughout the United States. His articles have been published in national and state legal publications. Jan Collins began co-authoring Flying SoloŽ in 1989. She has more than 27 years of experience as a journalist, writer, and editor. To comment or ask a question, please click here.


© 2005, Jan Warner