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Most Baby Boomers and senior citizens are living on fixed incomes, many far below what any reasonable person needs to survive in today’s world. They can barely cover food and living requirements, let alone things like travel, clothing and even a little entertainment for themselves. They worked hard all their lives to build up this system, and young people still have a long way to go. It’s time society helped our senior citizens and gave them real benefits including ending the practice of taxing their Social Security
By Ray Hanania
Government needs to change the way they treat senior citizens and baby boomers. Because under this country’s system, they are being abused.
Government must re-define poverty, eliminate taxes for seniors, make healthcare totally free for seniors (or simplify Medicare and make it what it was intended to be), and encourage seniors to keep working at a lower tax rate.
Seniors should start withholding their votes to force government and our so-called senior agencies like AARP to do what we want not what the lobbyists want. Here’s my list of what must be done.
State and Federal Government should end the practice of taxing Social Security. Although the average income of seniors is $35,600, the majority makes more. Government taxes Social Security income when you exceed $22,000 for a single person or $32,000 for a joint return.
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Who can live on $22,000 a year or $32,000 as a couple? Seriously. It’s not possible. When government taxes 85 percent of that income, they are punishing seniors.
That needs to stop. Seniors should be allowed to not only collect Social Security untaxed, but they should also be allowed to continue working and only be taxed on their work income, at a lower tax rate.
Seniors only represent about 16 percent of the nation’s population, but they impose the biggest burden because most are afraid to work believing if they do, they will lose income and have to pay taxes. If they worked, they would be less of a burden, would spend more and actually help the economy improve.
Make the uncaring, irresponsible younger people pay a higher tax to cover the difference. They don’t want healthcare, for example, that’s their problem.
Seniors should be given totally free healthcare services and not be required to pay for doctor visits, basic medical treatment outside of the hospital and most importantly, they shouldn’t have to pay for prescriptions.
That’s the easy alternative to fixing the broken and incomprehensible Medicare system, because the Medicare system today is a scam that doesn’t work.
The Medicare system is so complex and difficult to understand that you literally need a graduate degree in “government scam sciences.”
The deadlines, the different insurance plans and the unmonitored business vultures who prey on seniors offering scam systems are horrific. The system isn’t meant to easily help provide hospitalization or doctor and prescription benefits to seniors. It’s designed to make money for insurance companies. That needs to stop.
The pharmaceutical companies are the worst. Eliminate the doughnut hole. Immediately. How does our society allow the pharmaceutical companies to rip-off the elderly?
The Federal Government also needs to change the figures they use to evaluate society. For example, no one in this country can live making under $50,000. Anyone making under $50,000 should be considered living in poverty and they should qualify for public aid, food stamps and more.
Property taxes should be automatically suspended for senior citizens, too. And government officials who implement obstacles to prevent seniors from receiving these benefits should be jailed. That includes those in Illinois who eliminated annual notices reminding seniors to requiring seniors to apply for vehicle stickers, licenses and exemptions.
I spent most of my life not realizing how difficult it is for seniors to live. When I was young, I took care of my mother but never realized how social security and senior services were so ineffective and basically worthless in helping her live.
It’s pathetic how this country makes seniors suffer with complicated laws that even the lawyers can’t understand. They’re over-taxed, under-served, and deserve far better than how we treat them!
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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