Friday, September 23, 2011

An Entitlement or an Investment?

Last night I listened to the first hour of a radio show called Coast to Coast A.M. A man was talking about the economy. One of the things he said struck me. He had started working and paying into the Social Security System when he was 14 and was now in his seventies. The comment which grabbed my attention was, "That's not an entitlement, that's an investment."

I began thinking about my own family. My father worked from the time he was a teenager on the family farm, as well as graduating from high school. He served in Korea, was wounded, and continued to serve, walking in a cast. It changed him forever.

When a heroic war movie came on he ould stomp around the house, saying "That's not the way it is, not at all!" I remember him going to bed at 7:00 in the evening, to avoid having to watch and listen to the movies.

I remember names like "Hamburger Hill," and "Pork chop Hill" though they remained unexplained because I was a child.

I remember him talking about Korean women laying their living babies in front of his tank, in hopes that an American soldier would pick them up and help them, they were starving.

I think my father felt guilty for belonging to the human race after his experiences in Korea. Before his death he made us Promise Not to let the military give him a funeral and especially NOT to allow anyone to play Taps, as he'd heard it too many times during his life.

My father came back from the war and continued to work. He was an expert mechanic, working on race cars for fun after his day job, and once fixing the cadillac of Elvis, keeping it a secret until Elvis was gone from the area.

He worked in between cancer surgeries, while in pain. He worked without complaint until his body could go no farther. He died of cancer at age 39.

My Uncle served three tours in Vietnam and became disabled, partly as a result of his service, dying at age 62.

My mother's sister took care of and raised three kids and a husband. She decided she Must get thinner and lived on coffee, apples, (one per day I think) and diet soda. Eventually her body began attacking her muscle tissue, including her heart. She died of a massive heart attack at forty.

Both of my sisters work, as did my mother, until she became disabled in her sixties. One sister works two jobs, (Very common for people to splice two or three jobs together here) and pays Social Security taxes from Both. My other sister and brother-in-law both work full time, and have raised two smart and hard working kids.

So why is the support of Bank of America, Freddie Mac, Fanny May, City Bank, et al., Not Welfare? Why should leaders of greed be rewarded with millions in bonuses, while the Social Security taxes payed in by hard working Americans, many of whom have fought in their country's wars,, be considered an Entitlement Program?

This is Backwards and obscene. I often feel guilty for being a disabled person who lives "from entitlements". But I teach Braille as a volunteer, am trying to begin a tiny business, served as Ann's unofficial healthcare aide, (as she did for me) and try to share what I have, in food, money, etc. when I can. Ann and I either grew, received permission to pick, (fruit growing on trees which people didn't want to be bothered with) and processed our own food, except for the deer legally hunted for us by kind and generous friends and the veggies. and some fruit bought from our local Farmer's Market. We helped many people with extra food and by teaching them how to cook, make compost, sew, etc. I can only think that the Social Security Payments I live on are the compassion of my father, my uncle, my aunt. They invested, as do I, when I can, in our country.

Social Security is not an Entitlement Program, it Is an Investment!

The second hour of the show was about demons, I turned it off! Why not talk abou Bodisatvas instead? I know a deaf-blind woman who, with her partner, is fostering four deeply troubled children. She gardens and she Works with those kids! I know a blind woman who adopted a little girl whose mom had a serious drug problem. And she has Worked with that child, too! But are they contributing Enough to be Entitled to Social Security Disability?

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