Think the Fed Financial Crisis Doesn’t Affect You?

It’s easy to get lost in all of the rhetoric coming out of Congress and the White House these days. For years, we’ve Wrong Way Signseen nothing but a series of lies, mistruths, selfish mindsets and ulterior motives. All the while, we’ve been forced to sit back and watch it unfold. Amidst all of this, there are the debt ceiling crises that have taken over mainstream media from time to time, only to fade into the darkness when a new and better “breaking news” story hits. Now, as yet another deadline looms, which really is just proof that the elected folks have drastically failed yet again, the repercussions are many. Don’t allow yourself to become indifferent because it seems so familiar. There’s a lot at stake.

Medicare and Social Security

This is a double whammy for seniors and the elderly. For around 70% of Medicare recipients, they’re protected from an increase in their Part B premiums. Part B is the portion of Medicare that oversees doctors and hospital payments. They’re protected because they are not receiving a cost of living adjustment – also known as COLA – from Social Security. Since there’s been no inflation, there are no increases for recipients. The law doesn’t allow Medicare premium increases if there are no COLA increases.

That still leaves 30% of Medicare beneficiaries who will shoulder 100% of the Part B premium increases. That equates to about 7 million seniors and elders. Now, we all know Congress can halt this, but we also know their track record. Couple this with everything else that’s going on: 2016 race to the White House, the absence of a speaker of the house and the general bickering they’re known for, and it becomes worrisome. Oh, and did I mention the deadline is November 2nd?

Remember: they could have prevented this – in fact, they PROMISED we’d not run up to another deadline the last time they run us up to a deadline. This could have been avoided. If you’re wondering what the Obama Administration is saying, you’ll appreciate this: “We share the goal of keeping Medicare’s premiums affordable, are exploring all options, and appreciate the interest and ideas of members of Congress,” said White House spokeswoman Katie Hill.

Shared goals and appreciated ideas. Great.

For those who are facing this 52% premium hike, it equates to around $60 each month. Currently the premiums are around $104.50. They will increase to 159.00 each month.

Who’s at risk?

  • New Medicare applicants in 2016
  • Medicare recipients with incomes over $85,000 or if they’re married, $170,000
  • Low-income income people whose Medicare premiums are paid by state Medicaid programs
  • Medicare recipients who don’t receive Social Security

Even if you’re still working – even if you’re in your 20s, these are the types of problems where Band Aids are applied and by the time you prepare for retirement, you’ll remember decades earlier when no one was willing to do the right thing. Odds are, all of us – no matter our age – have loved ones who will be affected today and tomorrow and next week. This matters to all of us.

Keep in mind a few more things that should provide a bit of perspective as well:

New numbers suggest a full 2/3 of Americans have absolutely no retirement savings. That’s huge…mostly because it’s a far bigger problem than anyone anticipated. Remember the MyRA retirement program Obama introduced last year? Not a single state has implemented it. Not one.

We’re working in the belief that employment is sound. The numbers have been so twisted for so long that it’s actually laughable. More companies are talking (and in fact are already in the process) of layoffs. These higher numbers aren’t all being reported as they should because they’re being referred to as furloughs and not layoffs, so the government isn’t taking them into consideration.

Our stock market is just as laughable. This has become nothing but a heavily modified “ideal” that has no degree of truth at all. Do you realize our financial sector is being determined by a Fed that can’t figure out how it backed itself into a corner, a global economy that’s worse than our own, but doesn’t realize it and backdoor deals and dynamics created to save taxes, keep more dividends and shift and change with very little regulation? Folks are getting rich. I’d say there are about 100 people benefitting from the shady practices built on non-existent foundations. When these strange business structures finally crash and burn – and they will, the taxpayer will be the one to cover those costs. And we will. But right now, we have a bigger crisis on our hands. Our senior citizens need to eat and have access to their medications.

Advertisements

NYPD Scandal Set to Erupt

There’s a new scandal about to erupt with the New York Police Department and it promises to be one “that the city has not felt in decades”. A long running investigation has resulted in thousands of recorded phone calls that have many New York City police boroughs very concerned. These concerns are warranted, if reports are true. It could also mean New York City’s financial woes are about to get worse if the city must hire hundreds of new police officers and then shoulder the costs to properly train them.

The scandal involves a ticket fixing racket that goes as far back as late 2007 and it’s believed ten current law officers will be arrested while others put those numbers closer to thirty in the first sweep. Fox News reported the number in that initial sweep could actually be closer to 400 law enforcement officers. It’s believed many of those in the federal crosshairs include officers that are closely intertwined with New York City’s Patrolman’s Benevolent Association and some sources are going so far as to say there are officers who’ve been with the department for years and are now very concerned that their retirement and pensions could be jeopardized. It’s also been leaked that close to two dozen officers who were, up until recently, planning their retirements but who now must put those plans on hold. Those retirement plans will not be approved until the investigation and any subsequent legal events are concluded. There’s more at stake, though. It’s a criminal investigation, meaning some could be facing criminal charges. Among the words being whispered include bribery, perjury and tampering with official records.

Most recently, every borough has been warned to prepare for what’s being called a “massive case”. Currently, that “massive case” is being maintained in a Bronx district attorney’s office, but is expected to begin trickling down to other district attorneys.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is watching this case closely, especially considering warnings of several hundred police officers facing some type of internal disciplinary action. Many of these cases will first be put before a grand jury and depending on the outcome, if they are no-billed, Internal Affairs will take over and oversee any internal measures that are applicable. It’s believed the case has been ongoing for more than a year.

The investigation was initially triggered when undercover cops had tapped phones in one neighborhood as part of a drug case they were investigating. A barber shop owner was recorded in a conversation with his son, who’s an NYPD officer, and was heard asking him if he can “fix” a ticket. The district attorney in the Bronx, Robert Johnson, was notified and before long, evidence was being collected on a daily basis. Some officers agreed to make their friends’ tickets “go away”, but demanded money to do so. Other city cops agreed to not appear in court, which meant an instant dismissal of the charges against the defendant. Other times, officers simply transposed numbers when they entered licensing and tag information into the system. This meant, of course, the error would result in the city not being able to move forward and collect the fines.

But why now? After all, cops in cities across the nation are often extended a degree of latitude and can often do a favor for a family member or friend. It’s just unheard of for this high number of tickets to just disappear. There’s been no word yet on how much these favors have cost the city in lost revenue, but if this plays out the way many are hinting, it could mean a major toll on the city.  Where’s Lennie Briscoe and Jack McCoy when you need them?