Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

My Chew Bone

Written in 2009 while working on the www.lincoln55plus.com seniors paper.

From time to time, my wife and I take care of a neighbor’s Golden Retriever while his

Ma and Pa travel to visit family or go out on a golf weekend. Although I have no personal knowledge of Brodie’s breeding lineage, to me, he is pure gold. He has all the great traits need- ed to be nothing but loved. He always wants to be near us and sleeps in the bedroom all night. He sits on our feet to be in touch while we scratch his ears. Brodie gets along famously with our two dogs and even our cat. He is respectful of other’s pet food and he loves exploring our back yard. AND he loves his rawhide chew bones.

One chilly morning, I was fas- cinated to watch Brodie and our big ol’ yellow lab, Amy, laying in the grass, chewing on their respective rawhide. They faced each other as if at a dining table with their paws to the front and crossed to hold the bone in place. The chewing was intense and completely focused. There was a perfect harmony in their time together as they needed nothing but space and a little time to gnaw and chew.

I stood there for full 15 minutes wondering if either would break away from the task at hand to look for some other object of interest. Instead they remained dedicated to their work. During that time, I had several thoughts about what they were doing. I realized that chewing was good for their

P.1-16 Lincoln 55+

teeth but that was certainly not important to them. I assume the rawhide had a good flavor but decided that there was more to it.

Chewing on a bone must have an inherent challenge. The rawhide starts out stiff but begins to soften as they work on it. Then a tooth catches hold and progress is made, little bits at a time. The rawhide bones provides a push and a pull while the dogs try to transform it into – into – into what. Into nothing?

And then it dawned on me!

The Lincoln 55+ Seniors Paper is my personal rawhide bone. It has a form that starts out rather stiff but seems to offer up something – like clay that wants to be molded into a form. So I chew and I chew and it begins to soften. Soon, it begins to give off an essence that something is about to hap pen. Maybe a new ad will reach the right people and the businessman will report that the ad is paying for itself. Or the Lincoln Artist Guild will report a 25% increase in membership. Maybe a group like the Oscher Lifelong learning folks will double their membership and secure a million dollar endow- ment. This old bone has some pretty nice flavors.

So I chew and chew and once the paper has reached it highest state, I start to deliver them to all the businesses in Lincoln. This is a good flavor also as I visit with store owners. They report how well liked the paper is. And the people I see often claim they read the paper cover to cover. And some that I meet are potential advertisers or have a story to tell. All are more good flavors. And then the 15,000 papers are all gone – just like the chew bone. But I am left with great memories of the flavor and the challenges met and the wonderful thought of that next chew bone. Move over Brodie and Amy. I need some room at the table.

Focus on a New Year, New Congress

Nice list. No need to vote but do if you wish. Or copy, paste and email to a friend.
https://action.uschamber.com/mGctm0N

New Year, New Congress

What should be the top areas of focus for Congress in 2019?
Please select all that apply.
 Agriculture and Food Safety
 Debt and Deficit
 Education
 Energy
 Environment
 Federal Contracting
 Financial Regulation
 Free Speech
 Health Care
 Immigration
 Infrastructure
 Intellectual Property
 International Trade and Investment
 Labor
 Legal Reform
 National and Cyber Security
 Regulatory Reform
 Retirement
 Taxes
 Technology
 Transportation
 Travel and Tourism

Age by Rix Quinn

Minute Story — Age by Rix Quinn

How old are you? Do you want to be older or younger?        

     There’s a great book by Andrew Postman called What’s in an Age? Who did what when, from age 1 to 100. Did you know that at the age of six, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart performed concerts in Europe?

     Or that Joy Foster became the Jamaican women’s table tennis champion at age eight? (At the age of six, I was still counting my toes, and at age eight happily discovered I had 13.)

     Some people do great things when they’re young. Others perform spectacularly as senior citizens.

     Sophocles wrote the play “Oedipus at Colonus” when he was 90. At age 100, Ichijirou Araya climbed Mount Fuji.

     Most of us are older than six, and younger than 100. So what will we do with this 94 years of middle age?

     We can stay in school, or go back to it. We can learn a new profession, or develop a specialty in our current one.

     Unfortunately, there’s no rewind on life’s video. The only way we can move is forward.

     So if I could pick one single age, it would be the Age of Enlightenment, which begins for everyone each new morning.

http://rixquinn.com/articles.htm

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

This message sent by Rix Quinn Communications, LLC, 4212 Inwood Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109

Using cash to travel may soon be obsolete – by Steve Glenn

This past weekend I was in New York City and was surprised that two shops we visited did not accept CASH! Usually, I hear retailers say they don’t accept credit cards as they don’t want to pay the fees to accept them. When I visited an ice cream shop on Friday night and the person behind the register said “Sorry, we don’t accept CASH,” my jaw dropped. When I thought through the process for a while it made more sense. If a store does not accept cash, they don’t have to worry about A) Being robbed as they have no cash. B) Having employees stick cash sales in their pocket without ringing it through the cash register. This all points to how fast the business world is changing toward a cashless society. Ironically with all the new disruptive technology, I think that in the next 3 years we will move from credit cards to the next form of electronic payment that is blockchain or cryptocurrency based.

Copyright © 2018 Executive Travel
Our address is 1212 O Street, Lincoln, NE 68508

Social Security Depletion Year Remains 2034

This is hard to follow but is official… -Keith ——-

Tuesday, June 5, 2018
For Immediate Release
Social Security Administration Seal

 

Mark Hinkle, Acting Press Officer
press.office@ssa.gov

 

News Release
SOCIAL SECURITY

 

Social Security Combined Trust Fund Reserves Depletion Year Remains 2034 Says Board of Trustees

Disability Fund Improves by Four Years

The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2034, the same as projected last year, with 79 percent of benefits payable at that time.

The OASI Trust Fund is projected to become depleted in late 2034, as compared to last year’s estimate of early 2035, with 77 percent of benefits payable at that time. The DI Trust Fund will become depleted in 2032, extended from last year’s estimate of 2028, with 96 percent of benefits still payable.

In the 2018 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:

  • The asset reserves of the combined OASDI Trust Funds increased by $44 billion in 2017 to a total of $2.89 trillion.
  • The total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed total annual income in 2018 for the first time since 1982, and remain higher throughout the 75-year projection period. As a result, asset reserves are expected to decline during 2018. Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010.
  • The year when the combined trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, is 2034 – the same as projected last year. At that time, there will be sufficient income coming in to pay 79 percent of scheduled benefits.

“The Trustees’ projected depletion date of the combined Social Security Trust Funds has not changed, and slightly more than three-fourths of benefits would still be payable after depletion,” said Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “But the fact remains that Congress can keep Social Security strong by taking action to ensure the future of the program.”

Other highlights of the Trustees Report include:

  • Total income, including interest, to the combined OASDI Trust Funds amounted to $997 billion in 2017. ($874 billion from net payroll tax contributions, $38 billion from taxation of benefits, and $85 billion in interest)
  • Total expenditures from the combined OASDI Trust Funds amounted to more than $952 billion in 2017.
  • Social Security paid benefits of more than $941 billion in calendar year 2017. There were about 62 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.
  • The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 2.84 percent of taxable payroll – slightly larger than the 2.83 percent projected in last year’s report.
  • During 2017, an estimated 174 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
  • The cost of $6.5 billion to administer the Social Security program in 2017 was a very low 0.7 percent of total expenditures.
  • The combined Trust Fund asset reserves earned interest at an effective annual rate of 3.0 percent in 2017.

The Board of Trustees usually comprises six members. Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security; Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human Services; and R. Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Labor. The two public trustee positions are currently vacant.

View the 2018 Trustees Report at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TR/2018/.

# # #

 

To get more Social Security news, follow the Press Office on Twitter @SSAPress.

 

 

This press release was produced and disseminated at U.S. taxpayer expense.

 

To ensure this content makes it to your inbox in the future, please add this email address to your address book.
This communication was produced and disseminated at U.S. taxpayer expense.

Buying the Boat.

Buying the Boat. original 2-13-11 – Updated 4-28-18

“The question of whether one generation has the right to bind another by a deficit it imposes is a question of such consequence as to place it among the fundamental principles of our government. We should consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts and morally bound to pay for them ourselves.”  Thomas Jefferson.

But how? Read on

I am reading a story today about privatizing Medicare – but only for people under the age of 55. I don’t know what “Privatizing” really means to the future readers of this paper but it raises a question that has bothered me for years. How do we pay off our national debt? I don’t mean “How do we cut the deficit.” I am talking about the overspending of the past.

Lets say that I bought a boat that I did not need, on credit, and then I crashed it into the rocks and watched it sink.  Should I stop making payments to the person who sold me the boat? Should I ask my neighbors to help me pay? Maybe I should ask the boat dealer to send the bill to my children? I don’t think so… I bought it and it is my responsibility. And please – just shoot me – if I go out and buy another boat before I pay for the first one – just because I think it is fun – or something I NEED.

The National Debt is OUR boat. We bought it and we watched it sink. I am not sure why so many people feel our National debt is the debt of the Federal Government and their problem to solve. The National debt is MY debt and YOUR debt. This upsets us, and makes us feel frustrated and even angry. But our anger does NOT change the facts of who bought the boats. We did and we have not paid the bill.

Did we deserve the Bush tax cuts before our National debts were paid? Who told us it was OUR money and we should get it back? Politicians who wanted votes.

Should we ask our lender, China, to forget the money we borrowed or devalue their Yuan currency?

Perhaps our good neighbor, Canada, might chip in to pay our bills?

Some think that maybe we can increase taxes in the future? But that is going to anger our voting age children. By the time taxes are raised we of the older generations will be paying taxes at a greatly reduced rate. We might be off to that tax-free haven in the beyond. Essentially, we just don’t want to pay our bills.

We know that our elected officials have to get a handle on current and future deficits and that means change for all kinds of welfare – which includes our Social Security checks and Medicare payments. Don’t be fooled. These payments become personal welfare the moment that we get more out of the programs than we paid in. Please don’t forget this fact.

The National debt from World War II is tiny compared to the debt doubling during the Reagan years. That is when I first learned to divide our National debt by the number of tax payers in this United States. The numbers seem impossible. Oh, for the days when the debt was “only” $4,000,000,000,000. Yikes! Four trillion seemed bad enough. What is it now $19,000,000,000,000? That is $63,000 per person. Unbelievable!

How do we fix this problem? All the answers that I have seen continue to push the problem onward to the next generations. Our misguided perspective is driven by policy makers who continue to cultivate votes rather than solve problems.

For right or wrong – our country has spent too much money. And we have spent it in many unnecessary ways. Take your pick – optimistic wars, too much welfare, overpaid public officials, and wasteful contracts. All contribute to the problem. All are controlled by the people we elect. And the people we elect tend to have big egos and a huge desire for power. And money to spend is raw power.

It is never fair to lump all politicians into this category. Many public servants want only to do good. The sad truth is that “doing good” is in the eye of the person with the most power. And power, as noted, requires our money.

I am not sophisticated enough to understand much about government but I do know that OUR generation has not paid OUR bills. And I know that none of us want to pay our bills either.

One solution is to grow the economy (so the future can pay the bills). Another solution is to stop spending so much (which also pushes the payments off to the future generations.) I am looking for each of us to say that we need to come clean and pay the National Debt – not by raising taxes but by paying our bill.

Raising taxes will push payments onto the next generation. Most retirees don’t pay taxes anymore or greatly reduced from our working years.

I should just ask our readers to offer solutions for paying off the money that WE spent. Right or wrong, we elected the folks who took us into debt. They are the agents that we hired to buy our boats. And WE are the ones who should pay the bill. How do we do that…?

We Seniors are the worst for ignoring the problem – voting only for people who dabble at the ongoing deficit while ignoring the existing debt. They are two separate issues.

The only solution that I see for the existing debt has its foundation in estate taxes. We all want our family fortunes to be passed on to the kids but is it fair to give it away our wealth before we pay for our debts?

If we are responsible and we believe that a new law would be fair to everyone, would we be willing to pay? Maybe – but I doubt it. This world is filled with people who blame government – which solves nothing.

Since we can’t force ourselves to pay up, maybe it better for us to wait until we are gone from this good earth to pay our fair share.

Here is one thought. If the government can determine how much we have paid through “retirement” taxes and how much we have collected through Social Security and Medicare, wouldn’t it be fair to balance the sheet after we are gone?

Perhaps there is nothing left for the kids – well – isn’t that the fact of the matter? We and our elected representatives set up the spending formula and it seems that, after we are gone, those who have benefited should pay their own bills.  Otherwise, all our health care and all our “extra” retirement checks are like winning a lottery.

Should any of us expect our retirement checks to go to the kids after we are gone? Neither should we send the bills to them.

The writer welcomes your comments posted at WordPress. Please offer alternative solutions along with any complaints.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM LAWS AN ALL-AMERICAN DISPUTE,

Lincoln, Nebraska, March 5, 2018 – A Colorado baker’s refusal to make a wedding cake for a gay couple is so divisive that it has made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Following legalization of same-sex marriage, some states have passed laws that allow business owners to refuse services to same-sex couples based upon religious belief.
Yet new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln indicates that most Nebraskans – 64 percent of nearly 1,100 survey respondents – oppose such laws. The results mirror national polls that have shown religious freedom laws lack broad support among Americans.
Sociologists Emily Kazyak and Kelsy Burke analyzed responses to why Nebraskans support or oppose a business owner’s right to refuse service to gays and lesbians to gain insight into why these laws continue to gain traction in state Legislatures even though most Americans do not actually agree with them.  Mathew Stange, who received his doctoral degree in survey research and methodology at Nebraska and is now a survey researcher at Mathematica Policy Research, also participated in the study.
They found that both sides base their appeals upon bedrock American values of freedom and capitalism.
Those who side with the baker say he has the right to act upon his religious convictions and that free enterprise means that plenty of other bakers would serve the couple. Those who side with the couple say they have the right to be free from discrimination and that free enterprise demands that all customers be served.
Kazyak said both sides share the belief that Americans have a fundamental right to freely live their lives.
“The disagreement is not over the value of freedom or equality per se,” she said. “It’s over the questions of whose rights are most worthy of protection and whose freedom is potentially jeopardized in the current moment.”
The researchers noted that as LGBTQ people have gained acceptance and visibility, conservative Christians have begun to portray themselves as a group under threat.
“Protestant Christians have always been the dominant religious group in America, yet evangelical Protestant legislators are now leading efforts to pass these religious freedom laws,” Burke said. “They are thus sending a clear message that they believe their religious beliefs are under threat.”
The Supreme Court, which heard arguments in the Colorado case in December, is expected to rule on the matter by June.
The study was based on data collected by the 2015 Nebraska Annual Social Indicators Survey. NASIS is an annual cross-sectional omnibus survey of Nebraskans 19 and older, conducted by the Bureau of Sociological Research at Nebraska.
Findings were published online Feb. 28 in Socius, a  research journal of the American Sociological Association.
%d bloggers like this: