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Friday, March 27, 2009



You have been told your entire life that you need insurance. Probably our first experience is car insurance. Next, you're told you have to have insurance for your possessions. Then, it's health insurance, house insurance, life insurance, health and accident insurance and so on. We all dutifully pay and pay and pay in the hopes that if disaster strikes, that there will be the protection that we all think is there.

If you think about the number of homes in your community alone and the amount of premiums that are being paid to insurance companies to protect those homes, and then measure it against the actual amount of fires, floods, thefts and personal injury damages, it is not hard to see that insurance companies pull in tremendous amounts of cash that they keep for themselves. You can say the same thing about car insurances, health insurances, home insurance, health and accident insurance, etc.

Insurance companies have led the fight to make you believe that it is your responsibility to have insurance, even having laws passed, and their responsibility to have your cash so that in the event that you would need it, that the insurance will be there to help you. Just ask the victims of Katrina who paid their premiums faithfully, only to find themselves still in litigation trying to reap the benefits.

When the greedy insurance companies didn't have enough money, they decided to raise the rates so high that they had to come out with a "new product" with higher deductibles. That means that you are so poor that you can't afford higher premiums so you scrape up the $100 to $200 per month to buy these policies that carry deductibles of $2,500 or more in order to limit your punishment for your disaster. Most likely it is $2,500 you didn't have anyway and you can bet they will look to any excuse not to make good on their policies. You would not be hard pressed to pick up a newspaper and see someone is in a struggle with their insurance company trying to make a claim. In more than a few instances, you would have been better off keeping your premiums to pay on your disaster. Remember these struggles to receive payment occur when you are at your worst time of suffering.

How many of you have been given health insurance at premiums you can't even afford, but manage to short your food budgets enough to pay them in case of disaster, only to realize that you can't afford the deductibles or co-payments to even afford to go to the doctor?

Yet through all of this, the American Insurance Group (AIG), along with the investment companies and banks want you to bail them out for a system of greed that they all created. And let's not forget the Corporate Welfare. Why do you think there is such a cry for universal health care with a single payer system? Who do you think is going to be able to keep their cash on the old system where health care use to be one of the expenses that a corporation paid as part of a benefit package when they employed you?

You see the wealthy only scream about Medicaid when the poor, elderly and disabled benefit. Notice how much press the occasional welfare fraud or cheat receives in comparison to the press that the needy poor, elderly and disabled receive as they struggle to survive. This press, controlled by the wealthy, is to make you believe that everyone on welfare is some how less than human.

Wouldn't we all do better to take a tip from the Amish Community, where when disaster or catastrophe strikes, that the community all pulls together its' cash and resources to help the victims of disasters and eliminate the middle man who could actually care less about the community or its' members.

Who are the real thieves? The person struggling to survive or the Corporate conglomerations that have conspired to steal from the masses only to leave this country near shambles! Again, this is not about Democrat versus Republican. This is about those that have and want more than they need at the expense of those that have not or fast losing what they have worked a lifetime for!

Next Week: ?

Friday, March 20, 2009


Would You Recognize Him?

Today, everyone is talking about the remark that President Obama made on Jay Leno's Tonight Show last night, Thursday, March 19, 2009. President Obama in a momentary lapse of judgment made a remark that his bowling skill was to be compared to the Special Olympics. I can't pretend that the remark was not disappointing. It was. However, the remark pales in comparison to the discrimination and disparate treatment suffered on a daily basis by this nation's population of Differently Abled!

As a parent of a special needs adult daughter, who happens to be Deaf, Visually Impaired, and Mentally Challenged, along with some other minor ailments, I can tell you from flat out experience, that the population of the Differently Abled have been the target of far worse abuses than the President's remark.

Far too many are forced onto the Medicaid and Supplemental Social Security roles because far too few want to be in their presence. They suffer from rationed health care and, some states, imposed a CO-payment on their prescription drugs while they live on less than $700 per month and most live on less than that. With their meager incomes or food stamps, they are forced to buy food that is less than nutritious and, for the most part, have no allowance for luxury items like toilet paper, soap or sanitary napkins and often are forced to choose between food and prescriptions. They are continually the victim of abuses and scams by, not only the private sector, but the systems of different governments internationally. They are looked upon as leaches off the financial system of most governments, while their abilities and contributions are either ignored or not valued at all.

We spend far too much money creating programs that provide jobs for politicians' friends and relatives off the backs of the Differently Abled. We provide workshops that pay them $65 per month in Ohio, and, then, the staff spends the day selling them back snacks and soda pop to take their $65 back to the state at $1.10 a can of pop and a $1.00 a candy bar. These programs do little to enrich or improve their lives and are nothing more than baby sitting services, with wild stories of events that go unreported in the interest of the state.

I announced the column topic last week prior to the President's remark based on the experiences that my daughter and others like her encounter on a daily basis that causes people, both sympathetic to the unsympathetic, to literally run away in fear when they encounter someone with such severe challenges. Each time it occurs, my heart breaks for her. And the place it occurs most is the very place it should occur the least: church, where she really loves to be.

It is not that most people intend to be rude or mean (some do), it is more that they are out of their comfort zone than anything else. Others can't be bothered, and still others are repulsed by her presence. I always sit back in amazement that no matter how she is treated, she always welcomes people into her life with a smile and, more often than not, a hug. When people are downright rude or mean to her, I stand back in awe in her ability to forgive, again ready to welcome that person in her life.

There are some well intentioned people that struggle to include her in their life activities, but they are few and far between, and I'm always grateful and thankful that they at least tried. They are more the exception than the rule.

So as long as people are uncomfortable with the Differently Abled and continue to under employ them and force them onto public benefits with all the same wants and desire that you yourself possess, they deserve a living wage benefit, not a program that pays someone else to benefit off of them.

Don't be too hard on President Obama for his momentary lapse in judgment. President Obama and his wife Michelle have spent a lifetime working on behalf of the poverty stricken elderly and disabled or Differently Abled and have done more on their behalf than Sarah Palin or the Republicans have ever done. It was the Republicans that convinced America that the people on Medicaid and Supplemental Social Security Income were lazy and just didn't want to work.

For the most part, the Differently Abled were forced onto these roles and live on a fraction of poverty and are unable to find a job, while the masses convince themselves with myths that they get everything supplied by the government. I'm here to tell you it is not true and that most are left struggling for survival and suffer horribly at the hands of society. Their families are punished a life time for these disabilities as their resources are re-allocated without due process of law to provide reduced benefits, and, far too often, these benefits are politically doled out.

Is this the way you would treat God? For those that have faith, didn't he say what you do for the least of those you do for me! For those that don't believe in God, is this the society that you want to live in? A society where greed and legal trickery rules the day while truth and justice are laid to rest? Remember, there for the grace of God go I.

You are an accident away from being Differently Abled! President Obama, we forgive you! Now help us!

Next Week: Lost Cost Premium Insurance with High Deductibles is NO INSURANCE AT ALL!

Friday, March 13, 2009



If you are like most Americans and lost money in a 401K plan, pension plan investments, annuities, dividends, stocks, etc., have you asked yourself why and where did it go?

Well, consider this: A large segment of our population is and were scheduled to retire within the next 5 to 15 years (the baby boomers). All of their lives, this large segment of the population, for the most part, played by the rules. They worked hard, saved their money, invested their money in 401K plans, pension plans, life insurance policies and annuities, stocks that were suppose to pay dividends and, let us not forget, that they all paid into the Social Security System with a guarantee that if they worked enough credit hours for the prescribed years, that they would have this benefit. All of this hard work and saving has been for what?

Only to have suddenly, when they needed it most, the stock markets collapse, the 401K pension plans and employee pension plans to lose their value, their mutual funds, life insurance policies and annuities have either lost money or have not kept pace with the sudden inflation caused by the United States Federal Reserve, and the Social Security that they were promised all of their life, they have been made to feel guilty for taking their share in their promised investment, being told that this system was even near collapse.


With the Bernie Madoff's of the world, both in the private sector and in the government, how long did you think they were going to let this money sit there? Whenever things don't seem right or downright stink, follow the money!!!!!!!

Who had the vested interest in seeing the masses of soon-to-be American retired persons lose their retirement nest eggs. Well, look who is benefitting now. Prior to the stock market collapse, there was wide and broad concern that there would not be enough workers to fill all of the jobs. Due to abortion, birth control and social engineering, we found ourselves short on young people to make up the workforce. Oh no, where were all of the wealthy people going to find their slaves?

Do you want to make Social Security solvent? Then vote to remove the cap that the wealthy enjoy that make above the $106,800. base ( You see they pay a lower percentage of their overall income into Social Security. They only believe in a flat tax when its' to their greedy benefit.

And did you really believe that the wealthy were really going to give you back the money you had worked all your life to save? They have used every crisis in the last 15 years to cause the population to lose their savings, starting with the inflated gasoline prices of the 80s and 90s' (Don't forget the gas shortages then that went away once they got the price where they wanted it!) to the 911 World Trade Center Bombings, to the current and sudden world wide economic crisis (that all of the sudden this week, after everyone has lost their life savings, is not so serious anymore).

If by now, you haven't been forced by loss of employment to sell to survive what you worked your whole life for, you probably have at least suffered the loss of moneys promised in years past by loss of 401K plans, pension plans, mutual funds, stocks, etc. and had to alter your plans for your retirement. If you had anything left after that, the current rate of inflation, caused by the United States Federal Reserve) has probably taken that too. Why there are even stories of people in their 90s forced to re-enter the market place after this fraud has been perpetrated upon the American population!

All of this occurred at a time that our nation is so indebted to other nations, after we convinced them to invest in our country's safe investments. We taught them all the economic lessons of their life. No wonder we weren't worried about our trade deficit in this country. We weren't going to pay it anyway. Just like the wealthy were not going to make good on our investments.

We have been asleep at the wheel of justice. We have allowed this government to become a nation of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the people! Not only does the wealth not trickle down, the wealth that is down at the bottom is continually the victim of theft from the top!

Like Congressman Dennis Kucinich says,

Before you bail out the wealthy victims of greed that Bernie Madoff left in his path, think about the victims that actually worked for a living all of their life, only to have the wealthy steal it away and laugh. The economic crisis would have been solved already had we put the money at the bottom first. By the forced debt placed upon the population through various means, (see Blog of March 7, 2009 the money would have trickled up anyway, but at least it would have provided breathing room at the bottom and room to continue to stimulate the economy. If we can print money for the wealthy, we can well afford to print money for the poverty stricken elderly and disabled.

Don't be too mad at Bernie Madoff. The only reason he got into trouble and caught, was because he ripped off the wealthy too. Had he just ripped off the middle class and poor like most of the other wealthy people, he would have been secretly applauded for his efforts and lauded in private circles.

If there one thing the greedy wealthy don't like, it's someone even more greedy than they are! There is always that job at the fast food restaurant, right?

Next Week: Let's All Hope God Doesn't Decide to Return to Earth as a Disabled or Differently Abled Person -- We Wouldn't Recognize Him!

Friday, March 6, 2009



These days, we hear plenty about budgets. The President's Budget, the Congressional Budget, the State Budget, the Municipal Budget and, yes, your budget. We hear screams from the right side of the aisle saying, you the citizen, should live within your budget. If you are struggling, these days, many on the right believe that it is your fault. You were somehow irresponsible with your money, spending it frivolously, or perhaps purchasing things from the many wealthy business owners on the right that kept telling you that you needed to buy their merchandise and on "CREDIT." Almost daily, you hear someone say we need to get the credit markets flowing again. This week, I want to examine the full possibility of those accusations.

Let's take the young man or woman, who is married, and two children. For the purposes of this study, we will have one worker, while the other stays home and attends to their children. If he or she is working, one (usually she) is statistically making less than the counterpart, and they have to spend almost what the second partner makes on extra clothing, child care expenses, and, don't forget that extra tax bracket; reducing that second income to almost nothing.

Let's say that we have an average factory worker (nonunion) or, Walmart, McDonald's, or Burger King worker making an average of $12.00 per hour. That figure in some of these instances is high. Most of these workers struggle with less. Now on a 40 hour week, 52 weeks per year, this worker would earn approximately $24,960.00 (just enough to put him or her above the poverty level to make them ineligible for government benefits, but not enough to get ahead. Now out of the $2,080.00 per month, the Federal Tax (Income and Social Security 15%), State Taxes (15%), and local tax (municipal 2%) on this income is approximately $672.00 leaving them with a net income of $1,408.00 for a family of four.

Next, you hear about this family of four living beyond their means. Well, let's examine that.

According to the Ohio Administrative Code 5101:4-5-01, last amended October 1, 2008, the average family of four is allotted a maximum food stamp allowance of $584.00 for an entire month. And, if many of you reading this are honest, you have to spend much more than this to eat healthy. This amount buys pasta, pasta, pasta. This leaves approximately $824.00 left.

Now with that remaining $824.00, we have to pay rent.

According to the 2009 HUD Fair Market Value Statistics for the Cuyahoga County area of Ohio, the average and fair market value rent for a two bedroom structure is $694.00 ($740.00 for Franklin County, Ohio). There are those out there that would say, you can find places to rent less than that. Places they would not live themselves and places where the crime statistics are altered daily. Now you are left with $130.00 to pay for your heating costs, electrical costs, phone costs, bus passes or car expenses, household goods insurance, state mandated car insurance, medical insurance premium, USE tax (sales tax), medical Co-pays (many can't even afford to use their health insurance after paying for it), dental care, life insurance premiums, used clothing, and so on. Many would say you need to take on a second job to make ends meet and many do take on second jobs, along with increased taxes, increased child care expenses, increased work expenses and, God forbid, an emergency occurs. There is no possibility to put away enough money for most emergencies, hence high interest, easy available credit cards. You now have been forced into a credit situation.

Wages have been stagnant by design for three decades. Between the United States Labor Department and the Federal Reserve, this was all engineered and planned. All the while over the last eight years, gasoline prices increased and that made prices increase on everything from milk to every product you buy, including utilities. Don't you remember George Bush, Sr. saying less is more, all the while he and his wealthy friends got more and more. You were suppose to be at home enjoying more family time on less resources. Don't listen to what he says, watch what he did and does! More is more. And what about Barbara Bush, after Katrina, standing in the middle of the Houston Astrodome and stating, "It's not like they're not use to being poor," referring to the Katrina victims. While Barbara Bush is recovering from heart surgery, at least she, personally, could afford the insurance paid for on the backs of the tax payer and afford the insurance co-payments, subsidized by her tax payer supported pension. I suppose with her reasoning, she would state it is not like the poor are not use to eating the lower cost pasta, at least they are not starving (maybe developing more heart disease and getting obese, but hey, they are not starving). I suppose with her reasoning, she would state that it is not like the poor are not use to being unhealthy and sick (We, the wealthy have made sure of that).

Don't forget it is the wealthy that look down their noses at the poor and think that people that have to file bankruptcy are somehow less hardworking or less than intelligent because they didn't have any health insurance, or car insurance, or life insurance (didn't they know they were going to die while they were struggling to live), all the while they knowingly paid them barely enough to exist upon while they got wealthy off the backs of other people.

Recently, I had a middle class secretary state to me that it was right to pay people that worked at fast food restaurants or department stores a lower wage because, after all, these were never meant to be jobs for adults to live on, just jobs to subsidize some kids' pay check. Ms. Secretary, the next time you are in Walmart, Kmart, Burger King, McDonald's, etc. look around at the workforce. These are the jobs many adults are forced to survive on. Thank God Ms. Secretary that you still have your job. These are the jobs that move America. All the while the average Burger King worker was being paid $14,000 per year (less than poverty wage), their parent corporation, Goldman Sachs handed out bonuses (BONUSES) to their top corporate executives totaling over $6.5 billion dollars, enough to pay each one of their workers an additional $18,000 per year, all the while many of their employees were forced to have their health care subsidized by the tax payer in the way of Corporate Welfare. The higher we are, the more it hurts when we fall!

The problem really is that the system, after years of corruption and greed, is at its' breaking point. People like Bernie Madoff have been allowed to operate by the wealthy in a climate of quid pro quo (You do for me, and I do for you). The reason Bernie Madoff will have a Plea Bargain or DEAL is because there are so many complicit in his actions, that they don't want him to name names. For $60 billion dollars, I am sure that many politicians, judges, lawyers, etc. benefited from his actions and, therein lies the Plea Bargain. Do they really want you to live within your budget? You have been strategically and economically enslaved by this nation for years. There is always that cardboard box, right?

Next Week: With all the baby boomers retiring, who had the vested interest to allow or engineer the stock markets to crash and insurance companies to fail?

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