OT: Overheard at breakfast this morning

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The Bush tax cuts were the same %age across the board. Everybody gets so upset about the top, but nobody ever looks at the actual stats. Prior to the Bush tax cuts the lowest quintile (20% for those of you playing at home) had a negative tax RATE (meaning that they actually got more in cash than they paid in taxes through earned income tax credits, etc.). After the Bush tax cuts, the negative rate for the bottom quintile nearly doubled, and the next quintile also had a negative rate. WHen 40% of all tax payers end up making money, I find it hard to make the case that the higher income people got the best of the deal. BTW: These two quintiles were actual money paid to them. Not just the overpayment for withholding that many get back at the end of the year, but new money. So, they got back ALL withholding and then got the money from credits on top of that.
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Kurt & Han wrote:

You keep posting that as if it's a GOOD thing. What it means is that people at the bottom end of the scale are now living closer to the poverty line than ever before. They aren't paying much in taxes and are getting credits because they are getting poorer. The more quintiles that react like that (and it used to be only the first, IIRC) means the worse off working people are. I view your statistics as absolute proof of a serious, growing disparity between the very rich and the very poor and the entry of more people into the lower classes.

They are getting more money because a tax cut for the poor is a very different thing than a tax cut for the very wealthy because you have to take a LOT of money from the very rich before seriously affecting basic things like whether they eat well or not. Not so with the poor living from day to day.
Touching on your comments on progressivity of the tax system, that's exactly what you are seeing. People making less and less and government programs to assist low income people serving more and more of them because there ARE more and more of them. You're right about the numbers being a wake-up call, but not for the reasons you give. (-:
Vast income disparities often lead to serious social unrest as we're seeing all throughout the Arab world. We would be foolish to consider we're immune to that sort of unrest. I've see it personally in DC, we've seen it in Watts and elsewhere. When people feel they have no tangible stake in society, they have no qualms about disrupting or destroying it.

But they're SUPPOSED to get back all their withholding. It's THEIR money!!!!!!!
The additional payments occur because they are moving towards poverty. A rich person can leverage his investments in ways that are impossible for poorer people (which partly brought about the crash). The crash hurt the poor far more than the rich according to a recent study I say. It only makes sense. If you've got 2M in stocks and bonds, you can wait out an awfully long recession. If you're in credit card debt like God only knows how many Americans are, they situation is very, very different.
At one place I worked, they matched your contribution to their pension fund, dollar for dollar. None of the single mom secretaries or admin. workers could AFFORD to do that. They lived hand to mouth. They had to walk away from free future money because they were doing so poorly in the present. The Bush tax cuts for the rich accelerated the growing gap because rich people can afford to go for tax breaks and advantages completely unavailable to the average blue-collar worker, thus widening the disparity of incomes.
Wall Street played but Main Street paid.
-- Bobby G.
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On Wed, 3 Aug 2011 11:11:57 -0400, "Robert Green"

Maybe those people should have paid a little more attention in school or shouldn't have dropped out because that was the easy thing to do. Or maybe those people should have had a better work ethic so they could have kept a decent job instead of getting fired. Or maybe...
Whatever the reason for them living at or near poverty it wasn't MY fault and I don't like being forced to feed, clothe, educate and provide health care for dependants I can't claim on my tax return.
Now, on the other hand, if you are so compassionate toward these poor souls then open up your heart and bank account and maybe your home so they can be better off. But don't for one minute think I should embrace your liberal causes because I sure as hell don't.
I worked for my money. These leeches should do the same!
Gordon Shumway
When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both.
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wrote:

literally overnight. 2001 the second quintile was paying a positive (albeit very low) tax rate. In 2002, they weren't. Unless a whole bunch of people got all of a sudden poor, the only other variable is the tax cuts.
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wrote:

It's hard for me to tell what you're trying to prove, so let's look at it from a different direction. Tax quintiles don't tell the story of how people live. Of course when a new law goes into effect, things "change overnight" - especially definitional things, like where certain arbitrary lines are drawn. That's a no-brainer.
But they don't seem to dispute the reality that while the ultra-rich are getting even richer, the poor and the middle class have seen very little gain in their own financial situations. Many cohorts, like the Hispanics, have seen dreadful declines as many lost everything in the foreclosure tidal wave and their skills in the building trades were not needed.
Are you claiming that in the last ten years the average worker has prospered in the same proportion as CEO's of major corporations? That's the point *I* am trying to make. We pay our CEO's outrageous salaries that come from wages that were previously paid to line workers as salary and health benefits.
Every study I have seen says that while average workers have barely kept up with inflation, big earners have seen tremendous upward growth in their income. Stockholders have consistently indicated that those excessive compensation packages should not be approved, but there's really nothing they can do. While they consistently demand that CEO compensation be scaled back and that money invested back into the company, that's not happening because the fix is in, and it's in deep.
<<While 14.3% of all Americans were living in poverty last year, a record 6.3% were in so-called deep poverty, earning less than half the official poverty threshold, or subsistence rate, according to the new data on poverty released last week by the Census Bureau . . . The current level is the highest seen since the Census Bureau started keeping records in 1975. It surpasses the prior peak of 6.2% in 1993, and is nearly double the low point of the series, 3.3% of the population living in deep poverty in 1976.>>
Source: http://www.epi.org/economic_snapshots/entry/the_poor_are_getting_poorer /
"This sizable share of the American population falling below half the poverty line is particularly notable given that even the official poverty threshold - an annual income of $21,954 for a family of four - is widely considered insufficient to pay for life's most basic essentials like food and housing. To fall below half the poverty line, a family of four would have an annual income of less than about $11,000."
http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/a_lost_decade_poverty_and_income_trends says:
<<This morning's release by the U.S. Census Bureau of the 2009 poverty and income data was yet another reminder of the severity of the Great Recession that began in December 2007. The data show that the poverty rate increased from 13.2% in 2008 to 14.3% in 2009, the highest rate since 1994. Furthermore, for the first time on record, the nominal (non-inflation adjusted) income of the median, or typical, household actually fell, from $50,303 in 2008 to $49,777 in 2009. Inflation was negative from 2008 to 2009, dropping by 0.4%, so real (inflation-adjusted) income did slightly better, dropping $335, or -0.7%, from $50,112 in 2008 to $49,777 in 2009.>>
No matter who's in what quintile, the bottom line is that there's a growing (and dangerous) income disparity between our richest and poorest citizens. I know people in their fifties and sixties, willing to work, well-qualified with excellent resumes and references who JUST CAN'T FIND WORK. Is it their fault that Wall Street's once again nearly sank the national economy with uncontrolled over-leveraging? Hell no. They are just the ones that pay the price.
-- Bobby G.
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ea

The tax cuts put in place by the Bush plan resulted in changes where in a whole bunch of people who had to pay tax one year, got money back in taxes a year later. This wasn't because a whole bunch of people got suddenly poor, it was because the changes in tax laws put in place benefited them and not just the rich. Indeed, the biggest cuts, since it is obviously a cut in taxes to nothing and beyond, was in the lowest couple of percentiles. It wasn't just the rich that got the benefits. Tax quintiles are not supposed to tell anything about how people live.. at either end. The definitional changes were changes that benefited people in the lower eschelons of society. Not JUST the rich.

Which again is not a part of tax policy on any level in any known universe. This is, to put it mildly, a whole other discussion.

"outrageous" (a term that is very subjective and gets back to my point that much of tax law is based upon what will make ME happy...) We don't , as I have mentioned, pay out CEOs outrageous salaries. We pay them, ironically enough based on tax law, on stock options and such that largely come from the pockets of the shareholders.

in their advisory votes when pushed by shareholders.
a

Which has accelerated through multiple administrations and Congresses. Interestingly enough, the most recent burst in the differential in total compensation (including not just salary but also the options, etc), started around 1983. This is pretty much when the tax changes I go on and on about came into effect.

This is very much an equal opportunity economic hooha brought about by the combined efforts of business, Congress, local governments, and even the Sainted worker to spend not only every penny they had but every penny they could get their hands on.
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On 08/03/11 04:02 pm, Gordon Shumway wrote:

The rich usually imagine that, if they do not physically rob the poor, they are committing no sin. But the sin of the rich consists in not sharing their wealth with the poor. In fact, the rich person who keeps all his wealth for himself is committing a form of robbery. The reason is that in truth all wealth comes from God, and so belongs to everyone equally. The proof of this is all around us. Look at the succulent fruits which the trees and bushes produce. Look at the fertile soil which yields each year such an abundant harvest. Look at the sweet grapes on the vines, which give us wine to drink. The rich may claim that they own many fields in which fruit and grain grow; but it is God who causes seeds to sprout and mature. The duty of the rich is to share the harvest of their fields with all who work in them and with all in need. (St. John Chrysostom, approx. 349-407)
Perce
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On Thu, 04 Aug 2011 12:15:25 -0400, "Percival P. Cassidy"

You said exactly what I said but in a more biblical way. Those who do not work for their riches do not deserve any. Those who are truly in need can get help from a friend relative or a charity. They have no right to expect help it from everyone.
Gordon Shumway
Vote Democrat, it is easier than working.
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

Heh! Many (MANY) years ago I saw F. Lee Bailey interviewing H.L. Hunt on PBS. (Hunt was a Texas oil geezer who brought his lunch to work every day in a paper bag. The SAME paper bag.)
Bailey asked Hunt a classic "are you still beating your wife" question (paraphrasing):
"Mr Hunt, when one thinks of men of great wealth - the Carnegies, the Mellons, the Fords - one sees that they have taken their wealth to better the world for the common man. They did this by endowing universities, establishing museums and art galleries. Why is it that you've never seen fit to share your largess with those less fortunate?"
Old man Hunt looked at Bailey as if Bailey had just eaten a bug.
"I use my money to give people something more important than a picture to look at. I use my money to give 'em a JOB! And St John Chrysostom can go fuck himself."
(Just kidding on that last)
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<Gordon Shumway> wrote in message wrote:

Mostly, the studies repeatedly prove, they should have been born to better parents.
When stupid people have stupid kids and teach them stupid values, the chain of poverty continues. I say that instead of returning kids to abusive parents or even parents that are unwilling or unable to financially care for them, they be put out for permanent, sealed, no "backsies EVER" adoptions to parents that can. It's pretty common knowledge that kids from "bad" environments thrive just as well as ones from good ones if they are removed from the bad parents and placed in good environments when they are infants.
Instead of buying sick babies from China and Russia, hard-working childless US couples should be able to adopt these ill-cared for children. Until that happens, people with bad values are going to have children with bad values.
I also believe women who take welfare should have to drink a monthly contraceptive with every check. Does that sound like a typical liberal to you, Gordon? And when it's time for them to be paid, they have to come in and pick up and sign for that check in person. If they drive up in a Mercedes, they don't get any money. (-: Almost every US system you can name is rotting from the inside out. They all need thorough review. I am as against welfare fraud as I am against corporate tax fraud. It's time to slice them both up and see what's inside and try to fix those systems along with everything else that's corroded. .

Where did you get your work ethic from? How would your life differ if you had been born to a different, much poorer family? I thank God every day that my soul/consciousness/whatever didn't get put in the body of some Untouchable in India but got put in a body in the richest nation on earth.
How do you now propose to erase bad habits and re-educate people who failed in high school? Your presence here, your ability to write cogent sentences, spell properly, express your ideas well etc. already makes you an elite in our culture. I believe in noblesse oblige in a roundabout way. If I had been born in the slums in NYC or DC, I would not have had a life that mostly was free of financial fear. Some people don't or can't save for a rainy day. But your point is quite valid: Should these grasshoppers be cared for by the hardworking ants? Logic tells us that's not a good situation, but it's where we are heading.
I live in a cluster of homes built during the first years of WWII. Some of the people have been living in these houses since the day they were born. One neighbor, whose late husband worked for a famous and now defunct company, saw his pension and benefits get whittled away year by year. After he died, his widow would get frequent notices about benefit changes (read: reductions) and she would worry herself sick about them.
She's the kind (like Dufas!) that would never sign up for any charity program of any kind but at her age and with bad rheumatoid arthritis, she isn't workforce material anymore. She reverse mortgaged her only real asset, her home, so there's not much equity left there and her property tax skyrocketed after the real estate bubble. For the last few years she's been paying almost one quarter of her modest SSA income in property taxes. She's scrimping along starving herself because she can't bring herself to pay modern grocery prices. Do I begrudge her the money she gets from SSA? No. I believe in government for the common good and not just for the common defense.

Being born into a family that gave you a considerable leg up over most people wasn't your doing, either. It was fate and beyond your control. Therefore it can't be the fault of those people (kids especially) that have the bad luck to be born to poor families. They are all Americans and we should be ashamed at how badly off some people are in this great nation. Should we just pay them off and forget about it? No. That's the current solution and it stinks. There need to be avenues where poor people can bootstrap themselves into a better life. Instead of those avenues growing, they're shrinking.
We need to fix the problem and that's hard work. Sloganeering is much, MUCH easier. If someone's momma smoked meth when she was pregnant with them that baby should be PERMANENTLY adopted out to a working couple, able and willing to support it. Even if the birth mother turns into Mother Teresa afterwards, that baby is NOT going back to her. This way, forty to eighty thousand dollars doesn't leave the country to enrich Chinese criminals and a child gets a chance to learn, thrive, see his parents working and learn to work itself.
But there are too many bleeding hearts out there who believe the birth bond is sacred and will return abused kids to their abusers time and time again until, quite often, they kill them. Just cutting off welfare funds isn't going to have a good long-term outcome. We're not immune to rioting and social disorder and that's what often follows when people can't "get by" with whatever income they have and have no stake in their neighborhood.
There's a great cost to the government and to the taxpayers when large swaths of property are burned down and looted. In the 1930's, there was a profound fear that the US would turn to socialism and undergo a massive redistribution of wealth. Just like we forgot about the Depression and backed ourselves into a second one, we've forgotten the incredible social unrest of that period. Just because we've forgotten doesn't mean we're immune to a repeat of the whole cycle of the Great Depression.

The government makes it very easy to get deductions for charitable giving. I guess we can assume that you are just not a charitable person. That's OK - don't get me wrong. I am not a charitable person either, at least not compared to many of my friends. I would even estimate that statistically speaking, most AHR'ers are DIY'ers, too, and that makes them likely to be pretty parsimonious people as people go.
Gordon, do you have brothers or sisters? Would you lend them money to pay a lawyer if they were arrested in a case of mistaken identity? If your neighbor's kid's appendix burst would you lend his parents any money to help pay the hospital bill?
Do you remember hearing these words once upon a time? "and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
What you seem to forget in your anxious effort to brand all things hateful to you as liberal, that Social Security and Medicare, along with many other "social welfare" programs were voted into existence not by me or any of those damned 'liburals' you hate so much, but by citizens angered at the way Wall Street kicked them to the curb after the first Great Depression. Federal law is basically a record of the horrendous things that the ruthless free-market inflicts on people. Government of the people, BY the people. Not by Wall Street, or Big Business. BY THE PEOPLE.
And it seems that at least a few of those people have forgotten that when banks failed in THAT fiasco, there was no FDIC to bail out depositors. They simply lost everything. The only reasons this recent great unpleasantness hasn't completely collapsed the economy is because of all the government action taken to keep a similar disaster from recurring. That, and all the programs like Social Security that are keeping many people from abject, nearly unsurvivable, poverty.

That's a false choice. There are some things I am sure you take from your government - you ride its roads, rely on its border patrols, enjoy protection from dying by eating poisoned food or medications. While I am sure everyone only wants to pay for what they approve of, government doesn't work that way. I'm quite willing to let the government tax those that have been incredible fortunate and blessed in an effort to make everyone in the US better off. You, obviously, are not.
That's sad because I think you've forgotten, even with the UK riots to remind you, that it's not in any citizen's best interest to have roving gangs of out-of-work, out-of-hope young people torching entire neighborhoods and destroying the wealth that many citizens worked hard to accumulate. It seems that both the US and the UK have decided collectively that it's in society's best interest to put some people on the dole rather than having them turn to crime.
Of course, no one can stop you from having simplistic, cartoonish reasons why people are poor. What was it you said? "Maybe if they had paid a little more attention in school." If you *really* believe that's all it takes I suggest you're not competent to fix a very, very broken system. You seem to take all the advantages you were likely born with for granted. The current system is adept at keeping the poor as poor as possible and the rich as rich as possible.
The poor are still poor not because they didn't pay enough attention in school, it's because they were born into families with poorly educated parents who will most likely not care much about their children's education. Why should they when they didn't care about their own? Getting a college degree is becoming so expensive that even a lot of middle class families can't afford to send their kids anymore. It's almost completely out of reach for the poor.
So how are the poor supposed to be upwardly mobile when a college education is passing out of the reach of even the middle class? Lately employers have been refusing to hire anyone who doesn't already have a job, making it even harder for the poor to climb out of their rut. For your "they should work like I did" theorem to have any chance of succeeding there have to be opportunities to work. I know a lot of college grads still scrambling, unable to find any kind of work that would put them on a real career path. I know of older people who are in far, far worse shape. They're willing to work - there's just no work for them.

Embrace who you want, complain all you want. It makes no difference to me. Unless you get the Congress to act, that's all it is, complaining. You strike me as one of the guys I knew at work who refused to chip in two bucks a month to buy birthday cakes for the various staff birthdays. You're not quite on board with the concept that government doesn't exist only to pay for the things that *you* think they should pay for. I subsidize some things and am, in turn, subsidized in others. It's a gave and take, compromise systems that has now polarized to the point where it cannot function correctly.
This latest Congressional finger-pointing exercise was close to terrorism with a small group of newly elected Reps assuming they had some overwhelming mandate to hold the credit rating of the nation hostage unless their demands were met. Our government is in big trouble when we govern by grandstanding with manufactured crises meant to further polarize the country.

Which leeches have you so worked up? The government has many outflows. They include:
1) Big tax breaks for companies like Exxon 2) Grandpas collecting *less* from Social Security than they paid in 3) People over 55 getting Medicare because private insurers won't write affordable policies 4) Trillions in health care for wounded veterans fighting our trillion dollar wars of choice 5) Social security disability payments to severely retarded children 6) Outright welfare cheats. 7) $20B to Pakistan, the country harboring Osama Bin Laden and loads of Taliban leaders.
There are a lot of things feeding off your tax dollars. You could say the US is *covered* with leeches. Take heart, though. When it's the Shumway States of America, *YOU* will get to decide who feeds off the public teat. Until then we're both stuck with Romper Room, aka the US Congress. If any of them had a sensible plan to fix our broken country, I've not seen it yet.
So, I'm really curious, Gordon, is everyone who takes Social Security, Medicare, unemployment or welfare is a leech? I'd guess that what separates you from a lot of those "leeches" is the simple good fortune to be born without a serious illness to a middle class family that could afford to educate you, instill a decent work ethic in you, etc. Other people are not quite as lucky as you've been.
A long time ago I volunteered as a reading tutor in for ghetto kids in college. I was shocked at how miserably some people live. What I saw still haunts me. Middle class people have virtually no contact with the intractable poor which is why you can dismiss it all with a off-hand comment like "they should have studied harder."
We have mandatory education because society has a vested interest in producing intelligent citizens. They're not YOUR kids, yet you're forced to pay to educate them through high school. Are they leeches, too, Gordon? It's been long ago decided that we are, in some aspects at least, our Brother's Keeper. Study the bankruptcy statistics and you'll find that a very significant number of them occur when someone gets "unlucky" and contracts a terrible disease or suffers a terrible injury only to find out their health insurers have decided not to pay their claims or have rescinded their policy and instead drive them into bankruptcy.
BTW, I tend to believe that my willingness to take infants away *forever* from people who demonstrate they cannot care for them after very few infractions hardly qualifies me as a liberal. I also think had you read closely, you would find I don't even favor government unemployment checks. You get $ only if you do public works or engage in skill retraining or interview for every job that social services sets up. Paying out-of-work people to get depressed and sit around and get high or drink beer is idiotic. Yet it's the way we do things.
I'm for changing things. I'm for hiring hit squads of IRS, SEC, Medicare and Medicaid/Welfare fraud inspectors. Social Security often pays dead people. They pay people who aren't really disabled. We give tax breaks to big companies because we always have, not because we really need to give them help anymore.
There's an army of out-of-work accountants and bookkeepers that could be trained up to help insure that every grudging greenback you're forced to disgorge, Gordon, goes to the truly needy, and not someone who has learned to game the system. That covers everyone from the welfare cheat to the Wall Street "manipulators" to the Ponzi schemers. Government, properly run, can serve as a very efficient "honest broker" keeping businesses from operating in ways that harm society.
-- Bobby G.
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On 8/14/2011 12:27 PM, Robert Green wrote:

Bobby, are you referring to me in your extended diatribe? ^_^
TDD
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wrote:

Is your name Dufas? Then I guess so! FWIW, it was compliment.
-- Bobby G.
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On 8/26/2011 3:18 AM, Robert Green wrote:

Thanks, I actually tried to get SS help but was turned down so I've written it off and decided to work harder at taking care of myself especially after having a major improvement in my health.
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<stuff snipped>

I noticed you hadn't posted in a while.
SS eligibility is complex and self-employed people usually don't have enough "quarters" to qualify. It's part of a system that's badly broken. You should know, however, that SocSec's strategy is to turn EVERYONE down the first time around for any claim. They learned that trick from private insurers. (-: You'd be surprised at how many people just stop after the first denial. I'm betting Kurt knows those figures or at least where to find them. IIRC, they're suprisingly high.
My feeling is that if you paid in at least something, you should get out at least something. When you're in trouble, any money at all is helpful. Anyone who's obviously worked their entire life has helped to build the value of this country even if they didn't pay FICA. For those there is outright welfare - Medicaid and such that many elderly people refuse to take until there's no other option (usually they're so sick that a relative or neighbor has to file for them at that point).
Just like there's a national benefit in "forcing" kids to attend school, there's a more subtle but still tangible national benefit in making sure everyone is at least as free from communicable diseases as we can make them. Yes, there are perplexing parts to that puzzle. Should a self-destructive person with bipolar disorder and no job be treated with tax dollars? I don't know.
I feel it's a benefit to everyone to treat them just in case that person goes on a shooting spree. But morally, it's hazardous ground using tax dollars to try and save people from their own bad behavior. We do it with banks and give them billions so it seems the precedent is there to say: "It stinks, but it's for the greater good." But I still don't like it. I grew up learning the story of the grasshopper and the ant.
That said, I really got steamed when tax money went to pay AIG workers bonuses "because it was in their contract" when any idjit knew that without the bailout money, they wouldn't have a contract, a company, a pension OR a job, much less a bonus coming to them. They knew all they had to do was to wait out the country's indignation and that the press would move on to newer, more popular and pressing stories about Lindsay Lohan and who's winning American Idol. <Ugh> Then they all cashed their bonuses and not one returned them as they once promised to do. What a world.
So what gave you a major health revitalization? Inquiring minds want to know. I'll be needing a medical miracle soon. )-:
-- Bobby G.
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I'll add my congrats to your medical recovery. I'll soon need help with memory stuff ...
--
Best regards
Han
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non-involved party. The SS stats on this are either non-existent or buried under some moniker other than "denial" or refusal. (Same problem I had in other attempts to work things out about MCare. These are the figures from any attorney's website, but interestingly enough, they are also the lowest figures I found during an admittedly short search. Initial claims have a denial rate of approximately 60-70 percent. Reconsiderations (the first step of appeals) are denied at an even higher rate (up to 85%).

you (supposedly) take the risk of a rare occurrence and spread it around a bunch of people. There are indications (for instance from personal experience I had to walk a patient of mine with a 25+ year history of schizophrenia through the entire process to make sure he was still disabled) that the process is somewhat flawed throughout.

much you can own. This "spend down" requirement (and the three year look back for asset transfers) is the major reason this occurs. And this is not new, being in place in some form or another since the getgo.

for the turn down rate) is that it is rife for fraud which gets the bureaucrats in trouble. It is a well established fact of bureaucracies everywhere (from here, to Communist Russia, to the tribal regions of Afghanistan) that it is much safer to say no than yes.

like diabetes is an illness of the pancreas. It is treatable, to a greater or less extent, but it is still an illness. I am very disappointed that your (mostly) enlightened discussions fall far on this particular stigma.

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That sounds similar to what I've heard. You have to get through to an administrative law judge if you're in a category that's anything but vegetative. I used to know more when I helped a neighbor apply for disability about 10 years ago. There seemed to be an endless number of "gotchas" that can kick you out of the process. They've added a lot of bells and whistles in the right direction, like a "Ticket to Work" program that encourages people to try to return to the workforce, but the system is still too slow to help the desperately needy. A lot of people die before their benefits are approved.

People could rightly argue that this is an area that is best served by private insurers and were it not for egregious actors like UNUM, denying that lung cancer victims were disabled, I might tend to agree. As it is, the SS disability payments are so low as to not be livable in many areas without supplemental insurance. One thing I discovered way too late to help my neighbor is that if you elect NOT to have your workplace disability paid from pre-tax dollars, then your disability payments are tax-free. Otherwise they are not. That would have made the difference between my neighbor living comfortably vs. scrimping along.

Yes, I should have mentioned that it's a "back to the wall resource" that is extensively means-tested as opposed to SS disability insurance which is paid out according to a schedule that involves your work history, a palette of assorted "fixed injury payouts" like an extra $500 (probably more now) per month if you're blind. Ironically, in the three years it took to get her approved, she became legally blind because of macular degeneration and she basically had to reprove all her medical conditions from scratch again.

I know it is, but people believe disabled means obviously physically distressed and that anyone not missing a limb or two is a shirker.

Yes. At the time I was applying for my neighbor's congestive heart failure, I was reading about CFS and fibromyalgia and insurers refusing to recognize legit cases because it was pretty easy to feign. IIRC, now there are PET scanners that show people with "fibro" at least have a lot more pain neurons firing away in their brains in response to an injury than normal people do.

You're right, I screwed the pooch on this. Sorry. No excuse other than it was early in the morning when I wrote that and my brain wasn't fully engaged. I meant to segue into drug and alcohol abuses as "bad behaviors" but never got that far. It's especially embarrassing because I believe that certain people are wired so that drugs and alcohol are immense problems for them whereas other people have some sort of immunity. Studies show that taking some drugs even one time can create permanent (and bad) changes in the brain's neurons and synapses. In fact I just read a study that talked about the process of "patch-clamping" to record ion-channel cell changes that were caused by exposing cells to various drugs of abuse. I'll try to do better because I really do know better. <sigh>

Dufas mentioned that he had a major health improvement. Well, I *think* he did! I was asking him what miracle cure he took so I could order some. Obviously I am not being anywhere near as cogent as I think I am. That's one of two things that really scare me. Will I know when it's finally "game over" and will I get to a point where I don't recognize my wife? I hate the idea of her taking care of me when I don't even know who she is. It doesn't seem fair to her.
I've been on an experimental protocol for my short term memory loss (one of the good things about living near NIH) but I ended up with a bad skin reaction - and I mean really bad. I learned from my dermatologist that people can and have scratched hard enough in their sleep to reach the underlying bone. I didn't get quite that far, but I got pretty close, waking up one day like that horse-head scene from the Godfather. I now know what "dermatoses" means and what psoriasis suffers must endure. Hence the need for a miracle.
They put me on steroids to quell the outbreaks but they were insufficient and so I had to drop out. I was seeing what I thought was real improvement although my wife is more skeptical saying that she's noticing more 1,000 yard stares than ever. The odd thing is that *I* don't notice them, at least not until I see her waving her hands in front of my eyes and asking "Are you there?" It's not like daydreaming at all. It's just like going into "neutral" and coasting along. There's another study with a different drug that may induce new neuron growth (neurogenesis) coming up in a few months I may be eligible for. It's a least nice to know that there's a lot of research occurring involving the problem.
The worst part about short term memory loss so far is not being able to remember whether I did something or just thought about doing it. In today's case, it was "did I mail the property tax payment or not?" Turns out I didn't but would have bet $50 that I did! If it weren't for the little reply arrows in OE, I would be replying to the same messages over and over again. It also seems to have a monthly cycle to it, leading me to conclude that the term "loony" probably is related to "lunar" and perhaps there's a small tidal effect in the brain that leads to problems when the moon is full. I know that studies have refuted the claims that ERs fill during full moons, but that doesn't mean there isn't some link.
-- Bobby G.
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maybe 10 years or so, where the DOCs started to believe in those two. I really can't fault Insurance companies for refusing to cover things even many doctors (including the Rheumatologists who would be treating these people) did not think was real. a.

Yeah. There has long been a well-established heridiatry link in alcoholism which was later backed up by studies showing those with a family history of alcoholism often process the alcohol differently from those who don't. I have a close friend whose family is a great example of this. He is about the only person in three generations to live past 60 and he is approaching 80. Out of dad, four brothers and a sister he was the only who did not succumb to the drink. Largely, to my mind anyway, because he married a Southern Baptist woman who kept him away from ANY alcohol exposure (grin). Of his kids, one was a drinker until he went cold turkey 10 years ago following jail time for his second DUI.

That was my bad. I did not realize that you had segued back from the general to the specific.

--
People thought cybersex was a safe alternative,
until patients started presenting with sexually
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On 8/27/2011 7:20 AM, Robert Green wrote:

I went to the emergency room at the university hospital with pneumonia Easter Sunday rather than the county hospital where I'd been turned away. The folks were wonderful and a young doctor was freaked thinking they were going to have to amputate my right leg. I'd been so ill that I'd been unable to change the bandage so it smelled pretty bad. No skin on my lower leg due to venous stasis but I've dealt with it for years. I was on intravenous antibiotics for several days and improved so they sent me home. I just couldn't seem to get better then one day my right leg swelled up and the swelling which was less in my left leg started moving up to my butt and stomach until I looked like I was wearing clown pants. I also had fluid in my lungs making it impossible to breath. After weeks of this I started looking into diuretics and asked my roommate what he'd been given for high blood pressure. I got a few of his pills which were composed of HCTZ and Lisinopril, a diuretic and a vasodilator. When I took it I immediately started to improve so I got on the phone with a physician friend who prescribed two separate pills with the HCTZ and Lisinopril. We discussed dosing and adjusting it as I went along so doubling the diuretic for a week and dropping back after the first week resulted in me losing 60lbs in a month and ridding my lungs of fluid. My pulse rate and blood pressure are in a normal range now and I can touch my toes without passing out. I'm 100% better but I'm still not 100% because of weakness. I don't bounce back like I did 40 years ago so it will take some time. The circulation in my legs has also improved to the point where the lesions are healing and not draining very much. I just have to keep on truckin. :-)
TDD
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Robert Green wrote:

You are correct. One can only eat a single steak at a time. On the other hand, the more money you take away from the wealthy, the harder it is for the poor to find a job.

Yep. I've heard the difference between an intelligent person and a fool is that the intelligent person is willing to forgo immediate satisfaction for a long-term, greater, good. Further, I'll wager that those who walked away did so in designer shoes.
And ALL the tax breaks available to the wealthy are available to the less wealthy.
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