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Showing posts from January, 2013

1967 Blizzard in Northern Indiana

I think it was a Thursday on January 26, 1967, when I was working at the Northern Indiana Public Service Company’s Gas Meter Shop in Hammond, Indiana. At about noon, or so, it began to snow. It snowed so hard that we all knew we would have to leave work without delay if we were ever to make it home.
After heading north towards Ridge Road, I knew I wouldn’t make it home that evening and so when I saw a fellow worker, he offered to allow me to stay at his home that night. His wife prepared a great dinner for us and the next morning, it didn’t appear that the roads would be cleared any time soon and not wanting to spend the entire weekend in Highland, Indiana, I decided to head for home on foot. We were living in an apartment on 35th and Polk Street in Gary, Indiana, across from the Indiana University Extension.
Ridge Road was completely void of any traffic (all the roads in Northern Indiana were closed being completely plugged with snow and stranded vehicles). Stranded cars were everywher…

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 1-25-13

Obama Inaugural Address Includes Support for Protecting Social Security, Medicare
President Barack Obama kicked off his second term on Monday, and his ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol was filled with pomp and pageantry. The traditional celebrations came a day after he was sworn in on Sunday, on the constitutionally-required date, in a low-key ceremony at the White House. In his inaugural address, Obama insisted that programs such as Social Security and Medicare -- long targets of conservatives seeking to cut the size of government -- remain vital to the maintenance of America's safety net for seniors, the poor and the disabled. “We, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it,” Obama declared, adding that tough decisions on how to address the nation's chronic federal deficits and debt must avoid choosing between “caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generat…

Help for Hurricane Sandy Victims

The House of Representatives just voted on a bill approving $51 billion in aid for hurricane Sandy victims. All of the "NO" votes (except one) were from Republicans. The vote was 241 yes, 180 no. Shameful. My question is how did my Representative, Jackie Walorski vote.
Republicans Say they are Willing to Shut Down the Government in March
White House officials are eyeing a return to elements of a “grand bargain” they tried to reach late last year with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in order to defuse a fresh threat to the U.S. economy in just two months, according to The Washington Post and sources familiar with the discussions. The Post article is at

President Obama and Boehner came close last month to a major deal aimed at stabilizing the federal debt. But the speaker abandoned the talks, saying that the White House offer was too heavy on taxes and too light on spending cuts. Instead, Democrats and Republicans reached a far more modest agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff. Republicans say they have a stronger hand in the new negotiations because of the federal government’s pressing need to increase its $16.4 trillion borrowing limit. The government hit the debt ceiling this week, and the Treasury Department warns it w…

The Hoax of Entitlement Reform

Posted: 01/06/2013 7:25 pm on the Huffington Post
It has become accepted economic wisdom, uttered with deadpan certainty by policy pundits and budget scolds on both sides of the aisle, that the only way to get control over America's looming deficits is to "reform entitlements."

But the accepted wisdom is wrong.

Start with the statistics Republicans trot out at the slightest provocation -- federal budget data showing a huge spike in direct payments to individuals since the start of 2009, shooting up by almost $600 billion, a 32 percent increase.

And Census data showing 49 percent of Americans living in homes where at least one person is collecting a federal benefit -- food stamps, unemployment insurance, worker's compensation, or subsidized housing -- up from 44 percent in 2008.

But these expenditures aren't driving the federal budg…

The Rat Race

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village.  An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

"Not very long," answered the Mexican. "But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.
The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife.  In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs...I have a full life."

The American interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you!  You should start by fishing longer every day.  You can then sell the extra fish you catch.  With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you ca…

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 1-4-13

Fiscal Cliff Deal is Reached, Seniors Dodge Budget Cuts - For Now
The U.S. House of Representative voted 257-167 on Tuesday night to let income taxes on the wealthy rise sharply for the first time in two decades, fulfilling President Obama’s promise to raise taxes on the rich and avoiding the worst effects of the “fiscal cliff.” The agreement, brokered by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), had passed in the Senate early Tuesday, 89 to 8, in a highly unusual New Year’s morning vote.

“While the deal ending this latest round of high-stakes fiscal drama made some progress toward tax fairness, retirees and workers need to remain vigilant against long-standing threats to seniors’ health care and economic security,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. He continued, “We remain deeply troubled by a recurring policy proposal, coldly named the ‘chained-CPI,’ which would base future Social Security Cost-of-Living-Adjustments off a lowe…

Retirees and workers need to remain vigilant

Dear Alliance Member,

Late last night Congress passed a last-minute deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”  Because of Alliance activists and others who made their voices heard at the grassroots level, there were no cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  Thanks for everything you did to make this possible.

While we can celebrate, our work is not done.  Over the next two months, we can expect more misguided attempts by some in Congress to balance our budget on the backs of the programs we depend on.   However, with the strong voice of seniors like you, we can protect retirement security for all Americans and make sure we are not part of the last generation to retire.  Thanks for all you do.

For our take about what’s in the deal, check out this statement from Executive Director Ed Coyle.

“While the deal ending this latest round of high-stakes fiscal drama made some progress toward tax fairness, retirees and workers need to remain vigilant against long-standing threats to seniors’ he…