Thursday, January 11, 2007

13 reason we need to rethink social security and medicare (maybe our health system in general)

I was reading this article online and decided to comment on it for my 13 today. Check it out!

Let's just say I have decided to get edgy. I have no idea what the right answer is, but the course we are on now is leading into a tunnel with no exit!

"Our children will not be so blind to this hypocrisy. We have managed to take successful programs—Social Security and Medicare—and turn them into huge problems by our self-centered inattention. Baby boomers seem eager to "reinvent retirement" in all ways except those that might threaten their pocketbooks." From the Newsweek article

13 Reasons why I think Social Security and Medicare Need to be re-thought.

1. When Social Security was designed the average life expectancy for a man in the US was 65. MMMM, shocking that that was the retirement age! Now that is not the case and since women are out living men and working, is this retirement age really realistic? How long should people have to work? Does a one size fits all retirement age even make sense?

2. The Medicare Part D is way - I mean way too complicated. My husband and I spent weeks helping his mother select a plan and it was tough for us and we are pretty savvy folk. Flat out Medicare Part D is not helpful, it cost the seniors money and is so complex, it takes an attorney to wade thru the red tape. I think the only beneficiaries are the Insurance companies and the drug companies. Either cover the drugs or don't. Donuts holes are for snacking.

3. Personal Responsibility. Another post all together but - seriously. We have to take care of ourselves to the extent that we are able. Social Security should be a safety net and not the only source of retirement income. Sadly - the Baby Boomers missed that clause. Social Security was designed to aid those retirees whose companies went belly up - ala Enron and took their pensions with them. As a nation we are not good at saving money. Gen-Xs - go start a savings account, cut up the plastic and max out your 401K. NOW!

4. I do not care which side of the aisle you feel most comfortable sitting on - but we need to think about what we really want our government to do. Should it be BIG BROTHER and Super MOM or should it provide the basics, a frame work if you will and let us do the rest. This really needs to be decided - before either program will be fixed to anyone satisfaction.

5. As with the tax code - -Uncle Sam, LESS IS MORE!

6. Do we really want to further complicate matters by allowing for market investment. Does anyone remember the Tech Bubble????? How about the PETS.COM sock puppet. MMMM, I think CDs might be best after all!

7. We all like to complain about the tax section of our paychecks - but did you realize that in most cases the largest deductions are for social security and medicare? They can cut your Fed tax all they want - you are still paying upwards of 10% of your annual wage into a program that in 30 years likely will not be there. (And why are Gen-Xer's not rioting in the streets about this????)

8. Honestly - a coffee can might be safer.

9. Kramer is on national TV, we know him, we can agree or disagree with his investment ideas. Who exactly is running the "TRUST FUND"? Do we even know! IS it on the website. What happened to full disclosure?

10. What is the retirement program like for US Senators, Representatives, and the President. MMM, can I get in on that. I paid for it. Granted - they did give up much of their privacy for a time period - but is it really worth all of that??? How much is their drug coverage in retirement???

11. National health care from birth to death. The basics mind you. Might be better than alternative. (A big Donut hole if we are not careful.)

12. Your parents can always just move in with you - you're ok with that - right??? Because that is where any of us are heading. Once our parents - who likely have not saved enough - cannot work any longer or are too sick to make it to the golden 65-68 age bracket - what then???

13. Does anyone really even care??? We are so far from 65!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

13 of My Favorite things

13 of my favorite things

Today I thought I would share some of my favorite things.

1. Flowers. I really love flowers. All of them really. I like giving them, getting them, growing them and looking at them.

2. Fall. As a season I love fall. Those nice cool crisp days, that flirt with summer, but hint of cooler days and nights. I like the smell of fall and the contrast of the bright blue sky and the vibrant oranges, red, yellows and browns.
3. Books. I do love books. I like to read much more than I like TV. I like to "see" the story in my mind. I like the way books feel, sound and smell. I love bookstores and libraries too! All those books.
4. Traveling. Now I have to admit that with the new flight rules and 2 small kids traveling is not as easy as it once was - but I love it. To go new places and see new things.
5. Internet shopping. Hey I love shopping on line. No standing in line, no driving thru parking lots fraught with danger. No disinterested clerks. Not that it is fool proof, but it is great!
6. Whole Foods. I love shopping at the new Whole Foods that opened in Columbus. I have food issues (no wheat, no corn and no dairy) so they have alot of things that help me out, plus the staff is friendly, the food is free of stuff you do not want. Way cool. I also as a business person like to see that a company is making it the market place - selling alot of items that mainstream groceries do not. It gives an outlet to the smaller organic and niche manufactures. Way cool. Plus they do not freak when I bring my own bags!
7. My shopping crates. Yes this is a tag on. I love my crates. They collapse. They are from Germany. My friend brought them to me. They are multi colored and fab. I take them with me to Whole Foods. So useful and they collapse for easy storage. They are also useful for transporting items to preschool and for all sorts of events. Like a box, but one that never rips or tears. Plus they are washable.
8. Quiet time. There was a time in my life that I never settled down to rest or relax. I was constantly moving. But now I indulge in quiet time and it really is good for the soul.
9. YOGA. I love it. It is awesome. I do not do it enough, but boy do I love it! It is a total mind and body cleansing and it is very powerful.
10. My glasses. I have had them for 5 years. They are cool and hip and a great style. I get compliments alot. It is kinda vain, but when you wear glasses it is often the first thing other people notice about you. So I treated myself to some great frames. Hey it is about seeing better - but fashion is important too!
11. Freedom. Not to get too political, but I value freedom very much. I am a bit worried about some of the freedoms we used to enjoy in the US - which seem to be slowing floating away. But that is a different post. I think freedom is really important. The ability to go and do what we want when we want. The ability to exercise choice. Basic stuff - but so many people have alot of limits set by their government. I am not sure we all understand the value of freedom.
12. My wedding ring. I really love it. I loved it the day my husband proposed and I love it every time I put it on. It is so us. It is a gem stone and diamonds. So it is not the "traditional" and that is so us. It means so much that he gave me something that really seems us. It is also a symbol of so much that we have shared and will share in the future. I think symbols are important and for me it is an outward symbol of the love we share.
13. Change. I used to hate it. I am still not sure I love change in the day to day - but the ability to make changes. To decide to do something different and then to follow it thru. I think change is good. While it can be painful and difficult, it is so important and sometimes making changes really does open new doors. I am embracing the new doors. They are not scary - but exciting.

So what are some of your favorite things???