Note to readers: Someone in comments below mentioned the widely misunderstood Social Security Trust Fund. I am somewhat a wonk, and have written about such matters. (I realize that issues of aging have limited appeal, which is why I asked the younger Fauxlex aboard, to write about issues with broader appeal.) Rather than rewrite the piece on the Trust Fund, I am simply re-dating it. If all goes according to plan, it should appear below with the original comment thread intact. From 6/26/2018:
The above image is making the rounds on Facebook. Later in this post I will talk about the so-called “Social Security Trust Fund” and how it never was and never will be. For now I want to thank my friend Kevin for putting up his post directly below called A Crashing Success, as it offers an easy and early escape from this post about (cue violin screech) … taxes!!!
Go now, quickly, or prepare to be flooded with the conceptual abstractions that are used to justify the theft of our hard-earned money. The words “hard-earned” are important, as there are other forms of wealth that are easily owned by people who by pure chance slid down the right birth canals – trust funds, stocks and bonds, inherited wealth and Cayman bank accounts. The essential feature of taxation is that hard-earned money is heavily taxed, while the birth-canal funds are only lightly touched, if at all, by the IRS.
So journey with me now beneath the fold, or make your escape. The particular tax I am going to write about has a name you might know, one that sounds like a disease or the claw of a wild beast. It is called … “FICA.” From that word springs the myth of something called a “Trust Fund.”
We senior citizens are noted for two things, diminishing physical and mental abilities. We cannot do much about the former except exercise, what I call “running from Father Time.” It is loss of mental capacity that keeps the advertising industry interested in us. Senior citizens have to be the reason for the waves of robocalls that are torturing all of us. They only need a <1% response to make money, given their low overhead. Shame on us! We are the reason your phone is always ringing.
Every year, during a 45-day period known as “open enrollment” (OE), we seniors are deluged with mailings from members of AHIP, “American’s Health Insurance Providers,” trying to lure us into a program called “Medicare Advantage.” I bit, one time, but was able to escape the grips of Humana by complaining directly to Medicare about its deceitful practices. I re-entered Medicare last June. I now ask myself this: “I spent the first 65 years of my life trying to get away from health insurance companies. Why would I voluntarily go back to them?”
The answer, of course, is diminished mental capacity.
Some time ago, when I was a Montana resident, a certain State Senator went after Governor Brian Schweitzer in a most undignified manner, engaging in what appeared to many to be a drunken rant on the floor of the Senate. The man, Mike Lange, was also a candidate for governor, but that did not play out well for him. I will never forget Schweitzer’s response to the rant: “I never judge a man when he is at his worst.” Classic putdown.
Our own Mark Tokarski has been the victim of a slanderous and completely unwarranted attack out of the blue recently by a certain Taos-based blog site. You know the one. The paper called Mark a “scumbag agent”. I write this not as a formal response, but rather as an olive branch specifically intended for the man in Taos. There are very few reasonable explanations for the web of oddities surrounding this man and his background, and one of the best explanations would indicate that the man in Taos is currently in trouble. Stay with me here.
I was out birding with a group of folks on Saturday, out on the South Platte River northeast of Denver. In terms of quacks seen, it was a spectacular day, with thousands of birds covering fourteen species along with bald eagles, hawks, cormorants and herons. And smaller stuff. It helps that a major waste treatment plant dumps its final product in the Platte upstream … it both warms the water and adds nutrients. The vast majority of ducks we saw were Northern Shovelers, known to like brackish water.
Such a day makes up for my weak outing on the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, where a friend and I walked for several hours through woods, not seeing one bird. At the outset we saw two crows flying high overhead, and I reported them only to be told they were ravens.
“So,” I told our group leader, “I saw two birds this afternoon, and got them both wrong.”
This post could just as easily be called “Tastes are Personal, Dontcha Know?” It is about comedy and comedians. We all have our favorites, and I will list just a few of mine.
Dennis Miller: Even when I was very liberal, I enjoyed this man. His humor is biting, and extremely clever. Talking about service animals on airplanes, and how carried away (so to speak ) it has gotten, he mentioned a seatmate on an overseas flight, and her “therapeutic puff adder.” He said that Hillary’s campaign was “shakier than a blood bank at a Greyhound Depot.” Something like that, things that would never cross my mind, that catch me by surprise, and make me laugh out loud.