Friday, October 14, 2005

He giveth and he taketh away...

Unless you happened to retire as the CEO of a major global company or are the beneficiaries of money your ancestors made (aka Old Money), life is tough for old people these days. Not that it's ever been easy, particularly under Republican regimes, but one cannot look at retirement with envious eyes lately unless you happen to fall into one of the two groups mentioned above.

Big news! Retirees are to get a HUGE increase in their social security! A whopping...earthshattering...shall I spend it all or invest part of it sum of...wait for it...$39 a month!! The average social security check will rise from $963 to a giddy $1,002 in January! Be still my heart. Such largesse. Such an incredible gift to our senior citizens. Such total crap.

$39 a month.

It doesn't sound like much of a windfall to me, even assuming that God - or President Bush as those of us in the know call him - wasn't giving with one hand and taking back with the other. Some AP reporters need to go back to English class to learn the meaning of certain words. I even have a dictionary they can borrow.

$39 a month is not a HUGE increase. It's chickenfeed. It's half a meal for four at Applebees or The Outback. It's 9lbs of ground beef, or ten gallons of milk or ten loaves of multigrain bread. It's two packs of Depends undergarments or two bottles of Advil. And depending on your location, it's roughly ten gallons of gas.

But hey...want to hear the funny part? This'll slay you.

At the same time they're trumpeting this HUGE increase of $39 a month for the average senior, the government is also raising Medicare premiums by $10.30 in January. So I guess that's now down to a VERY LARGE increase of $28.70 a month, right?

Well wait. It gets better. If a senior doesn't want to pay extortionate amounts for prescriptions (and being old, they tend to wind up needing quite a few of these on a monthly basis), they can sign up for the BRAND NEW prescription drug benefit, also beginning in January. The cost for this new benefit to the average senior? A mere $32 per month! A steal! Ingenious!

Now let's see. $28.70 minus $32 leaves us with the princely sum of.......minus $3.30. Say it ain't so!! Say we're not screwing over people in the twilight of their lives yet again??!!

Wait a sec...did I say screwing seniors? How about those of us who work and pay social security? Buried in the piece was this little gem:

"The Social Security Administration also announced Friday that 11.3 million workers will pay higher taxes next year because the maximum amount of Social Security earnings subject to the payroll tax will rise from $90,000 to $94,200 next year. In all, an estimated 159 million workers will pay Social Security taxes next year."

So the $39 per month increase is our own little gift to the seniors of the country. And there I was thinking that the government might actually doing something beneficial for someone earning less than $100,000 per year. It's the Republicans, what was I thinking!!??


Blogger mikevotes said...

Pretty good post.

Add this, in some cases that Soc Security money is counted as income and taxed by the freakin' IRS.

4:29 PM  
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11:51 PM  

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