Humanism, politics

Expanding Social Security

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For the last several years my Grandma, near age 90, has been living in a nursing home not far from where she used to live with her husband when he was still alive. The expense of the nursing home is more than both her pension and Social Security can pay for, so her house was sold and that money is going to her nursing home costs.

My Grandma has a regular visitor at the nursing home, a cousin she’s been friends with for many years who is near age 80. This friend didn’t make a lot of money, spent years as a stay-at-home mom, and it seems the men in her life were not always so good. Now that she’s past retirement age, she has to keep working because her Social Security is too low to live on. She’s had a tough life according to my Grandma, and now she’s having a tough old age. She’s been a loyal friend to my Grandma for many years and visits her regularly, keeping her company and bringing gifts.

You can see she lives in pain, as many at that age have to contend with arthritis and other things we can look forward to if we live long enough. Women tend to live longer than men, and for those who stay at home and raise a family, Social Security is often the only safety net to prevent total destitution should you outlive your economic usefulness. My Grandma’s friend works crappy jobs out of necessity for people who don’t really care to employ her. This woman is but one of many who fall through the cracks of an imperfect system.

Nearly every politician admits that the Social Security trust fund was raided and robbed. The Republican solution is to cut the program, the Democrat solution is to compromise with the Republicans.

Out of all the issues to come out in the Democratic campaign, my hope is that the expansion of Social Security will take the forefront. Programs like Social Security form the bedrock of a humane and civilized society, and only those who share this belief should be let anywhere near the engineering of such an important program.

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Humanism, politics

America’s Harvest of Death

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2,977 Americans died as a result of the 9/11 terror attacks, 2,753 directly at the site of the World Trade Center.

4,750 Americans are estimated to have died following the 2008 Financial Crisis, statistics referred to as “excess suicide deaths.”

These excess deaths occurred based on a 4.5% rise in suicide following the Financial Crisis according to various studies, which all point to a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Since many deaths are not treated as actual suicides when they really are, this number is likely low.

The Subprime Mortgage Crisis at the heart of the financial meltdown was the result of predatory lending practices in the banking industry, an industry heavily deregulated under Clinton. Left to police itself, the financial industry spawned scam-mortgages targeting the unaware, sold by those who knew they were predatory. This practice was industry wide under the leadership and investment of executives in the finance industry; These barons of finance are affectionately known as the Masters of the Universe according to an inside joke.

This industry wide predatory scamming not only destroyed the lives of countless homeowners, but ended up devastating the world economy. Corporate socialists stepped in to save too-big-to-fail banks, but for everyone else it was survival of the fittest-of-money. The mass increase in suicide that followed the financial crisis, America’s Harvest of Death, was but one consequence of predatory economics.

The killers responsible for the tragedy of 9/11 were hunted down and smoked out of their holes. With the rise of two wars the figureheads of terror were destroyed, and years later at a compound in Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden paid the ultimate price and faced justice.

The killers of America’s second Gilded Age got off scot-free. The barons of finance are today enjoying unheard of wealth and power, fighting with all the might that wealth entitles them, pushing for ever more for themselves and ever slicker skids for the public. No wanted-dead-or-alive posters exist for these murderers, not with the degree of separation between killing methods and results.

For those who die under the wheels of Social Darwinism, America shrugs in silence and sweeps you under the rug.

The victims of the tragic 9/11 terror attacks have a gargantuan memorial in honor of their memory, each one’s name etched in stone. No memorial for the others.. but what can be said about them, from the foolish mortgage decision to the suicide, it was all their own fault anyway. Some people are heroes while others are zeros.

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