This video, on youtube and elsewhere, has over 22 million views. I cannot find it anywhere on mainstream websites. Anyone out there with a link to a non-partisan review of his analysis? My conservative contacts are all over it. Here's the blurb from Google searches: "This is a non-partisan video produced by an accountant, Hal Mason, retired after 27 years with IBM. He looks at the budget, its revenues and expenses, and very simply illustrates the problem. Amazingly, we get all the media talking heads blathering and shouting for hours and never get clarity. This guy does it in a couple minutes."
Reading this morning’s post, "Florida newspapers: Romney is in big, big trouble" by Billionaires for Wealthcare, the bit about how Chuck Todd operates caught my eye. I went over to MSNBC to find video and saw him on Morning Joe, re Medicare.
Chuck, on the off-chance you read this, would you back up a few feet? I know you and Joe Scarborough love inside-baseball politics, but you can still get that tingly feeling from the thrill of the game or whatever while advancing useful talking points. It might catch on and truly help versus just adding more noise. Here’s the thing:
On Morning Joe, Scarborough and Todd agreed that the general public does not understand how broke Medicare and Medicaid are. They agree how these two programs will consume the entire budget. Chuck said that people need to be made to understand this. Joe said every legislator gets it. So what’s the hang up?
Joe, Chuck, the hang up is that Republicans won’t touch taxes/increase revenue or regulate health care or the financial industry. And I love how you threw in that no one wants to start with the basics: raise the enrollment age and implement means testing. You know as well as I do that means testing costs money. It’s expensive to implement, too. I’ll go back and check the video but I’m pretty sure you both dismissed it like it was no big thing. Like means testing wouldn’t eliminate any (Republican) voters, either.
The deal isn’t that people don’t “get” the seriousness of the situation; the deal is that people don’t see Republicans working in good faith. Medicare and Medicaid are not in a vacuum. You boys should take some baby steps and start talking about how we WILL be screwed if revenue and regulation aren’t addressed. Trust me, you can still have that political junkie fix even if you round out the discussion.
Here's the good news: at the food pantry where I work, we strive to offer a grocery shopping experience with no stigma. Small children don't even realize they are not in a pantry as their parents walk through aisles and select items themselves. We beat the bushes for donations and buy carefully. Our volunteers are trained to be respectful and treat everyone with dignity. We don't turn anyone away. We offer on-site programs with other organizations and agencies so clients don't have to use up gas and time or reinvent the wheel to get a leg up. Here's the bad news: unemployed and underemployed clients really just want a job. A job. And there aren't near enough. And nothing is on the horizon, either. The last graph and last sentence in "A Ticking Time Bomb: The Arab Spring and America's Lost Generation" is gut wrenching: http://www.newdeal20.org/...
You already know why to give but here's how:
Food banks and most pantries are non-profits. They can buy food and groceries (personal hygiene, toilet paper) tax-free and usually get a much bigger bang for the buck than we can. Cash donations are most helpful. Also, contact banks and pantries to find out what they need most - not what you have in your pantry that you're not eating.
In case you didn’t know, September is Hunger Action Month. Timely. Demand has grown dramatically over the last four Septembers. Unfortunately, summer months are hard on food banks and pantries because many donors take a break and don’t think about need until the warm fuzzies come out again for Thanksgiving and into December. Add the fact that USDA commodities for distribution by pantries have been cut substantially (misguided budget cuts). Stock is low just when demand continues to grow at a relentless pace. It’s a very scary thing for young families and seniors when donations run out and their last hope has to shut down until more food can be stocked. Even well funded food banks and pantries are scrambling big time. This is the warning bell. Well funded banks and pantries are scrambling and we haven’t even gotten near November. You can help – and you’d better. The cavalry isn’t coming. Thank you in advance. Visit Hunger Action Month.
I received a comment on my first submission that suggested I elaborate what I know about local food insecurity issues. Well, dag, that's not why I visit DailyKos. I visit to get away from my job and read up on other issues. After some mulling, I decided to write a few things that pertain to people struggling after a job loss and/or working but not earning enough to make it. Respectfully, this post relates to self-image. Some background:
Years ago, I was in line at the unemployment office. With my infant son tucked in my winter coat, waiting for the doors to open. Numb with disbelief that I brought my baby to such a place. I've washed clothes in the bathtub because I didn't have laundry mat change. Picture pants rolled up and stomping grapes. I've woken up in the middle of the night; sure I was having a heart attack. I've said the most God awful things to my spouse. Fear-drenched streams of consciousness followed by the knowledge that I crossed yet another line I smugly thought earlier I’d never cross. I've lied. Told people I was working somewhere vague or working a project. All the while feeling the truth literally come through the pores on my face. I learned the hard way that long-time friends and relations believe to the core of their beings that people who struggle must be bad. And that people who have money and straight teeth with sparkling eye glass lenses are inherently good and control their own destinies.
Awhile back I had a job where I visited clients in their homes regarding childhood nutrition education. Inside their homes. No veneers. I’ve seen chronic, grinding poverty that I could not believe with my own eyes. Within spitting distance of middle and upper income neighborhoods – city, suburban and rural. I’ve been on a military base and inside crumbling housing for enlisted families. Having driven by markedly different officer housing to get there. I understand how important manners and kindness are on both sides of the equation.
It's been several years since I got thrown in the deep end of the unemployment pool, but the basics are true today. Like so many, I had never been in such a situation before and was shocked at how overwhelming the effort is to seek even temporary help. I, too, wasn't familiar with the system. Now, I’ll grant you that the system today is more taxed by demand and strained by cuts. Try to be patient in line and on the phone. Don’t shoot the messenger. Know that many people working in agencies and government offices are really trying to do what they can for you.
Look people in the eye, don’t look down. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. I remember when the economy started to really tank in 2007, a woman called the pantry from her car in the parking lot. Literally shaking and trying to screw up enough courage to walk in as a client and say the words, “I need help.” She asked me if I would come outside to meet her. Looking all over nearby desks, I spotted a big red plastic flower and grabbed it, holding it down by my side. I told her I wasn’t trying to be silly but that I’d be the one at the edge of the parking lot with a red flower. Well, it was a bit silly. Find ways to laugh out loud. Seriously, exercise. Even if it’s only running out of a room so you don’t explode on someone. You are worth it. Your family is worth it.
I have never regretted making a fool of myself for inquiring or offering assistance and being rebuffed. I have always, without fail, regretted the times I hesitated and did not offer.
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