Senate Republicans on Thursday night used their new majority to pass a two-year budget that eliminates any opportunity for Gov. Terry McAuliffe or a year-old legislative commission to expand Medicaid or a private insurance alternative.
They were backed by House Republicans who said they would not approve the budget — even though Senate Democrats and moderate Republicans had removed an insurance marketplace — unless it included language to prevent any expansion without the approval of the full General Assembly.
The Senate passed the budget on a 21-18 vote. Sen. Lynwood W. Lewis Jr. of Accomack County was the only Democrat who backed the spending plan.
Just before midnight the House of Delegates voted 69-31 to adopt the budget, as lawmakers sought to end a three-month stalemate and address a $1.55 billion revenue shortfall.
The blame for this partisan stupidity cannot even be placed on the Virginia GOP. The blame clearly should be laid at the feet of Virginia’s own Benedict Arnold, Senator Phillip Puckett. Puckett chose his own personal career advancement and that of his daughter over 400,000 Virginians.
Dear God! I have come full circle. I never thought I would live to see the day when Bob Dylan advertised for America. Yes, Bob Dylan was the unofficial, self-appointed poet laureate of the 60’s. He marshaled in protest and protest music like no one else. He stood for defiance and what was wrong with America’s youth. He stood against all our parents had fought for. Or did he?
The bad boy of the 60’s, that gravel-throated young man who had most American parents screaming “turn that commie pinko bastard off!!!” to their kids is now the grand spokesman for America. Pool hall, suit, and somewhere, an American flag.
Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 63 million Americans will increase 1.5 percent in 2014, the Social Security Administration announced today.
The 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 57 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2014. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2013.
Pro-choice groups are howling over Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe’s appointment of McDonnell’s health secretary, Dr. William A. Hazel, a moderate Republican. According to the Washington Post:
RICHMOND — Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe will keep Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s health secretary on as his own, a choice that could help the new governor sell Medicaid expansion to wary Republicans but that also infuriates some abortion-rights activists.
McAuliffe (D) will announce Wednesday that he will reappoint Dr. William A. Hazel Jr., an orthopaedic surgeon from Northern Virginia who served as secretary of health and human resources under McDonnell (R), two people familiar with the decision said.
Food stamps brings out a host of resentments from those not on food stamps. People seem to resent luxury items such as crab legs even more than they resent poor people using food stamps to buy junk food.
WASHINGTON — More Americans are annoyed by the idea of food stamp recipients using their benefits to buy expensive food than their using them to buy junk food, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.
According to the survey, 54 percent of Americans think people should not be allowed to use food stamps to buy expensive items such as crab legs, while only 32 percent said that they should be allowed to do so.
By contrast, respondents were split on allowing those on food stamps to buy junk food, like potato chips, candy and soda. Forty-five percent said they should be allowed to buy those items and 42 percent said they should not.
Is a longer life expectancy for sale? See what happens when you don’t have to take half doses of your medication and can afford a healthier life-style, a gym, hiking trails, and things that are out of reach for those living in poverty, watching every penny.
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — This prosperous community is the picture of the good and ever longer life — just what policymakers have in mind when they say that raising the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare is a fair way to rein in the nation’s troublesome debt.
The county’s plentiful and well-tended golf courses teem with youthful-looking retirees. The same is true on the county’s 41 miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches, abundant tennis courts and extensive network of biking and hiking trails.
Corey Stewart is apparently wants to save all defense spending while taking a chainsaw to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. His latest email blast in his bid for Lt. Governor is shocking! His own words:
There is no question our Federal Budget has ballooned to epic proportions, but arbitrarily slashing defense spending is the wrong way to try and reduce the federal deficit.
90,000 civilian Department of Defense employees will be furloughed; this alone will be a $648.8 million hit to the economy of Virginia.
If Washington wants to get serious about reigning in spending, they must go after entitlements. Entitlement programs currently occupy 62% of our federal budget, with 44% of that being comprised of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Those programs are increasing beyond the rate of inflation and, when combined with Obamacare, will eat up 18.5% of our national economic output.
Did he really use the words “go after?” Does he realize that many senior citizens have only Social Security to rely on? Is he declaring a war on senior citizens and the poor? It sure sounds like it.
During a private fundraiser earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a small group of wealthy contributors what he truly thinks of all the voters who support President Barack Obama. He dismissed these Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don’t assume responsibility for their lives, and who think government should take care of them. Fielding a question from a donor about how he could triumph in November, Romney replied:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.
Romney went on: “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Former Sen. Alan Simpson is not happy with the California Alliance for Retired Americans.
In an April letter full of bad language, the pugnacious Wyoming Republican criticized the seniors group for a flyer that protested a deficit reduction plan from the task force he co-chaired with Clinton administration honcho Erskine Bowles.
“Your little flyer entitled ‘Bowles! Simpson! Stop using the deficit as a phony excuse to gut our Social Security!’ is one of the phoniest excuses for a ‘flyer’ I have ever seen,” Simpson wrote on his official Senate stationery.
A month or so ago I posted a letter from my friend Bear who was on a rant about the use of the word ‘entitlements.’ I agreed with him which brought out a fury of people telling me what the word ‘entitlement’ meant. You know, it isn’t the word ‘entitlement.’ It is the way most people SAY entitlement and what it is grouped with.
Americans are entitled to Medicare and Social Security, or at least most of them are. There are probably some exceptions. My problem comes from the snarl people have when they talk about those taking ‘entitlements.’ Those under 50 often unknowingly go into facial contortions when they utter the word. Why? If you are entitled to something, why do others resent it so much? They will be entitled also…one of these days.
I think the other thing that bothers me so much is that Medicaid is thrown in along with other forms of what we used to call ‘welfare’ to the ‘entitlements’ conversation. Now that is just down right irritating because many of the folks pulling from these programs haven’t paid in the thousands upon thousands of dollars that those of us who are entitled to Medicare and Social Security have paid. Maybe its the Medi- prefix that just make people relate Medicare and Medicaid.
To those of us who are getting close or who are already there, we resent like hell being lumped in with the medicaid crowd. Call me an elistist. I really don’t care. I worked for years and I paid into both Social Security/FICA and Medicare for what seems like forever and what also seemed like a lot of money.
If MediCARE and Social Security are going to be called ‘entitlements’ then MediCAID and other social programs need to be called something else. I know that ‘welfare’ isn’t politically correct but neither is ‘entitlement.’
Do you resent ‘entitlements’ and if so, which ones? Do you think they will be there for you? How about the programs for poor people? Do you resent those? What do we do about those less fortunate? Are they entitled to various government programs that most of them have not paid in to?
Rachel Maddow warns us all about our 401Ks(authorized in 1978). Our nest eggs give us a false sense of security. They are riddled with hidden fees. Everyone needs to see this segment of Rachel Maddow. Meanwhile, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.
Just a few tidbits about your 401k–it is only worth 76% of what you see. Why? Taxes haven’t been taken out. The 403B is its ugly evil twin (those often have annuity zingers attached that cost you money). That’s if you live in Virginia. Most people who contribute to a plan get some free money. That is good. However, if you don’t get matching funds, you are far better off using an IRA as a retirement vehicle. Why? More choices. Company 401k plans are usually limited in choices.
I got the following email last night. It seemed to be more than a rant. Often our words are careless–like when we call something people have paid in to most of their lives an entitlement, like someone is doing them a favor.
Guest post by BEAR Jones
The following is a rant, feel free to delete without reading!
I spent some time today looking over my Federal Earnings Record.
I started paying Social Security Taxes in 1959 (year before I graduated High School)
I started paying Medicare Taxes in 1966
I continued paying both until I retired in 2005
I’m 69 years old now and those A-holes in Washington say I’m in an “Entitlement Program”
I feel like I spent 40+ years paying “Retirement Insurance” premiums. Now they want to screw with the funding of these programs! I’m not even complaining about all the tax money I gave Federal , State and Local government to fund their activities.(which I’m still paying) I held up my end of the deal with the Government and they shouldn’t be allowed to change their end of the deal.
Sorry, I needed to vent…..Bear
We all need to think before we call Social Security and Medicare ‘entitlement programs.’ It sounds like our retirees are on some sort of free hand-out program rather than something they have paid in to their entire lives.
[Plan taken down. Too expensive. But the rant remains.]
Social Security was the top question during tonight’s CNN/Tea Party Debate. Everyone admits that there are serious problems with Social Security and that the program, as it exists, it not sustainable for those young people who are now paying in to it.
At least one of the candidates has called it a ponzi scheme. Others would give young people the option of putting their funds into private accounts. There are many fixes out there being discussed. However, none of the answers address how you fund for the people still in the program. What needs to happen to Social Security and how can any candidate who wants to tweak Social Security get elected? The baby boomers are going to be a serious force to be reckoned with.
Anyone 50 to 65 is a baby boomer. That is a rather huge voting block. I simply don’t think anyone who seriously challenges the Social Security is going to be elected. There are too many boomers and seniors. The boomers aren’t nuts and they will turn up the heat on this issue. They have the numbers. They have been paying in to a system for a life time and it is going to be pay back time.
What would you do if you were running for president? How would you do the impossible?