Tag Archive | living

Come Join the Dance

BBC-Radio-Orchestra-April-1971-The band struck up a joyful tune
With beat lively and fast;
“Come join in, the host proclaim,”
“We’ll party and have a blast!”

But some of the guests ignored his words;
Others just stood around.
A few joined in the circle;
Many were by fear so bound.

 

The band played a more gentle tune,
A melody subdued,
Which made some guests begin to sway
With a quiet attitude.

 

The ones who liked the faster beat
Sighed and wandered away,
While some talked over the music,
Touting what they had to say.

 

At last the band began to play
A song with depth of heart.
No one could resist its sound,
So they stopped drifting apart.

 

As the people heard the music
Speak to their very souls,
They joined together in one dance
That began to make them whole.

 

So may the band play on and on
Until there’s joy and peace;
Until all people everywhere
Live in hope that will increase.

 

Powerful People

As Mr. Trump debates whether he will keep the US in the Paris Accord, I have this thought:

We are powerful people.
We can choose for ourselves:
Will we give in to control?
Or will we stand on our own?

We can decide what is right;
No one ever does that for us.
Thoughts, feelings, actions, words
Are always results of our own choices.

Stand tall, powerful people!
Think, choose and live;
Never sell out or give in;
Own what you say, do and believe.

Let’s Do Some Math

There is a whole group of people in the world who work very hard…

And still live in poverty or in “near poverty.”

 

I’m writing to recognize and honor them.

They are almost never acknowledged when the powers that be talk about poverty and programs that help, so join me for a moment to consider them.

Many of these people get SNAP benefits and Medicaid…legitimately.

Many of them work at least two jobs, just to make ends meet.

 

They do things like:

Housekeeping at hotels, hospitals, resorts and malls

Pumping gas

Working in stores and restaurants

Care giving

 

They work for minimum wage.

Below is a link to show what the minimum wage in each State is.  Another good question to ask would be, “What is the cost of living in each State?”  That would paint a more thorough picture.

Just for kicks, let’s do some arithmetic here:

If John works 40 hours per week at $7.25/hour (the Federal minimum wage, what will his gross income be? Answer: $1290.50.  Now, take away about 30% of that…(that would be $387.15)  The final result: 903.35

That would be impossible to live on if John is an individual.  He might get a few dollars from SNAP; if his employer isn’t providing insurance, he would get a break under the ACA.  And so it goes.

Now, what if he has at least one child?

Hopefully, he is in subsidized housing; he definitely would get SNAP; Medicaid or help with insurance would be part of his support…

 

Even if John supplemented his full-time job with say another 15-20 hours (he does have to sleep sometime) he would be below the poverty line.  And nothing unexpected had better come up:  He won’t make it; he might even join the many homeless people in the land.

 

BTW:  Many homeless people work.  The challenge is, the cost of living is so high, they can’t get out of the financial hole.

 

https://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm

 

Think of the people you know personally who work long and hard, only to struggle.  I am not talking about the ones who manage their resources poorly or refuse to work when they could.  They get too much attention as it is.

 

I know some:

Educational assistants – I have a neighbor who is doing that.  If she had to support herself, she would need a second job or some subsidies.

 

Fast food workers – Again, if there is a way to share expenses, maybe.

We need these people.  We need what they do.

Thank you, all who clean the motel room before I arrive, so that it is fresh, well supplied and clean.

Thank you, stockers at the grocery store, servers at restaurants and workers who make sure that the sheets on beds in hospitals and care centers are clean.

 

The next time you find yourself in a conversation about “the poor,” would you remind all involved that these are people…and countless numbers of them work?

Thank you.

Holes in the Safety Net

These are excerpts from an article in the Washington Post.  The url is at the bottom of my post, in case you want to read it in its entirety.  Meanwhile, I have some thoughts:

“President Trump’s first major budget proposal on Tuesday will include massive cuts to Medicaid and call for changes to anti-poverty programs that would
give states new power to limit a range of benefits, people familiar with the planning said, despite growing unease in Congress about cutting the safety
net.

For Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides health care to low-income Americans, Trump’s budget plan would follow through on a bill passed by
House Republicans to cut more than $800 billion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this could cut off Medicaid benefits
for about 10 million people over the next decade.”
*****
In spite of negative imagery that paints a picture of people on Welfare and Medicaid as “moochers” and “manipulators,”  The reality is, the vast majority of people receiving these benefits are there legitimately.  Many of them are very ill or disabled.  Moreover, these programs are monitored on a regular basis, making it very difficult to misuse the system.  Anybody caught doing so can be charged with Welfare fraud.
***

“The White House also will call for giving states more flexibility to impose work requirements for people in different kinds of anti-poverty programs, people
familiar with the budget plan said, potentially leading to a flood of changes in states led by conservative governors. Many anti-poverty programs have
elements that are run by both the states and federal government, and a federal order allowing states to stiffen work requirements “for able-bodied Americans”
could have a broad impact in terms of limiting who can access anti-poverty payments — and for how long.”

****
People receiving benefits in many States are already required to “work toward work.”  In my State, for example, anyone who doesn’t have a disability must take part in a jobs program designed to get them into the work force, starting with volunteer work if appropriate.  It is obvious that a rather large group of people don’t know this.  They assume that those on Welfare are whiling away their days while they collect benefits.  Again, the truth:  The days of sitting home and collecting a Welfare check until your youngest child turns 18 are long over and past.
***

“Trump’s decision to include the Medicaid cuts is significant because it shows he is rejecting calls from a number of Senate Republicans not to reverse
the expansion of Medicaid that President Barack Obama achieved as part of the Affordable Care Act. The House has voted to cut the Medicaid funding, but
Senate Republicans have signaled they are likely to start from scratch.”

***
Dear senators:  Our hope lies with you at this point.
One colossal advantage of the Medicaid extension was that small towns could afford to have a medical clinic.  This allows their citizens to receive care in a timely, healthy way in a non acute setting.  They can now have preventative services and important monitoring without driving at least 200 miles, in some cases, to see a doctor or go to the hospital.  This means better care at far less cost per patient.  This also impacts whole communities; not just individuals.
***

“Trump offered a streamlined version of the budget plan in March, but it dealt only with the 30 percent of government spending that is appropriated each
year. In that budget, he sought a big increase in military and border spending combined with major cuts to housing, environmental protection, foreign aid,
research and development.”

***
Do you have a problem with Mr. Trump’s priorities?  I do.
***
“But Tuesday’s budget will be more significant, because it will seek changes to entitlements — programs that are essentially on auto­pilot and don’t need
annual authorization from Congress. The people describing the proposals spoke on the condition of anonymity because the budget had not been released publicly and the White House is closely guarding details.”
****
This is significant because it forces these programs to compete for funding, along with everything else.  Imagine that you rely on subsidies for food, housing, basic living expenses and medical care.  Now think about how secure your living situation will be if that funding is subject to whatever party has the majority and the mood of the nation.  Basics are necessary if people are to have the time and energy to improve their lives…including the development of job skills and the procurement of employment.
***
Programs in danger include:
Medicaid
SNAP (The modern version of food stamps)
Habitat for Humanity (which, by the way, includes some “sweat equity” on the part of the people getting the house.)
subsidized school lunches (Children learn better when they are not hungry…just a thought.)
“The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates the federal response to homelessness
across 19 federal agencies.”

“Trump has instructed his budget director, former South Carolina congressman Mick Mulvaney, that he does not want cuts to Medicare and Social Security’s
retirement program in this budget, Mulvaney recently said, but the plan may call for changes to Social Security Disability Insurance, seeking ideas for
ways to move people who are able out of this program and back into the workforce.”
***
Social Security already conducts regular evaluations to determine the ability of beneficiaries.  They also offer assistance, such as the PASS Plan (Plan to Achieve Self Sufficiency) so that anyone who is able can become employed.  It is a grave misconception that people are lazily hanging out on Social Security Disability.  Moreover, SSDI is based on a person’s work history:  He or she has paid into the system, at least a little bit.
One more thing:  There are strict criteria for who is eligible or not, to the point that some people who truly would benefit from SSDI are not enrolled.
Mr. Trump really doesn’t know what he is talking about when it comes to Social Security Disability Insurance.

I do have to say, it’s appalling to me that the ones making these decisions have absolutely NO idea about what these programs are, who benefits and what their lives are like, especially Mr. Trump, who is so isolated from the real world.

I think every congressperson, senator and president should have to live for one year on the amount of money that people in poverty relief programs receive, in the same neighborhoods and with the same level of care.  They might…possibly, maybe, I hope…find some compassion.

One more thing:  This “safety net” affects everybody from the poorest to the wealthiest among us, whether people recognize that or not.

There are more points on which to comment.  If you want to read the article, here it is:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/trump-to-propose-big-cuts-to-safety-net-in-new-budget-this-week/2017/05/21/62c01f44-3e34-11e7-adba-394ee67a7582_story.html

Writer’s Block

It seems  that there are so many fresh thoughts and ideas coming into my head;
So much new information:  News items, results of studies and research…
Yet the things that are solid enough to put on paper – or computer – seem old and stale.

The new things are like trying to catch clouds
Or hold the current of a river still long enough to be examined and described.
Does it always have to be that the newborns of life are soft and pliable?
But then, that is part of their loveliness.

Hopes, dreams, possibilities:
All like children yet to be conceived!
O that I will be able to hold some long enough to write about them!

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Don’t Give Your Power Away

I have been reading headlines about the increase of calls to crisis centers and all of the fear people have because Donald Trump got elected.  I myself was stunned and distressed when I woke up to that news last Wednesday.  I still find it quite dismaying.

 

The thought that helped me was, “You know, I’ll go to bed tonight, get up tomorrow, eat breakfast and get on with my day…”

 

Here is my poetic way to encourage anybody in the world who might find this helpful:

 

People get elected;
New policies made;
Whatever you do,
Don’t give your power away!

 

Promises and comments;
Plans that seem to fade;
Whatever you do,
Don’t give your power away!

 

Pressures and challenges;
Provocations stay;
Whatever you do,
Don’t give your power away!

 

Hear the truth I’m sharing;
You still have a say:
Whatever you do,
Don’t give your power away!

 

You go to bed each night;
Get up every day;
Whatever you do,
Don’t give your power away!

 

You’re still a whole person,
So don’t be afraid;
Whatever you do,
Don’t give your power away!

WHEN RAIN COMES

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Sometimes rain comes softly,
With a subtle touch and light step,
She arrives in the dark of night.
The signs of her visit
Are fragrant, crystalline jewels
That sparkle in the morning light.

Then there are sudden times,
When Thunder and Lightning join her
Accompanied by mighty wind.
Great chaos and drama
Send creatures running for cover
To escape the ferocious din.

No matter how Rain comes,
Whether in quiet gentleness
Or with all her bluster and show.
In all times and seasons;
Day or night, summer or winter;
She comes, but then she’ll always go.