"I have traveled America extensively looking for, in the short term, common sense ways to keep the Social Security Fund solvent for those who need it. And in the long run, I have also looked for just as common sense ways to wean us – over time – from the Social Security Fund and back to a much more personal and caring society toward the elderly (like in the “old days” before the Fund). And I have found creative solid answers to both."
"Ask Schriner about Social Security, and he talks more about what's become of the elderly in American society... He contends the elderly have been discarded -- in nursing homes, assisted living communities and in their retirement travel -- because they are no longer valued in their own communities." -The News Gazette, Champaign, IL.
Excerpt from Joe’s position paper on Social Security
Social Security as another “insurance?”…
On a stop in North Carolina, we interviewed former North Carolina State University instructor David Kalbacker. He said he gladly pays house insurance, health insurance, car insurance with the hope he doesn't have to collect on any of them. He asks, "Why shouldn't that be the same for Social Security?"
That is, while everyone would pay into Social Security as yet another insurance, it should only benefit someone who becomes disabled during his/her lifetime, or if they really need it in retirement.
Kalbacker said in retirement, drawing Social Security would be contingent on income. If a retiree makes, for instance, $70,000 [arbitrary figure] a year or more, on pensions, stocks, bonds, etc., they shouldn't be eligible to draw from the Social Security Fund.
Excerpts from “Joe’s blog entries from the road”
Little Brothers… Friends of the Elderly / Chicago chapter [organization photo]
I was talking to a minister today who noted that the year Social Security was enacted in this country in 1935, the average life span for a white American was 62.9 years. (You couldn’t collect Social Security until you were 62-years-old.) Needless to say, in the early years the Social Security Fund was quite buoyant. Now the average life span of a white American is 79 years, and you can still start collecting at age 62. The SS Fund is currently in trouble. A question: “Does anybody remember when ‘social security’ was about the family and community making sure the local elderly were “socially secure?” That is, the elderly often lived with their children or other extended family. And for those without family nearby, there are now non-profit organizations like: Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly. (We researched a chapter of this in Houghton, Michigan, during our travels.) Local volunteers, in effect, adopt an elderly person in the community. They meet socially with the elderly person on a regular basis, provide rides, help clean the person’s house, do other odd jobs… Note: Instead of myopically looking at just a one-dimensional fix to Social Security, we should be looking at a variety of creative local ways to help the elderly — like in the “old days.” --Joe
I talked in Terry Armstrong’s government class at Labrea High School in Leavittsburg, Ohio, today. Mr. Armstrong is one of the most proactive high school government teachers we’ve met in our travels across the country. He brings candidates in to talk to his students, takes the students on field trips to political events, and so on… We did a “town meeting” format in the class today, and rather animated discussions started up around health care, taxes, immigration, Social Security… Mr. Armstrong said projections indicate that the Social Security Fund will run out in the year 2037. “The year I retire,” Mr. Armstrong smiled (sort of). I said that, among other things, my administration would push for the Social Security Fund becoming a “lock box.” That is, unlike it is now, the government couldn’t borrow from the Fund…
I gave a talk to a Political Analysis Class at Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, today. I turned it into a “town hall” style meeting and asked the students what some of the first things they’d do as president were… One student said she would push for an income ceiling for people collecting Social Security in retirement. For instance if you were making, say, $70,000 (arbitrary figure) for the year on pensions, stocks, etc., you wouldn’t be eligible to draw Social Security that year. Our platform calls for something similar – [so money is available for those who really need it.]
Read more of:
Joe’s “blog posts from the road” on: Social Security
Joe’s “blog posts from the road” on: the elderly
Excerpts from Joe’s position paper on Social Security:
In Seneca, Kansas, I interviewed Sue Haeg, who lives with her mom Lucille, 89. While Sue is the main caregiver, seven other siblings who live in the area regularly spell Sue and help in a myriad of ways – so the mother doesn’t have to go to a nursing home. “They (her parents) took care of us,” Sue said to me. “This is our job now.” Note: While talking with Sue’s mom, I noticed she was quite lucid at times, then she would suddenly move off the topic to a totally unrelated one (an indication, in some cases, of dementia). I asked Sue what her mom’s “formal” diagnosis was. She smiled and replied: “Getting old.”
We also went to San Antonio, Florida, where we met with Theresa Walsh. She and her husband Pat turned their basement into an apartment and invited Pat’s parents to move in. She told me it was a tremendous blessing to have the grandparents intimately involved (day in and day out) with her children’s, and her and her husband’s, lives.
…on our research trips to Shipshewana, Indiana, Arthur, Illinois, Mt. Hope, Ohio… we learned the Amish build either new additions on their homes, or a new home altogether on the same property, for their just married children, [as there are additions, additional homes… for the Amish elderly.]
From “Joe’s blog posts from the road” per: “the elderly”…
Our Florida Panhandle Tour continued: In Crestview, Florida we met with Rosa Garett from South Korea. She married an American service man and came to the states some 25 years ago. Of the contrasts between countries, she said what she found most striking was the difference (overall) between how elderly were treated in her country and how they are treated here. For instance, in her country (until just recently) there was no such thing as: nursing homes. “Families take care of their own there,” she said. Also, how elderly are addressed in South Korea is much more respectful as well, Rosa added.
More from Joe’s position paper on Social Security
The bigger picture…
*However in the long term, we believe we have to seriously assess whether establishing a Federal Social Security Fund was a good idea in the first place. That is, with the Social Security Administration have we set up an antiseptic helping system that has significantly diminished the hands on, person-to-person help that so characterized the communities of old in this country? --Joe
Read Joe’s full position paper on Social Security.