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Let’s Play With Some Numbers, Social Security Edition

1:03 pm in Social Security by dakine01

We need to get this to the Fiscal Cliff! What could go wrong?

We need to get this to the Fiscal Cliff! What could go wrong?

Boy howdy, but did I make a mistake this morning. I made the mistake of allowing myself to become distracted while I was “multi-tasking” and surfing the cable channels at the same time I was checking my emails AND getting a phone call. All of a sudden, I realized I was on MSNBC and listening to Moanin’ Joe where the topic of the day appeared to be whining about how those dastardly libruls just wouldn’t get with the program and worship at the altar of Pete Peterson (as Joe declared he does.)

Then I saw someone by the name of Rick Stengel talking about how “entitlements” needed to be cut in order for everyone to show how “serious” they are with the “fiscal cliff.”

Of course, everyone that was on that show this morning (it included Harold Ford, Steven Rattner, Michael Steele, Disco Dave, Tweety, and Chuck Todd) as well as everyone on all the various talking head shows watched by the Beltway Village Idiots Courtiers are people who will never have to worry about living on Social Security as the only thing keeping them from poverty and homelessness, so they are all fine with most any and all changes being discussed. After all, they are all Very Serious People, often wrong but never in doubt. Why, we could almost call them all “economists” they are wrong so often.

A couple of years ago, I wrote this post, “Let’s Play With Some Numbers” as a “what-if” about the mythical person working the mythical full time, minimum wage job and what that person might be able to afford as far as a place to live, and associated costs.

Why is this pertinent?

Well, the current average monthly Social Security payment (for October 2012) is $1,237 per month which works out to be $14,844 per year. This will go up to $1,261 in 2013. Where I had my mythical full time minimum wage earner paying FICA/Medicare taxes, other taxes (and some healthcare costs) and missing work on the “Big 6″ holidays (New Years Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) before getting into the actual available funds to pay bills (lowering the income from $15,080 by $2,570 to $12,510), the mythical average Social Security recipient pays $99.90 per month for Medicare Part B starting at age 65, going up to $104.90 for 2013.

The point of all this is that a mythical person collecting average Social Security benefits is in roughly the same position financially as the mythical person who works a mythical full time minimum wage job. My WAG is that for every person who is collecting Social Security and also has the benefits of a defined pension, 401K, or robust savings, there is another person who is relying solely and completely on Social Security and Medicare to stay alive. With the Great Recession having taken its toll these past few years, I imagine there are many people just trying to hold on until they reach age 62 and can start collecting something. I imagine there are many more, like myself, who have had to cash in their 401k/IRAs early just to try to stay alive for these past few years.

So let’s remind the Beltway Village Idiots Politicians, Pundits, and Courtiers that there are real world consequences when they so blithely toss around “cut entitlement spending” as a “solution to the deficit.” As Mr Pierce puts it so eloquently, “Fck the deficit. People got no jobs. People got no money.”
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Tweetie Gets One Correct on DADT

11:26 am in Uncategorized by dakine01

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Let’s give credit where it is due. Chris Matthews got it correct last night with this piece from his "Let Me Finish" at the end of Hardball. He reads a letter from a soldier, currently serving in Afghanistan, who had gotten a letter himself from the partner of one of his troops who had been killed earlier. The soldier explains how he has managed to make lying become second nature as he has to hide from others that he is also Gay.

I served in the USAF from 10 December 1976 until 9 September 1982. During this period, I was stationed at Wurtsmith AFB, MI and Hickam AFB, HI. I know I served with Gay and Lesbians in both locations, with no problems. In fact, most of the Gays and Lesbians served honorably and well, doing their jobs with no fuss. Usually the only problems they encountered were because of a new supervisor who disliked them or was uber-religious. Most of the Gays and Lesbians I served with were quite discreet, more discreet than a lot of folks who used drugs in those days.

During some of the training classes in Hawai’i on "Leadership Skills," those of us who lived in the barracks wound up laughing at instructors who got all grave about the impact of "those people" on discipline and morale. We pointed out that "those people" were all around us and had probably been in earlier classes if not in the class right then.

I am a single man, never married who shares a house with my best friend. A lot of folks would automatically assume that I’m gay just from those little factoids. I am not gay although for folks who believe in stereotypes, I am probably one by their definitions.

Why am I mentioning this? To ask that you join with, yes, Chris Matthews and folks like Teddy Partridge (who has done some serious heavy lifting on this topic). I think it’s a fairly safe bet that most Gays and Lesbians, in and out of the military, really only want to be left alone, to serve their country. There are far too many problems facing us as a country and facing us as human beings to continually get bogged down in noise issues like DADT. Repeal the damn thing (as well as DOMA), pass ENDA, pass Marriage Equality and let us get on with trying to keep Mother Earth livable for humans and other living creatures.