What Does Economic Struggle Look Like?
4663 stories and counting. Share the next one. What does economic struggle look like?
Please help seniors who struggle to make ends meet. Honor their quality of life.Christopher Los Angeles, CA
My neighbor, who lost her husband last year, is now just scraping by on a decreased income. She has been able to stay in her home, but doesn't have the money to make needed repairs.Jennifer Casper, WY
The cost of everything continues to go up and up and income does not. I have cut down on visiting family and friends due to the cost of gas. I thank God that I have my health.Arlene Conroe, TX
Since my husband is a Senior we have had to move several times due to massive increases in rent. He has to decide what bills to pay each month and how much food our family has to eat. So far we are barely making it. But many others have it even worse.Deborah Maumee, OH
Several seniors I know have lost at least 1/3 of their retirement income due to decreasing interest rates on CDs, bonds, etc. They thought they were doing the smart thing back then, but now, that portion of their budget is gone and may not return.Patricia Callahan, FL
Seniors are homebound; they can't afford to get out and do things due to the cost of car maintenance and gas.Rebecca Ogden, UT
Really, really not good. I have SS & a part time job and a semi-disabled son [can't work] and no insurance for either of us.thanksJan Boulder, CO
Please! Must they pay rent OR eat? With $600 a month, that was the choice my mother must make.Elaine Las Cruces, NM
I will be 68 next month, I worked from the time I was 14 yrs old. I was on disability, went back to work part time while my husband wasBarbara Dickson, TN
fighting cancer, battle he lost year & half ago. I had to quit working because of my health. I live in rural area, live on ss & small pension,
medicare & everything go up except my income. I know of seniors that were homeless until I was able to help them find help. It looks like the older people who have worked all their younger years are not important when they can no longer find a job or may not be able to work. Just throw them out with the wash water. People can come to this country & get help when they have never worked & paid taxes or ss. A couple of years ago News channel 5 had a program about a family that came here from over seas & was drawing ss & had housing & had never worked in the United States. I have never asked for anything when I was able to work, 2 jobs at a time if needed,too.
I have had to make hard choises since lost my husband.
I am a medical social worker and outpatient therapist. With the huge increase in Gas, heating oil and food prices I have had at least a dozen clients in the past year that can no longer afford their insurance premiums and/or copays for their essential medications. We need a comprehensive plan to take care of our seniors and disabled citizens. This mean cuts in WASTEFUL Spending. Here's my hit parade:Virginia Somersworth, NH
IT'S HAPPENING NOW!!
Your homework is done for you: Here's the top most wasteful areas to make cuts not for health, human services, education for your constituents!!
#1: U.S. Postal Service
Here's a government-subsidized service that has become so efficient at its own inefficiency that it wastes a ton of money year after year...
Remember the scandal a few years back when two USPS executives were each paid huge sums of money — $100,000 and $140,000, respectively — just to move a few miles closer to work?
Unfortunately, that kind of abuse and waste runs rampant at the good old postal service... to the tune of over $1 billion a year. Yet, despite that huge taxpayer-funded subsidy and near-constant increases on the price of stamps, the USPS still doesn't turn a profit!
#2: Farm Subsidies
This one's a doozy.... Imagine receiving an annual farm subsidy check for land you don't even farm!
Yes, it happens. In fact, our wonderful government has sent more than a billion dollars since 2000 to landowners living on former farms. That's right — they don't even use the land to grow crops anymore! We're not making this up.
And that's just one prime example. Others include farmers and ranchers of healthy land receiving more than $600 million in unnecessary Federal Drought Aid.
Add to that the almost $5 billion in direct payments to 1.4 million untroubled farmers — essentially "just because" they're farmers — and we have a bumper crop of taxpayers' money getting soaked!
#3: Advertising Overseas
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Market Access Program (MAP) is a good example of a program that has good intentions, but spends (er, wastes) more money than it needs to.
The money that gets funneled through MAP gives funding to both public and private organizations to help them market their agricultural, seafood and forest products to foreign markets overseas.
Here's our problem with it: Millions of dollars are given to large, profitable companies such as Ocean Spray and Sunkist that are already marketing overseas on their own dimes. We could save more than $200 million over five years by eliminating this costly and unnecessary program.
This one really gets our goat because the government is spending billions — yes, BILLIONS — on a business that has never turned a profit. Not to mention the fact that not everyone in America even has access to it!
The Amtrak railway service started back in 1971 and, since then, the Fed has wasted almost $25 billion in subsidies on it. If Amtrak had to run on its own without government help, ticket prices would be exorbitant — more than the price of an airline ticket in order for them to turn a profit.
Perhaps worst of all, millions of Americans who are essentially paying for Amtrak in taxes don't even have a chance to use the service. So let's save $1.2 billion a year and let Amtrak run its own course!
#5: Forest Decimation Subsidies
Another way the government wastes our tax dollars is by destroying our nation's forests.
Every year, millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies is given to the timber industry. The money pays timber companies to clear the forests so the government can build new roads to access even more trees to clear. And the government doesn't even charge those timber companies for those trees!
Trouble is, almost 400,000 miles of roads have been built in our forests, which is way more road than the National Forest Service can even maintain!
If we stopped subsidizing the timber industry to clear and cut our forests (at a HUGE profit, we might add, since they pay nothing for those trees), we'd save close to $2 billion over the next five years.
#6: Redundant Programs
Did you know that there are dozens of different government agencies that are responsible for the same or similar tasks or services? What a waste!
Honestly, it would be all but impossible to not have a certain degree of overlap. After all, some agencies target specific people — such as war veterans and Native Americans — while other agencies provide specific services such as health care, shelter or education. We get it.
But, the problem is, there's way too much overlap and duplication. For example, there are almost 350 economic development programs within the government and many of them essentially do the same things for the same groups of people.
The solution? Consolidation. It'll take time and planning, but we'll save a ton of money when all is said and done.
#7: Retail Subsidies
We all know that big government funds local government in regions across America. But most people don't know that many of these subsidies — again, YOUR tax dollars — go to bonds that pay for land and building costs for large-scale retail stores. These stores are then leased to the big chains for a song.
These subsidies do nothing to help small retailers. Nor do any of the funds get funneled back to the municipality itself — to help with schools or other local government services and programs. The beneficiaries are the big retailers, who pay virtually nothing over the course of their lease. Corporate socialism at its finest!
#8: Money for Professional Sports Arenas?
Yet another example of corporate socialism — heck, we'll even go so far to call it corporate welfare!
Billions of your tax dollars have gone to building professional sports arenas and stadiums over the last few decades. But just who gets to enjoy the fruits of all that money? You got it – the team owners, the players... and, yes, even the politicians. The taxpaying sports fans get diddly-squat – the only thing they get to do is pay through the nose for tickets!
The argument for these subsidies is that a large sporting venue will spur the local economy. However, there are no concrete studies to support this. We say ditch these subsidies and let the teams pay for their own stadiums!
#9: Unnecessary Tax Credits, Section 29
Don't get us wrong — we're all for certain tax credits. Those that promote gas-saving vehicles and energy-efficient appliances, for example, are terrific motivators for us to be environmentally conscious and to help those fledgling businesses get off the ground.
The Section 29 tax credit, however, flies in the face of this environmental goal. This tax credit subsidizes both the synthetic fuels industry and coalbed methane, which is environmentally destructive… and it'll cost taxpayers billions of dollars over the next few years.
The annoying thing about this particular tax credit is that we still struggle with fuel prices (don't get cocky with the recent lower gas prices… that battle is far from over!) and these synthetic fuel producers are raking in the dough... along with the credits!
! #10: Unnecessary Tax Credits, Ethanol
Ethanol is yet another problem child in the fuel tax credit arena, in our opinion...
With ethanol production, which is heavily subsidized, we're essentially taking a food source — namely, corn — and creating "food" for cars and trucks that costs more and is less fuel-efficient!
In fact, studies show it would take 11 acres of farmland to produce enough ethanol to power just one automobile for a full year! What an utter waste!
Add to that the outrageous amount of energy required to produce one gallon of ethanol — that is, 131,000 BTUs to make the equivalent of just 77,000 BTUs of fuel — and you can guess why we're so incensed over this misuse of taxpayer dollars. You should be, too!
#11: Wasteful "Extras"
How do you feel about your tax dollars being spent to sponsor race cars? That's essentially what happened when the FCC recently decided it'll spend $355,000 of taxpayers' money on NASCAR drivers' cars.
The goal is to raise awareness for the upcoming digital television switch early next year. We're not disputing that this awareness is important, but the FCC has already plastered ads all over the networks for several months now... and sponsoring a race car doesn't seem like the most efficient use of several hundred thousand dollars!
Unfortunately, this isn't the first, and it won't be the last, case of wasteful spending on sheer flamboyance.
#12: Military Overspending
We're not suggesting that Military be eliminated — only that it be more efficient at cutting costs.
Military wastes MORE money than any other federal program. And it's no wonder. It amounts to a staggering 58% of the federal budget!
If the Military budget were to be reformed, it could save taxpayers and beneficiaries tens of billions of dollars every year... without reducing benefits one iota.
#13: Medicare Overspending
We're not suggesting that Medicare be eliminated — only that it be more efficient at cutting costs.
Medicare wastes MORE money than any other federal program. And it's no wonder. It pays more money for drugs and medical supplies — as much as EIGHT times more — and it's fraught with inefficiencies such as payment errors and administrative problems.
If Medicare were to be reformed, it could save taxpayers and beneficiaries tens of billions of dollars every year...with affecting present day benefits one iota!