Monday, February 14, 2011

Heartless on Heart Day

A Great Depression Soup Line

Are you as confused as I am when you hear about Republican efforts to privatize Social Security? Periodically, I get those little notices in the mail that tell me how much money I will receive when I retire, based on how much I've earned so far. When I look at the amount, I sigh and file the paper away, hoping that one day I'll be able to work more -- which brings me to Sophie, the reason, however worthy, that I am unable to make a more solid contribution to our family's livelihood. Many of us who care for our children with special healthcare needs can't properly enter the workforce and use our education and skills because of the difficulties of finding proper childcare, the expense and quality of that care and/or the instability of our children's medical situations. We navigate all the complex systems of care and file papers and negotiate services only to eventually face catastrophic cuts in these services in the name of "balanced budgets" or, worse, "freedom from government," as the hated (and, yes, I do hate them and know that I've lost readers here because of my stated strong feelings against tea partiers) Tea Party and its supporters call it. As a disabled person, Sophie will qualify for Social Security benefits at eighteen. She currently receives in-home supportive services that enable her to be cared for at home as opposed to an institution, like she might have been many years before we, as a country were enlightened by the notion that it is civilized to care for our most vulnerable citizens, the elderly, the sick, the disabled.

Many of these social safety nets are being decimated, their necessity and humanity all but stifled under rhetoric, fear and political bullshit. And while I understand there is much graft, corruption and misuse of government funds, I firmly believe we can root that out without cutting these programs. Bernie Sanders, the great independent senator from Vermont wrote a beautiful, informative op-Ed piece in today's Los Angeles Times about Social Security that I hope you'll take the time to read, even if you are a tea partier.


  1. Yes. This. When people ask about hte cost of Maggie's care, no one ever takes my lost salary into consideration. It the infrastructure was in place, I could be out there using my law degree, paying taxes and contributing to our household and to the public coffers.

    I did meet with an LA Times reporter on how these budget issues will effect the most vulnerable this morning, though. I will let you know when the story runs.

  2. Bernie Sanders--even though we live far from Vermont, we always contributed to his campaigns. There's much more that I'd like to say but, once I get on my soapbox, it isn't pretty.


  3. November 9, 1883 was the day my son's son got an uncouthly written letter from my father's father. I just had to laugh at it's content in any context, whether intended to be taken literally or ingested only in jest.

    Certainly the Allah cannot be applied to all, but after all laws were applied to Allah I am thinking the tunes whistled will be of newton's salamander and not newt, new tone, a new one.

    relief to all who honestly seek it with an honest heart will find it.

  4. Amen, sister. You're brave and lovely and such an amazing mother. I'm sending you a huge Valentine hug right this minute.

  5. Some things make me so angry that I can feel it physically in my whole body .... This is one definitely one of those things .... There is a moronic misleading argument behind it all ... It's just so short sighted and selfish.

  6. I am so sick and tired of the prevalent ignorance in our country that I would like to have everyone who is even remotely thinking about running for office to have to take an obligatory IQ test. The majority of the republicans and particularly the tea baggers appear to have an IQ equivalent to room temperature of 10 degree Celsius. Remember the tea party bagger with the sign "Keep government out of my Medicare"? Enough said.

    Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. Nothing to do with the Treasury and the same Wall Street minions who benefited from sending our country to worthless wars and Ponzi schemes by banks and lenders are the ones who are now trying to rob the money from the workers who finance Social Security as it has always been financed. We pay social security taxes for Social Security and those who are receiving it today paid for their benefits before us. So what is the problem? Now the Wall street men behind the curtain, the folks who brought us Bernie Madoff and the real estate bubble fiasco are trying to get a hold of the Social Security funds. Who are these ignoramus anyway who claim that my taxes are responsible for the deficit?

    Is it time yet for the pitchforks and torches?

  7. I have really struggled with that - not contributing as much to our family income as I would like. Reading your words reminded me of last year when my daughter was hospitalized. She went into the hospital for treatment of an exacerbation that we normally treat at home and yet the hospital bill categorized my daughter’s care as acute level 5. I’d never seen the market value of the care I provide in our home on a regular basis. I made a copy of that bill and pasted it into a journal. And something about the way I treasured that bill, the way I taped it into my journal, filled me with sorrow.

    It saddened me to realize how desperate I was for acknowledgement, if just for myself, that my work has value.

  8. It's baffling that a country that badly needs cash can toss aside the opportunity of using its workforce to its full potential. To me, being the pragmatic being I am, you in full-time employment represent more money to be spent on health and education. At a more human level, your chance to work brings benefits to your emotional and spiritual well-being. I need those, too, as another member of the same society. Well, if I lived in the US. :-) Many thanks for such an articulate post. I learn so much about your society through your regular columns.

    Greetings from London.

  9. Thank you for posting this well-written article. I've bookmarked it so the rest of my family can read it, too. I love it when politicians actually write something in clear and simple language for a change.

    As for those little social security notices... I get anxious and depressed every time I get mine. "You WOULD get money if only you had worked enough to qualify..." sigh... oh well.

  10. Ah yes, my neighbor to the north Bernie Sanders. He is a gift to this country. I wish more folks would listen. I hear regular interviews with him on our local public radio. Did you know that Vermont is now looking to establish a state universal health care program? Hopefully it will be a model for the rest of us.

  11. I just spent all day crying because of cutbacks to The Teenagers personal care assistant because of Medicaid. I world 3 days a week which will be impossible if i lose her aide...which means I'll lose our home...which means....I'm tired of it all.



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